Whilst 2019 is coming to a close, many of us are grappling with a distinct sense of not being quite ready for the end of the year. Despite the calendar year being almost over- for many of us, life feels nothing near ‘complete’. 

We have arrived at that time of year in which we begin to reflect on what we are yet to achieve and how little time we have left before Christmas. This difficult realisation that some of our goals are not yet fulfilled can create an inner sense of incompletion, which is at odds with the messages we’re surrounded with. ‘The year is over’ and ‘it’s time to celebrate’ are difficult messages to accept when we have fallen short of achieving our personal hopes and dreams.

It’s important to understand that you are not alone in this experience, for those of us with increasing levels of self awareness and a desire for personal growth- this is a very real and valid experience. At this time of year there can be added pressure on finances and time, with increasing demands on both and an internal desire to keep others happy and ‘do it all’. In addition, in the workplace we often experience the intensity of the looming final deadline of ‘the end of the year’.  

So how can we help ourselves to step out of the pressure cooker- and find the joy that is so frequently promised to us during the festive season? It begins with a gentle awareness, simply noticing what’s really going on for you, and for others. This level of awareness goes beyond the tip-of-the-iceberg behaviours you can see, and delves below the surface to gain a sense of beliefs, fears, hopes and pressures that may be contributing to stress.

Once we have developed this expanded awareness, we can adopt an attitude of curiosity about the beliefs or thoughts we observe in ourselves. For example, it’s interesting to observe that the calendar can create a false sense of life being linear; with a nice clear beginning, middle and end. When we examine the reality of this, is it truly reasonable to expect that life follows such a clear-cut structure? Is it reasonable to set goals in which we apply a time-frame, when we truly have no idea what the future holds? In reality, life is not linear, so the constant presence of clocks and diaries can leave some of us more aware folk feeling like we’ve ‘missed something’; because our internal ‘clocks’ don’t match the calendar (or our diaries).

With all of the focus on ‘the time of year’ and the connotations it brings, it’s only natural that we may begin to fret that we haven’t achieved what we’d hoped, or promised ourselves. Our bank balances, energy levels and time spent with family and friends may not balance as we’d hoped’.

Unfortunately, this is a time in which we can fall prey to greater self-judgment and a crises of confidence; a loss of faith in ourselves and in the Universe. At this time of year, we can feel unsettled and discontent- because we believe we should have ‘arrived’ somewhere different, we ‘should’ be in a better space. Not only do we struggle with the reality of the continued sense that something is ‘off’, we do so in a social environment that places pressure on us to ‘be’ a certain way at this time of year.

And this, this is precisely the time to invest in yourself. To take the time to reach out for some professional support, connect with your kindest friends and family, take time-out and do something relaxing, begin meditating (or lengthen your current practice).

Taking time out allows greater awareness, which leads to an increased capacity to choose your beliefs, your vibe and to do things which are good for you. Remember, the greatest gift you can give anyone is your presence, filling yourself up with care and nourishment is an ideal way to increase your own capacity for presence.