Five ways to tackle year-end stress

Don’t let the final stretch of the year get the better of you – check out our five steps for making a fresh start.

Clean and declutter

Cleaning may seem tedious, but never underestimate the psychological value of the process. Putting your home in order signifies a fresh start and the best way to begin is to declutter.

By throwing out or donating unwanted items and reorganising what you do want to keep, you give your brain a much-needed detox too. A recent US study from UCLA found clutter has a deep-seated effect on our mood and self-esteem. The golden rule is that if it hasn’t been worn or used for a year or more, let it go. When you’ve completed the whole exercise, you’ll feel lighter and freer.

Reboot your attitude

Feeling tired and overwhelmed pulls you into a negative spiral. Think of what you do have and what’s gone right for you instead of what you don’t have and didn’t achieve. Make a list of what you can be grateful for in your life and refer to it daily. Reminding yourself of these positives can help counter self-defeating and unhelpful thinking.

Revisit your goals

The final stretch of the year isn’t when you want to embark on challenging new ventures, but it’s the perfect time for taking stock of your existing goals. Leaving things undone creates emotional clutter. No need to set a deadline – just keep moving forward.

Get moving

Your mind is active every waking minute of the day. Your body has the same ability and it needs to move. Having a sedentary job makes it even more essential that you avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Sit as little as possible and get fresh air as often as you can. Invest in a pedometer or smartwatch and challenge yourself to take a minimum number of steps every day. Regular physical activity is a great stress buster that’s good for body and mind.

Insist on downtime

Be kind to yourself and regularly take time out. Being selfish about personal time is a vital part of being able to function optimally.

No matter how big your workload and how many chores you have, make time for yourself – even if it’s a small pleasure like a walk, or an afternoon nap on the weekend.