Why I Secretly Love Staying In On New Year’s Eve
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy and grateful to be getting out and about with friends again after the awful couple of years we’ve all endured.
I don’t know about you, but having spent so much time indoors with box sets in 2020, the second half of 2021 kind of felt like a sort of mad, drunken sprint for me. Cosiness and getting enough sleep suddenly fell right at the bottom of my priority list, far below bottomless brunches and new cocktail bars.
At times I’ve had the panicked sensation of needing to cram in all the fun that had passed me by in the months before, as well as the fun I feared might be ripped away in the future; all sensible thoughts about saving money or drinking water flung out of the window with the banana bread recipes.
With the festive season now in full swing, my calendar is getting double- and triple-booked by the day, much like an overstuffed pudding drizzled with a little too much brandy. I’m excited, but know myself well enough to know I won’t be able to stay Christmas angel levels of merry and bright throughout.
Despite being a bit introverted at times, I do love a good party and thoroughly enjoy the excuse to finally step out in a sparkly dress and paper cracker crown, prosecco in hand.
However, as previous years have wound down to a close, I’m often left feeling a little melancholy, longing for an evening to catch my breath before the morning propels me forward into bleak, non-sparkly January. Should this happen this year, I’ll be more than happy to simply swap my heels for slippers.
I’ve had some wonderful New Year’s Eves with friends and family, but I’ve often been struck by the intense pressure of ‘having’ to go out on this hugely hyped monster of a night. An evening that triggers FOMO like no other, which sparks the ever incredulous refrain, ‘You’re staying in on New Year’s Eve?‘.
There is still such a social taboo surrounding staying in on New Year’s Eve. After all, sitting in front of Jools Holland with some nice leftover picky bits is not exactly regarded as a cool thing to do, no matter how tempting this prospect might be.
NYE is supposed to be a time for dancing and fireworks that split the old sky apart. You’re supposed to lock lips with strangers and sing Auld Lang Syne all the way home with party popper streamers in your hair. It’s a time for remembering that nothing lasts and that you should make every single year count.
However, sometimes this just isn’t how you want to celebrate, for millions of different and perosnal reasons. Maybe the weight of the year and its losses feels a little too heavy. Maybe you’ve got some big decisions to think of in the year ahead and need an hour or two to contemplate.
In the final hours of one particularly tricky year, I myself spent time speaking with a wonderful person from the Samaritans helpline while curled up at home, knowing that what I really needed was to talk. Being part of a heaving crowd would not have made me feel less lonely or heartbroken.
Whatever your own personal reasons may be, there’s no shame whatsoever in spending New Year’s Eve in your pyjamas rather than in your latest ASOS buy, with the added bonus of there being absolutely no queue for the loo or the bar (your kitchen).
Indeed, as someone who likes to step back and ‘spring clean’ my thoughts every now and then, staying in on New Year’s Eve has many benefits and I actually – whisper it – quite enjoy it. If you’re keen to focus on your wellbeing in 2022, then you could do worse than arrange this all important evening around your comfort. A nice bath or a few scented candles, maybe your favourite old movie.
Signifying a bridge between one year and the next, I always find NYE to be quite a poignant yet hopeful time, a time perhaps to send messages to those you’ve been meaning to reach out to, or to hop on the phone to a family member.
If you don’t feel like hitting the clubs this December 31, then this may also be a good time to look back over your year. Perhaps writing down your thoughts and reflections, or looking through photos and considering what you’ve enjoyed and what you’d like to change going forward.
Taking time for yourself amid the pressures to be sociable and visibly full of life and energy is vitally important, particularly as this year looks set to be the FOMO night out to end all FOMO nights out.
I’ve not yet decided how I’ll be saying goodbye to 2021, but whether it’s with a round of shots or with a feast from my favourite takeaway, I won’t feel any shame whatsoever for putting my well-being and happiness above any regimented expectations.
Happy New Year, however you might be celebrating.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone
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