How to ‘celebrate’ the new year if you had a terrible year
No matter how many times you hear someone say that New Year’s Eve is a totally arbitrary holiday, or that the concept of January as a “fresh start” is false, the end of the year can still feel, in some way, very significant. And there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that; structure and routines can add meaning to our livesAnd for some people, the flip of the calendar can be comforting.
But the start of a new year doesn’t bring smash-glass feelings for everyone, and reflecting on the past 12 months may not be so pleasant if you’ve had a year. As much as some of us would like to, we can’t always put all the bad things behind us, like the pain of a big breakup or lingering resentment for the boss who fired you, once the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. . And not to be an even bigger killjoy, but to make a New Years Resolution (for example, not texting your ex or getting a new job) can seem more like an overly critical mandate than a hopeful goal if you’re already feeling down.
All this is to say: for many people, the end of the year does not bring bright and evocative feelings, and can even provoke anxiety and fear. If that’s where you’re at, take heart: There are a few strategies that can help you reframe the new year, or at least make it easier to ignore.
Make plans for the New Year’s Eve you’re really looking forward to.
How For real Do you want to enter in January? Is it standing in a crowded bar while balloons fall from the ceiling (read: standing online at the bar, fidgeting while you wait for your $50 glass of champagne)? Is it in a large group hug with friends and/or family at a house party in your neighborhood? Or is he in your pajamas, in that sublime space between being awake and asleep, curled up in your house?
There are no wrong answers here, but try to be honest with yourself and then time your celebration accordingly: Are you planning an evening that aligns with what you want? Really wish? Or are you doing what is expected, even though you would rather be at home with friends or a loved one? “Don’t be afraid to deviate from the norm and do something different than you normally would” Madison Wise, LPC, a therapist at Just Mind Counseling in Austin, tells SELF. “You can create new traditions at any time.”
Establishing your own traditions can mean saying no to what others want you to do; For example, perhaps you’d prefer to skip the ticketed bar party this year in favor of staying home and ordering takeout with a partner. If that’s the case, Wise recommends having a light but honest conversation with your friends about how you’d like to start the new year.
When you’re breaking the news, it can help to tailor your approach to the person you’re talking to. Is it someone you can be really vulnerable around, or will a simple, “Honestly, I have too many things to do right now to try to find an Uber at 12:30 am, so I’m staying out this year” suffice? Part of respecting your own limits it means being aware of how other people will react to you as well. For example, if you share personal information with a friend who has always dismissed your feelings, you may want to discuss your proposed plans or reasoning. Give yourself permission to be honest about what you want to do on the 31st without giving everyone the complete TRUE of your horrible 2022, if that’s what feels right to you.
Say goodbye to 2022 in the way that makes you feel good.
Even if the bad things that happened in your life in 2022 will continue to affect you in 2023, you can still say goodbye to elements of them at the end of the month. For example, you could make a list of the bad things you had to put up with last year that you probably won’t have to do again next year. If 2022, say, involved an unexpected event, heartbreaking breakup, you may still be dealing with the pain, but the actual act of ending the relationship or finding a new apartment on your own is something you can put behind you. Or, if you were fired from a company you really loved, you may still be adjusting to your new job, but the resume update and interview are behind you.