New Year, Gentle Start

5 Jan 2023

New Year 2023

There are three things I have learnt about a new year as I've got older. The first is that being at peace with taking or leaving New Year’s Eve makes it all a lot less stressful. We went out for lunch during the day this time around but then did absolutely nothing in the evening and were in bed long before midnight. Once upon a time, I would have succumbed to the pressure of it all and felt all melancholy about spending new year this way, but I really wasn’t fussed at all. By chance, Alfie woke us up demanding to be brought into our bed at 11:55pm so I ended up being awake as the new year rang in, but as I listened to the fireworks from bed and looked at my little family sleeping next to me, I felt like I was exactly where I wanted to be. 

The second is that I fully endorse the new-year-same-you mentality and actively dislike any kind of pressure to suddenly better yourself, particularly when it comes to changing your body. But I also know that I do enjoy the new year as an opportunity to reset, reflect and plan ahead. My only real aim last year was to enjoy a gentle maternity leave which is absolutely what I needed to do but, as a result, I now have a real urge to shake myself out of a slumber as it were. Resetting, adjusting and making goals is absolutely needed for me this year. BUT…

And finally, my most important lesson: it is a fool’s errand to try and do a big new year reset on New Year’s Day. This is stupid. New Year’s Day is a bank holiday. The Christmas tree is still up, there are still leftovers lingering in the fridge, you still haven’t the foggiest what day it is. One of the best things I have started doing in recent years is beginning a new year gently. If you want to partake in the reset-adjust-make-goals mentality of new year, trying to switch from Christmas hibernation mode to GET EVERYTHING DONE mode overnight is just setting yourself up for failure. In my opinion, at least the first couple of weeks of January should be dedicated to gently sorting things out in a guilt free fashion. Spread out the tasks, think about what you might want to achieve or do with the year ahead whilst your hand meanders around the dregs of the remaining Quality Street, turn on some fairy lights and snuggle down in an evening because the weather is grey and the twinkly Christmas trees are disappearing and that can feel a bit grim. If we were to use the whole month to do this, I think that would be okay. It takes the pressure off, stops you feeling guilty if you haven’t cracked on with any goals/resolutions yet and actually gives you a breather to think and plan. This year, I return to work mid-January so for me personally, that is my unofficial re-start and I’m loosely using these two weeks to tick-off lingering life admin tasks, do some clearing out and make plans for 2023. 

I firmly believe that if we don’t want to make any changes just because the calendar clicked over into January, we shouldn’t. I also firmly believe that if we find the new year a good opportunity to reset and adjust, we should embrace it. But none of it should be done in a rush and there absolutely should not be any guilt involved whatsoever.