Katie's blog: New Year's Resolutions
What will yours be? Give up alcohol, get fit, eat less sugar, get a new job, quit smoking, run faster or longer? I think mine needs to be a bit different this year…
Over the festive period, after the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, visiting family and social engagements, I often find myself reflecting on the last year during quiet moments as many others probably do too. Perhaps considering what we have achieved over the last year, or the struggles we have faced or losses we have felt. When I start contemplating the year ahead my thoughts inevitably turn to goals and new year resolutions.
Last year I set myself some goals at the beginning of the year. I decided I wanted to run a 10km race because I was a bit stuck with my running. I wanted to get a financial plan sorted out and I was feeling a bit anxious about not having a Will in place. More importantly I really wanted to be more present with the children. I was working full time in a demanding job with two young children and our stable childcare arrangement had broken down. Regardless my goals felt achievable. What I didn’t take into account though was the perhaps inevitable unplanned stresses that come along that need time, energy and attention to deal with. For me it was the sudden death of a family member, the extra pressure and admin that comes with applying for a secondary school place for my eldest child and some unexpected health issues.
In hindsight I should have reconsidered by goals; taken some things off the to-do list, but I am very stubborn, so I stuck with the goals I’d set for myself at the beginning of the year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I hit a bit of a wall in the middle of the year. I was exhausted - mentally and emotionally - and I couldn’t sleep. The to-do list seemed never-ending. Every new email that came from one of the children’s schools felt like an imposition; anything that went wrong with the house felt like a major drama; I resented every new action that required my attention. I had no headspace, no energy and I had no perspective.
Yesterday I came across an article about Toxic Productivity, described by Palena Neale in Psychology Today as: ‘an obsessive need to always be productive, regardless of the cost to your health, relationships, and life.’ This phenomenon seems to have become more common since the pandemic from what I have read. So, I started thinking about my goals and resolutions for 2023. I’ve never been one to sit still for long and relax. So, I decided, this year there will be no big goals and no daily to-do lists. My only aim will be to take time every day to rest and recharge without feeling guilty. This might be the most challenging year yet!
Katie has worked in Human Resources for twenty years and having always had a passion for psychology, is currently taking a year out to study Occupational and Business Psychology. She lives in Surrey with her husband, two children and dog.