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12 Tips to Overcoming End of Year Blues, Sadness and Depression

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal 12 strategies to overcome the end of year blues, sadness, frustration and depression.

First a quick update:

“You create your success”
Maybe you have already heard it said that you are responsible for everything that happens in your life but has anyone ever taught you how to create what you want? How can you change the way you feel inside and the way you think so that you can respond differently to create new results? Listen to my audio book “Get what you want” for strategies to change your inner and outer world.

Now, let’s talk about how to overcome the end of year blues – sadness, frustration and depression.

Do you remember when school was over? Perhaps it was the end of Primary or Elementary or even High School.

How did you feel?

There might have been mixed feelings of sadness for the end of school – leaving behind friends, teachers and routines. There might also have been joy and excitement for what was next – holidays, a new school or a new job or college. There might also have been fear and anxiety about what was coming next.

Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes
School’s out for summer

School’s out forever
–       Alice Cooper

When something comes to an end, there is always a sense of loss, even if it is something we actually wanted and hoped would end.

Endings naturally bring about grieving.

And for most people, the same applies to the end of each year – grieving for what has passed or ended and, hope & joy or fear & anxiety for what is about to come.

Many clients relay to me that as the year comes to a close, they experience a host of emotions such as sadness, depression, hopelessness or frustration.

One of the causes of these low emotions is often the stress surrounding the expectations and demands of the end of year festivities – the intense build up to the parties, events, family gatherings and so forth. After giving so much of ourselves – mentally, emotionally and physically – we feel drained.

The other cause of the end of year blues is the judgment we make of ourselves – failed goals, self-criticism and rumination; disappointment that we did not live up to the expectations we had set for ourselves.

Perhaps you did not yet break that bad habit or simply did not do something you said you would or get something you said you would have.

Here are 12 simple strategies and tips to help you overcome the end of year blues:

1. Acceptance
Accept that it is natural and okay to feel whatever you are feeling; feelings are not right or wrong – the way we respond to them can be right or wrong according to the result our response or reaction will produce; accept that the end of the year can bring about the grieving process and along with it sadness, disappointment and a sense of loss. Allow yourself time to rest physically, mentally and emotionally; time to heal. Also read my newsletter which outlines and explains The Grieving Process and what you can do to overcome grief and loss, “Time does not heal all” .

2. Seek Support
Allow others to help you; ask others to help you – to listen to you free of judgment or to give you support in specific ways. Seek connection with other people. Loneliness sometimes drives people to push others away; make a conscious and determined effort to go out and visit friends – even for small outings.

3. Self-evaluation
Make a list of your goals – ones you achieved and ones you did not. Be objective about the list and make no judgments about the goals you did not yet achieve. List all of your achievements and accomplishments.

4. Beware of self-criticism
It is natural that we might react harshly for goals that were not achieved; understand that beating yourself up (harshly criticizing yourself) does not motivate you to get what you want and it only pushes you down into depression, guilt and hopelessness.

5. Reevaluate expectations
Have you been comparing yourself to the media’s false images of happiness and perfection? Have you been hypnotized by the commercials, magazines, cards, lights and songs; expecting yourself to live, be, do or have what the media and society demand of you? Create new expectations of yourself based on your passion and on what you truly want.

6. Take action – seek solution
Review your “Self-evaluation” list; Stop asking “Why me?” and ask “Why? Why did I not achieve that goal?” Next, focus on the solution – make a plan of action to achieve that goal in the New Year. Frustration and even victimhood can only be overcome by taking new action. If you have been taking a lot of action without the results you wanted, then take different action. Frustration occurs when one continues to do the same thing over and over again while hoping for a different result.

7. Neutralize rumination
Rumination feeds depression and depression feeds rumination. Ruminators over-think and over-talk their problem but never focus on the solution. See step 6 above and whenever rumination occurs, begin immediately to distract yourself from the thought – do something physical or begin to think about something else; this is not denial as long as you also make a plan of action to solve the problem that is driving the rumination

8. Reduce the choices
Too many choices create confusion and leads to paralysis; choose to achieve only what is truly important to you

9. Acknowledge yourself
Acknowledge what is right and good about yourself. Focus on all of your triumphs and accomplishments. Also, list whatever you can be grateful for i.e. a friend if you don’t have family

10. Enjoy the moment
Look for fun things to do right now. Engage all of your senses when doing the things that bring you joy

11. Embrace Hope
With every end, comes a new beginning. Hope is what drives you to take action. Allow hope for better things and hope for new results. Stop allowing the past to taint and infect future opportunities and joy.

12. Future-based thinking
Although, this strategy could also be slotted under “Hope”, future-based thinking refers to focusing on tomorrow – imagining, visualizing and making plans to create the life you want. And it is a paradox – enjoy the present moment while also creating the future you want. If you were to only focus on the present moment, you would become hedonistic and irresponsible (ignoring consequences.) And if you were only to focus on tomorrow, you would not be able to experience gratitude or joy for what you have and are doing right now. Always seek balance!

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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