A feeling of newness, a magical kiss, unprecedented will-power for accomplishing your goals….
The prospect of an upcoming new year never fails to raise people’s hopes, both for NYE night itself and for the entire year ahead. It can be difficult to figure out how to make the New Year feel special and meaningful without falling into common traps, like setting unrealistic resolutions that you won’t stick to or drinking so much that you end up depressed and sick rather than excited. There are lots of ways that NYE might fail to live up to the hype, but is there anything you can do to help yourself feel positive and calm about the year to come?
This year, try New Year’s rituals like these to break out of your old patterns of disappointment and regret.
New Year’s rituals that remind you of consistency
For some people, a new year can feel scary because it reminds them of all the possible changes that might come with that year, both good and bad. Particularly for someone who’s had a bad year, one that involved death, loss, or pain, then the prospect of a new year might feel like just another frightening unknown when more misfortunes might strike. If this sounds like you, then pick a New Year’s ritual that will remind you that no matter what happens, some things in life can stay the same. For instance, if you lost a parent this year, you could take something that you always used to do with that parent over the holidays and continue to do it, whether by yourself as a private ritual or with other family members you’re close to. This might sound painful, and in fact it might be, especially at first, but keeping old traditions alive will ultimately help you feel a sense of comfort and help you remember that you have the power to keep some things constant and even pass them on to others that you love.
New Year’s rituals that symbolize getting rid of the bad
Some years are better than others, but we all have things over the course of a year that we wish had gone differently, things both in and out of our control. But the end of a year is the perfect time to let those things go, to decide that you won’t dwell on them and let them hold you back anymore. To help symbolize this, you could go throw out or donate something that symbolizes what you want to let go. If you don’t have an actual physical object that you could for such symbolism, then you can always just write down whatever it is on a piece of paper and shred/rip it up instead.
New Year’s rituals that involve cleansing
A cleansing ritual can be great to pair with a ritual that involves getting rid of the bad. Just as you can exhale the bad, you can inhale good, positive vibes for the coming new year. There are so many things you might do to help create a feeling of cleasing, but one could be actually cleaning. Clean and smudge the house! No need to wait for the spring! It’s practical and it can serve as an activity that gets you in the headspace of freshness and new starts for the new year. If this sounds like the worst, though, then you could always pick something that allows you to pamper yourself a bit, like taking a long bath with candles and a fancy body scrub. Just as long as it’s a purposeful activity to remind you that you can always start making the changes you want to make, the activity is up to you.
New Year’s rituals that embrace challenges
For example, some (crazy, in my opinion) people enjoy jumping into a freezing cold body of water as a New Year’s tradition, simply because it’s a hard thing to do. By starting the year doing a hard thing, they remind themselves that they have the capability to keep meeting challenges in the coming year. Of course, you don’t have to subject yourself to freezing cold temperatures, but choosing something that’s outside of your comfort zone is a must if you want to orient your mind in this direction.
New Year’s rituals that cultivate gratitude
One of the best changes you can make in this and any year is to increase your gratitude. Unfortunately, many people find that what comes most naturally to them as they look back at the previous year is thinking about things they were unhappy with – losses they suffered, misfortunes they experienced, or mistakes they made. This is natural, and it doesn’t make you a bad person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate a more fulfilling and positive way of thinking. Instead of indulging your pessimism this new year, make a list of everything that went well for you in the past year. If you’re not used to thinking this way and are finding it hard to think of things to list, start considering all of the things that could have happened to you and didn’t. For instance, you could put things like, “Didn’t lose my job” or “Didn’t get majorly sick” on the list. Even if you had a really bad year, there are always some things you could think of that might have gone wrong but didn’t.
Everyone comes to the end of a year differently.
Maybe some of these rituals would be better for you than others, but choosing any one of them will probably lead to a deeper sense of contentment than just showing up at a party and hoping that it’s fun. Not that you can’t go to a party AND do any or all of these traditions, though! Just try to both have fun and do what’s best for you and your mental health this New Year.
If you are struggling with feelings of uncertainty, negativity, or anxiety about the future, you can call us at (305) 501-0133 or click here to schedule a free 20-minute Clarity Consult to learn more about how working with one of our therapists can help you improve your life.