New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on weight, general health and finances, but they can also extend to mental health. Experts give their mental health New Year’s resolutions suggestions for you to try this year and every year after.
Chip Coffey, the director of Outpatient Services at St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Center, sent nine positive mental health resolutions for the new year through email:
1. “I will treat myself with respect and speak nicely about myself. Try taping a list of 10 positive characteristics about yourself in various places throughout the house and workplace to remind you of these things.”
2. “I resolve to be mentally healthy. In the United States, there is still a stigma about seeing a therapist. However, it is truly one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. A therapist gives us an unbiased ear and can also help us to understand why we do the things we do ... think of seeing a therapist as a mental health oil change.”
3. “I will be physically active on a daily basis.” Multiple studies show a link between exercise and improved mental health.
4. “I will act and not react. Many times we feel like everyone is pushing our buttons. When this happens, we are caught up in reaction. It is not that people are actually pushing buttons; it is that we became overly sensitive. If you know you’ll be around someone who says negative things, plan for this and have a list in your head of disarming statements.”
5. “I will learn to relax and enjoy. Many times we become so busy we forget how or even when to take care of ourselves. Take a yoga or meditation class. Find some activity like photography or journaling [that] is relaxing and enjoyable to you. Dedicate time to this daily, if possible, or at a minimum, weekly.”
6. “I will not define myself by a label. We often become our labels, e.g., I am depressed, I am fat, I am anxious. Drop your label; when you so it allows you to take control of the messages you have about yourself. For example, you could say, “I have depression, and today I will make sure to exercise to manage it.’”
7. “I will be mindful. Being mindful is about staying in the moment.