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Happy New Year!

I spent some time reflecting on whether to write this blog or not. When we work in domestic abuse, the narrative is often about the lack of things: lack of funding, resources, secure employment, safe places to live, love, care and confidence. Amid such suffering, is it appropriate to wish people a Happy New Year?


New Year is a time to reflect on where we have come from, where we are now, and what we hope for the future. A common toast at New Year where I come from is ‘Health, Wealth and Happiness’. These 3 things together are more likely to lead to a good and enjoyable life (as long as this is not at the expense of someone else of course) and are all relative terms, depending on how you feel your life is going: some may focus more on health, others more on happiness, whilst some feel an improvement in their economic circumstances is most important.


For those people experiencing domestic abuse or suffering from the aftereffects of leaving the relationship, there is often a feeling of being alone and that loneliness affects their happiness and mental health. I would like you to know that there are many people out there who will value, love and care for you, talk and laugh with you, and build your confidence. My wish for you is that you can find those people and learn to trust them enough to help and support you, bringing you good mental health and happiness and new opportunities. When we experience a relational abuse, it is positive relationships in our lives that help to heal the emotional pain and scars. Counselling may have a part to play, but so can friends, family and colleagues. If you are feeling alone, think about who or where you might be able to reach out to, as this could make a big difference to the year ahead.


I also find it helpful to remember that the only thing certain in life is that there will be change, sometimes welcome, sometimes simply accepted and at other times very challenging. Whatever phase we are in, it is worth noting that this will change as life moves on. If we are in a good period, being aware that it will not last helps us to enjoy this time. If life is challenging, knowing that there will be change (but not necessarily what that change will be) can help us to live through it. New Year is a time to notice all of this and to ponder and action decisions that can take us in a new direction, one that will help us to a happier, healthier and more prosperous future. Doing something differently will cause change, whereas doing the same things over and over will deliver the same result. Whilst we do not have control over everything, we can do the best we can with the tools and skills that we have. Working towards simple objectives like happiness can sometimes make it much clearer what is wrong and what can be made better.


So, as we look back on 2023 and forward to 2024, let me wish you all a very Happy New Year full of good health and happiness!

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