To kick off 2022, client and volunteer Ian Lamb writes about coping with the pressures this time of year can bring – focusing on New Year’s resolutions and financial problems.
The first of January brings plenty of well-wishing as you wish loved ones and people around you a “Happy New Year”. It’s uplifting, joyous and gives a sense of community spirit as we all begin anew.
But for many people, there can be a flip side as New Year’s Day also brings New Year’s resolutions. They can be seen as a bit of fun and we all know that by February (if you’re lucky!) all our resolutions are often broken and forgotten about.
However, whether you’re diagnosed with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or not, making resolutions can see people getting caught up with really wanting that sense of change and new beginnings. And when it doesn’t go to plan, for whatever reason, then this can and does create major meltdowns.
Perhaps it’s a healthy diet and you’re aiming to lose weight? Dry January so you’re withholding alcohol consumption for a whole month? Or maybe your resolutions are aimed at furthering your education or making new friends?
Most of our resolutions are often similar because we all want to do the best we can: to see change within ourselves and our surroundings are desires, and wishes, we all frequently aim for. But when they don’t come to fruition, it adds to the negative feelings which, if you’ve already felt them before the big New Year’s build-up, are going to be felt even more. The spiral downwards continues; feeling like a failure, feeling despondent and lost. And then comes that thought: “Well, what’s the point then?”
One of the reasons for this may be due to placing high expectations upon ourselves. One of the very big reasons as to how and why people find themselves seeking support from Mind in Bradford is due to high expectations, and I’m one of them! I’d mentally beat myself up because I’ve allowed myself to eat a chocolate bar rather than sticking to a strict, regimented diet. And because I had broken this unrealistic resolution, I’d be sat feeling that I’m not good enough. Or perhaps, I’d made a New Year’s resolution to stop biting my nails only to find two days later, out of a subconscious reaction, I’m biting my nails because I’m anxious about something.
When I have attended the many groups and 1:1 sessions that Mind in Bradford has to offer, such as peer support groups, assertiveness groups and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), I’ve listened to mental health workers talk about two reasons as to how and why people come to Mind in Bradford; high expectations and comparisons. It’s taken me a long time to grasp this and I am still learning. I am one of many who do have over-the-top expectations, comparing myself: “Why can’t I be like that or look like that?”.
Through the help and support with Mind in Bradford, I’ve learnt that sometimes, it is about changing the wording. So, rather than seeing it as one great big goal that’s often unrealistic, it would be more realistic to break it down into bite-sized chunks; if you want to aim to stop biting your nails then try aiming to find out why you’re biting your nails first.
Is it anxiety, boredom, hunger, feeling overwhelmed? Maybe it is time you found someone trustworthy who you can open up to, whether that is a family member or a good friend? If you feel you can’t for whatever reason, then try Mind in Bradford and see what sessions they have that could help you offload – because as well as the various talking groups, there are also groups such as creative writing, tribal drumming and mindfulness and meditation.
Even if you are struggling to find an answer, I’ve found these types of groups are excellent at helping you to find that little bit of peace and solace that your overthinking mind may not be granting you at this time.
If you find attending groups a little overbearing or indeed intimidating, then give Guide-Line a call on freephone 08801 844 844.
Say for instance, you’re really struggling with money and trying to make ends meet? January is the month that hits home with so many when it comes to our finances so straight away, you are not alone! Perhaps, your goal for 2022 is to somehow get out or at least get help with your debts and money troubles?
So try breaking it down into small bite sized chunks; if you need that support for your mental health which so many will because money worries does impact one’s mental health, then try giving Guide-Line a call. That can be an achievement in itself because it isn’t easy! But you’ve done it. Then there are organisations in and around Bradford such as Christians Against Poverty and Citizens Advice who can provide you with the help and advice you seek.
Times are very hard for a lot of people, whether you’re in full-time work or not. So going to food banks is nothing for you to feel ashamed of – because you’re certainly not alone. There are various places around Bradford that have food banks. Both All Saints Church and St Oswald’s Church holds food that’s been donated to them from various supermarkets, which are all in date and can range from fruit and vegetables to tinned products as well as toiletries. £1 will get you five items and £2 will get you ten items, and their small community is very warm and welcoming – the very tonic for if you’re feeling lost due to debts and money troubles. Fountains Church also holds hot meals several times a week where you pay what you can afford and again, you aren’t alone.
By tackling one thing at a time, you’re more likely to succeed in making your New Year’s resolution something much more attainable. Good luck!
Good luck! Ian x