3 Ways of Shifting Your New Year Blues
New Year can be both an exciting time – new beginnings/ parties and celebrations and yet can also bring up what many term as New Year Blues.
You felt rested over the holiday period but then the thought of going back to work or re-engaging with life again brings up resistance. Maybe you have disconnected from your spouse too and you are starting to feel annoyed with each other.
What can you do when you feel these New Year Blues and sensations? Today I will be talking about 3 ways of shifting these feelings.
I was talking with my step son last night. He was speaking about how many of his friends were feeling pretty down. I asked him what about in particular. And he mentioned that after Xmas they were either feeling the pinch financially, physically after over indulging or emotionally after a relationship struggle.
And as I look around the world on the news networks – it can seem that others too are feeling the same new year blues. Troubles abroad, governments in conflict, suicide rates rising...
I also noticed myself that this morning there was an aspect of my life that was causing concern...
So the question arose how do we shift out of this funk? Do we embrace this part of ourselves but then move through this? Or do we do all we can to shift ourselves out of it?
A Natural Inward Time
Winter time has for thousands of years been a time for going within, both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Our ancestors would have huddled up in their caves or dwellings around a fire and told stories and kept warm. The harsh winters would have kept most people inside – only venturing out to collect stores or food.
Winter time would have also been a period for people to reflect inward on themselves. The slowing rhythm of life would enable an inner reflection and a chance for inner stillness. This inner stillness would have offered their bodies a chance to rest and recuperate ready for the return of the light.
And so the holiday period can feel like that for many. Most activities are drawn to a close and people go in (most spending time in their houses or with friends). People have a chance to stop and be still and rest (if they choose to).
The Return To Work in the New Year
When we then have to return to work and activities 'try' to get back to normal, we can struggle. Many feel like they could do with more time. Others feel resistance to going back to work or school or whatever activities they were engaged in before.
In some respects it can seem natural that there is resistance to going back to the normal routine. Our ancestors would have followed the seasons. The cold dark nights would have meant retreating inwards not going back out to work. Maybe this urge to stay indoors and not go out is a natural routine that we have learned over thousands of years. Maybe this resistance is natural...
But the reality is that we do feel this resistance and we still have to go back to work. So what can we do?
Learning To Embrace This Feeling
The foundation of changing what we feel and shifting our perspective is to embrace this feeling. If we believe that this is a natural feeling – this wanting to go within – then surely it is okay to feel it.
What I see many people do is that they give themselves a hard time or create stories about how it's not okay to feel these New Year Blues, or blame someone else for what they feel. But what if you gave yourself permission to feel this? What if you said to yourself – it's okay to feel this, this is a natural feeling?
As soon as you drop the battle with this feeling then something magical happens – a release of tension and the feeling drops away. When we smile and embrace something rather than pushing it away or resisting it then it softens and it melts like the snow in spring.
How do you embrace this feeling? By fully giving yourself that space to say, “This is what I feel. Welcome. You are welcome here.” And when you do you will find that it starts to shift.
3 Ways of Shifting What You Feel
Once you have embraced the feeling as suggested above you will notice a softening of the feeling. The New Year Blues will start to lift. From there the first practice you can do to start to get the energy in your body moving again is through physical exercise.
You might well feel rusty after a week or two off resting. But start moving. And then continue. Whether that be going for a walk or starting to run, going to the gym or going to a dance class – make the effort and then continue with it.
I personally find that regularity is key. Doing 30 minutes 6 days a week is better than 2 hours once a week. Or even 10 minutes twice a day 6 days a week.
Physical movement immediately starts to shift the mind and the emotions so start moving..
Embracing Your Breath
Your breath is one of the most powerful ways to shift what you feel in any given situation. While you might not be able to shift your mental states by thought alone – just think of a time you felt stressed and your lover said “just calm down” to see what you felt then. When someone tries to talk you out of stress you can see that it doesn't work. And the same is true for you – talking yourself out of New Year blues just doesn't work.
What does work is breath-work. If you have followed my work for a while you will know that I love breath-work and in particular pranayama – the yogic breathing techniques.
A practice that I have been doing now for a couple of years is the box breath. This practice is simple to visualize and easy to do. Imagine a square – each side equal. Well, the box breath requires that you breathe in, hold your breath, breathe out and hold your breath for the same count. I like to use 4, but you might like to use less or more depending what feels comfortable to you.
So you breathe in for 4 – Hold your breath for 4 – Breathe out for 4 – Hold your breath for 4
and then repeat. I like to do repetitions of 5. I imagine myself breathing around the sides of a square. And I can count them on my fingers.
Feel how you feel at the beginning and the end? See how just a few breaths can shift your mood.
Changing Your Emotions
By now after moving and breathing your New Year Blues will be starting to shift. One of the keys here as I have said earlier is repetition. Do these practices daily. Let it become a body knowing.
Another way to shift the new year depression is to change your emotions. And one of the easiest ways is to change your body posture.
1. Stand up now.
2. Really, stand up now.
3. Put your hands on your hips and push your shoulders back.
4. Lift your head up and smile. A really big heart felt smile. And think of a really beautiful memory – maybe a beautiful holiday or a wonderful childhood memory.
5. Take some really deep breaths and continue smiling. Laugh if it feels appropriate.
6. Hold this for a minute.
7. And release.
The above exercise will help you to shift your emotions and only takes a couple of minutes to do. Do it regularly throughout the day to shift your New Year Blues.
As you can see there are several ways that you can shift what you feel in any given moment. And when you do then the New Year blues start to lift. Having the support of others can also help you to change more quickly and to help the depression or the blues to lift
The key is practice and repetition. Keep going, day after day and you will notice how quickly this feeling starts to shift.
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