How to settle new year anxiety as a victim or witness of crime

It’s the start of a new year, and while many are struggling with the prospect of returning to work after a long festive break, others will be dealing with something much more challenging.

If you experienced crime either as a victim or witness during 2018, the signalling of a new year might prompt you to reflect on what happened. For some, this will be a cathartic exercise, but if you find the return of raw emotion hard to deal with, January can be a tough month.

How can Voice help?

The team at Voice is always here to support you, no matter when or where the crime took place. Regardless of whether or not you’ve reported to the police, you can get in touch whenever you feel ready and our experienced, highly-trained team will help you start the process of recovery.

What can I do?

If you’d like to try some self-healing during January, there are a few ways you can address any anxieties you might have about the events that took place in 2018.

The first step is to accept that it’s completely normal to feel this way if you’ve experienced significant trauma – you’re doing and have done nothing wrong – but the following tips will help you deal with the feelings you are experiencing.

1. Talk to a family member or friend

Find someone you know well and trust (it could be a family member, partner or close friend), and tell them how you’re feeling; you might be surprised by how much better you feel once you start talking about you experience.

2. Break down your goals into smaller tasks

If you’ve set a goal for yourself in 2019 but it feels almost unreachable, there’s a brilliant way to make it more achievable.

Break down the constituent elements of your goal into smaller tasks that you can undertake each month. If you think there are several things you need to do in order to address your feelings and the challenges you want to take on, start viewing them as single achievements that contribute towards a bigger goal. They’ll become easier to achieve that way.

3. Remind yourself the feeling will one day pass

This is particularly hard when you’re feeling anxious about past events, but if you can, try and reassure yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing won’t last forever.

Accept them, feel them and let them occupy your mind for as long as they need to; there’s nothing wrong with doing so. What you’re feeling is entirely normal, but it will pass eventually.

4. Get plenty of exercise

Just a short walk every day will probably help you considerably, but if you’ve joined a gym recently or haven’t used your membership for a while, make 2019 the year when you get into the habit of going.

Find a form of exercise you enjoy, and you’ll soon discover that it helps settle your mind. Use the time while you’re working out to reflect or simply lose yourself in your favourite playlist; you’ll feel better once you’ve finished.

5. Try mindfulness and yoga

Mindfulness and yoga are great ways to remove negative thoughts and concentrate on the present moment.

A quick search of the app store on your smartphone will reveal lots of mindfulness apps to get you started, but if you fancy trying out yoga, there are some great beginners’ tips here.

6. Start a diary

Writing about your thoughts is a great way to express yourself privately and address the anxieties you’re experiencing.

You can write every day, every week or once a month – it’s entirely up to you. And remember, this diary is for you; there’s no need to share it (unless you want to), nor do you have to read what you write – the important thing is to get those feelings out of your head and onto paper.

The new year isn’t an easy time for many people, but if you feel anxious about events from the past, our tips above may help you start the process of coping, recovering and, eventually, thriving. Just remember that we’re always here if you need us.