I hope you can help me. I don’t have a problem as such, it’s more to do with a feeling. 2016 was terrible for me. My father passed away, I was ill frequently and my career nose-dived. I’m now fearing what the new year might bring.

First, please accept my sympathies for the loss of your father.

Everyone is familiar with the term ‘time is a healer’ and there’s truth in the statement. What isn’t clear, however, is how much time. Everyone works through loss in their own way and at their own pace. There are no set moments in time over how you should be feeling and when. But you can take practical steps to help yourself along the way. First, avoid focusing on phrases such as ‘getting over it’ or ‘moving on’. Instead, I prefer ‘go along with it, understand it and come to terms with the emotion you feel from it’. This way you are able to explore how you are feeling fully and accept it as part of the process.

You say you’re worried about what the new year will have in store for you. I assume, because you are grieving, you are struggling to see things clearly. 
It may feel like things couldn’t possibly improve, but they will. Use this time to your advantage. Again, ‘time’ is the key word here; time for you to stop, look and think. You wouldn’t cross a busy road without looking and carefully judging your next move; the same applies to life.

Take stock of where you are, don’t rush headlong into life’s traffic. Avoid putting yourself under the pressure of expectation; go with the flow.

Take a close look at three areas of your life – relationships, health and career. Undertake a mini-audit of all three and establish a positive starting point for each. The seeds of re-engaging in a more positive way lie here and you need to nurture those seeds and focus on their development. New growth takes time to establish itself – it’s the same with happiness. It may be difficult to find the time to just ‘be’, and to reconnect with yourself and others. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew, though. Small steps forward combine to form one big leap. So do it in stages.

Worrying about the future is a waste of energy. Life is unpredictable. Living in the present, learning lessons of the past and planning for the future is all we can control, so focus on what is important to you.

Where your work is concerned, getting yourself in a good place will help you to make decisions with greater clarity. It may be time for a change, or it may be that you just need a break to re-energise yourself.