Anrie is an explorer by nature. Her degrees in Anthropology and Psychology are only an excuse to learn more.
2020 is finally drawing to a close and what a year it’s been. Besides the regular stressors and strains that chip away at us throughout each year, we have all been faced with a host of new challenges. Unsurprisingly this has left most of us feeling less than our best selves.
Are you feeling a bit lost and confused? Or do you simply feel tired and beaten down?
Well, then this article is for you. In this guide, I will break down several easy to follow steps that can help you bring some much-needed closure to 2020. But will also help you kick off 2021 refreshed, recharged, and ready to go.
Before we get to the steps, let's look at the phenomenons of end of year burnout.
End of Year Burnout
Unfortunately, too many of us end of year burnout is no stranger. You might call it the December blues or simply exhaustion. But it often boils down to the same thing.
According to WHO, burnout is an occupational phenomenon that is related to chronic workplace stress.
Burnout can leave you experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Mental and physical exhaustion
- Reduced productivity and creativity
- Negative attitude towards oneself and others
- Feelings of disillusionment
- Anger and irritability
If you don’t find a way to resolve this and to rest and refresh you will be starting the new year on a back foot.
For more information on burnout and how to deal with it check out this article.
But enough about problems. Let’s start looking at solutions to boost your health, wellbeing, and even your productivity.
1- Write Down The Lessons You’ve Learned and the Challenges You've Overcome
Before we move on, let’s first acknowledge that for most of us the year didn’t go exactly as planned. Does it ever?
Now is not the time to beat yourself up about it. Forget the resolutions you had, scratch out all your lofty goals and plans. Instead, let’s focus on what did go right. For example, remember what you have achieved, and what you have learned along the way.
Grab your journal and scribble it all down - even if it is something silly like finally reaching a new level in your old school Super Mario Bros.
Journalling is one end of the year ritual that I keep coming back to year after year. It's one of the best ways to find the meaning in the messiness of life.
Here are some of the lessons that stand out for me after 2020:
- Learn to never take anyone or anything for granted
- Keep your priorities in check
- Make the most out of the good times
Scientific research has now shown that an attitude of gratitude can pack quite a punch. By improving your relationships, sleep, and more it can boost your overall feeling of wellbeing.
2 - Take Stock of Your Resources
A lot can change in a year. You might have changed jobs, bought or sold a house, finished a degree, or made new friends and new connections.
So take some time before the new year begins to take stock. Make a list or spreadsheet of all the resources at your disposal. This could be everything from tangible assets like a car to intangible ones like skills.
Chances are you might feel a bit better and more secure about your position once you’re done. But if not, you could at least make well-informed decisions going forward.
Doing this is also a great way to set up goals for what you want to achieve or change over the coming year.
3 - Declutter Your Space
If you haven’t got to it yet, it can be a good idea to thoroughly declutter and reorganize your home. Cleaning your space can actually help to clear your head
Whole books have and will continue to be written on the art of decluttering. So if you have no idea where to start, here are a few popular methods that work:
- KonMari method: This viral method involves tidying your whole house by category instead of for example room by room. Most importantly it is all about only keeping the items that spark joy.
- One method: The next one is as simple as it gets. All you have to do is to get rid of one item a day, every day. If you struggle to find the time or willpower for intense cleaning sessions, give this a try.
- Four box method: Most of you have probably heard about this one.
- 20-minute method: Now we get to what is essentially the Pomodoro method of decluttering. Decide on a cleaning or organisational task. Set a timer for twenty minutes. Complete as much as you go can in that time frame and then go do something else. Rinse and repeat until you're satisfied.
Afterwards, you will have a lovely neat home to see you into the new year.
4 - Try Something New
I think very few of us can say that 2020 didn’t introduce us to new experiences and ideas. Although they weren’t necessarily positive.
But now is your chance to take the chance for transformation into your own hands.
As humans, we are geared to focus on and look for novelty. All you have to do is use this tendency to your advantage. You can reignite your spark, joy, and energy. It’s as easy as trying something new!
Figure out where you think you have been stagnating in life and try to mix things up.
For example, when was the last time you tried your hands at something creative like writing or painting. Sign up for some art classes- even virtual ones can do the trick. Or test out a couple of online how-tos.
Don’t worry if you try something and it doesn’t stick. It's all about experimenting.
Get out of your box, and create new memories.
5 - Reach out
Last but not least, make time to reach out. No matter where you are in the world social distancing and isolation would certainly have taken its toll.
Social contact is critical for our mental and even physical health. The benefits include:
- Boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing
- Helps you deal with and overcome trauma and grief
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Gives you a new sense of perspective
Just remember safety first. If regulations and/or safety concerns prevent you from meeting in person arrange a virtual meetup or simply pick up the phone. Social anxiety can often stop us from calling even those people we love the most.
But trust me, the person on the other end will probably be just as glad to hear your voice.
Together you can mourn all the things you have lost, and celebrate everything you have gained.
Wrap it up
So there you have it. Don’t let your year end with a fizzle instead of a bang or at least a sparkle. Next year is around the corner, waiting with a whole new set of challenges but hopefully victories too.
Prepare yourself and refresh so that you can take it all in your stride. And remember if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are all in this together.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Anrie James