The New Year brings with it new expectations and experiences for everyone. It can be a time of excitement and fresh starts and yet feel one of the most difficult times also. Many people report feeling down, a little fatigued and more hopeless. There can be a sense of deflation after all the festivities of Christmas and with that anti-climax low mood and, in some cases, isolation can occur. The temptation may be to give in a little and retire from the world but the opposite is more helpful. Engaging in moderate physical exercise, eating a balanced diet and staying connected to others can prohibit a low mood from getting increasingly worse. Of course we all have off days or lazy days whereby we need to rest more and retreat but if you notice that you are experiencing ongoing low mood and change in behaviour that affects your quality of life and/or relationships then you may have to reach out for help.
A good place to start is family or friends, someone you already know and trust. They know you already and know your life experiences and how much you have been through so chatting to them about how you feel can alleviate the pressure/stress you may be feeling. Family and friends will want to know if you are struggling and from my experience, as a counsellor, they will appreciate you letting them in. The first step is the hardest but once you start the conversation you will feel less alone and instantly begin the process of connection. Communication is key. Whether it is anger, sadness, fear or anxiety talk about it; problems are relative so if it bothers you then it bothers you. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it doesn’t matter or other people won’t care because this way of thinking only serves to isolate you more. Don’t pretend to be ok if you are not ok. This only serves to delay or postpone what you inevitably have to address so consider the benefits of sharing how you feel, as not sharing could have a negative impact on your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Another avenue worth exploring is visiting your GP. Describe to your doctor how you feel and what you are experiencing recently. Discuss your concerns and fears and how others i.e. family or friends, may have noticed a change that concerns them. Again you have begun the process of reaching out. Your doctor can listen and make some suggestions or refer you to other services. They can discuss your support network and request a repeat visit to them so that they can monitor and support you as necessary.
Alternatively, you may consider counselling. This would give you the opportunity to explore your thoughts, feelings and experiences (past or present) in a confidential, non- judgemental, safe setting.
Counselling can provide support, insight and validation. It is a useful space where people can open up and discuss what is on their mind and what is happening within the context of their world. The aim is to feel seen and heard at a time when you may be feeling alone and/or invisible! The developing relationship between you and the counsellor can restore confidence in yourself as well as confidence in others; thoughts can be challenged and feelings can be held. In turn, there can be a sense of empowerment when we become pro-active in our lives and starting the counselling process is a positive indication of this. Acknowledging that we matter, that we are enough and that we need others (either on a personal or professional level) can enable us to face another year with less dread, more hope and more understanding.
SouthWest Counselling Centre will run an 8 week Programme for Parents of children aged 5 to 12 years, starting on 19th January, cost €25. Call 064 6636416 for more information.
SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. firstname.lastname@example.org. Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide. email@example.com To make an appointment call 064 6636416/064 66364100
SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision