Happy New Year!
Victoria Brown, LPC
Counselor, Insight Clinical Counseling and Wellness, LLC
Happy New Year! It’s that time of the year people think New year, new me. How many times have you said that? You reflect on the past year before you ring in the New Year. While the New Year is a time full of opportunities, humans tend to reflect on their flaws during the past year instead of their successes. At the beginning of the year, there is often immense pressure to achieve a better version of ourselves. How many times are you able to maintain your new year goal? A study in 2020 showed that by month two, 80 percent of people had given up on their resolution.
People want to look at New Year’s resolutions as all or nothing. But what about making your goal realistic? When you set your resolution, it is time to reflect on the changes you would like to see and what you can realistically achieve. So, what New Year’s resolutions can you make that will help with your mental health?
Make sleep a priority. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency has also been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior. Did you know that sleep is linked to attention and concentration, which require staying focused on details.
Be kind to yourself. Focus on having healthy routines. Make time for things that you enjoy. Perform acts of kindness to others. Small, kind gestures for others can boost your well-being and make someone else’s day. Talk kindly to yourself. Think about how you talk to your loved ones and use that voice of compassion and love on yourself.
Make time for yourself. Brainstorm healthy things you can do for yourself that fit your lifestyle and schedule. Maybe it looks like stretching daily. Focus on each stretch for 10-30 seconds a piece. Read a poem, list what you are grateful for, and listen to your favorite happy song. Sit and listen to your favorite podcast or read a blog. Could you light a candle and breathe in its scent? Find yourself a hobby, try breathing exercises, meditation, or purposeful journaling. Schedule a day hike.
Volunteer in your community. BMC Public Health research shows that volunteering significantly improves mental and physical health and self-esteem. Volunteering can lead to increased life satisfaction and happiness. It can help with lowering stress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety.
Going into 2024, you do not have to create a new you. How about creating a healthier, happier you? Find something you love to do, have fun, be adventurous, and prioritize your health instead of punishing yourself. Find the good every day. If you find yourself struggling, putting pressure on yourself, you may need to reach out to a mental health professional.
Celebrate your most important relationship! The one you have with yourself. The relationship that you have with yourself will be the longest and most important relationship you will ever be in. This Valentine’s Day do not forget to show the most important person in your life how much you love them. YOURSELF!
Reconnecting strengthens our relationship. Valentine’s Day is often envisioned with ideas from movies, books, and unrealistic social media reels. Valentine’s Day should not be when there is a lot of pressure to make things fantastic and perfect
New experiences often come with difficulty and challenge. However, that doesn’t mean they are bad! I reminded myself of this fact often throughout my journey of becoming a counselor. From the beginning of my master’s program to starting my internship, and all the way through to graduation and licensure, it was challenging; I was pushed to grow and learn in many new ways.