16 January 2019

January Pressure

January Pressure

There’s always a spring in my step at this time of year, despite the streaming nose, chilly morning starts and frosted car windscreens. It’s a new start, a clean page, and literally a breath of fresh air.

And yet, not far behind the shouts of “Happy New Year!” is an assumption - pressure for you to change something about yourself, to make yourself a better person. I’m not taking about the push to join a gym, begin a crash diet or commence Vegan/Dry January. I’m talking about the more subtle expectations we place upon ourselves - less dramatic, but pressure all the same. And I am the most guilty of all.

It starts with, “I’ll just aim to do this” or “I’ll improve this one tiny aspect of my life, that’s all.” But two tiny resolutions become four, which become six, and suddenly you find yourself buckling under the weight of several sensible but heavy tasks for the new year. It’s as if each one weighs a pint of milk - no trouble to carry until you’ve got a whole herd’s worth of milk on your back.

January Pressure 2019

So instead of telling myself to try and become a better person, I’m going to sit back, relax, and encourage my mind to be satisfied with whom I am, warts and all. But I will also snatch up the opportunity that January brings to ruffle my feathers, have a good stretch and pinch my cheeks!

What started as ensuring I go for a lunchtime walk each day is now considering it if I feel like it - and as a result, I love and not loathe the prospect of getting a gulp of fresh air in the afternoon. Gone are the alarms reminding me to go to bed now if I want 8 hours sleep - instead I wind down gradually throughout the evening if I can, and inevitably find myself tucked up in bed at a sensible time.

I think a lot of it is to do with human nature, especially in my own rather stubborn case. Even with the best will in the world, the minute something becomes a must-do or a chore, it becomes the enemy. It’s only when we want to do something, and actively seek and look forward to opportunities when we can pursue it, that a ‘resolution’ has worth in our lives.

Be kind to yourself, not only this month, but for the rest of the year. Your mind and body get you through so much in life - let’s not pressure and punish them, but treat them with the respect and love that they deserve.


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