As we ease into 2020 we can feel a variety of emotions. January can be a tricky month for many people’s mental health and entering a new decade can bring challenges and pressures as well. In this article, I’m going to talk about 3 simple ways to look after your mental health that will serve you for the entire year.
Setting Realistic Goals
Many of us make resolutions and set goals as a way of embracing the new year and new decade that has arrived. 2020 feels like a significant place to be, especially for those of us who feel like the year 2000 just happened, I include myself in that group. The time flies by in day to day life so a change of decades often brings more pressure to achieve certain goals that we have been maybe putting off or haven’t gotten around to yet.
Every year people resolutions that they don’t achieve. I think the reason is that they try to change too many things at once and the resolutions aren’t broken into achievable goals. Whatever the reason is, if resolutions fail, then that can lead to a feeling of personal failure, lacking and questioning one’s self-worth.
For the past few years, I have been encouraging people not to set multiple new year resolutions. Set a goal or two for yourself, and break them down into realistic and achievable mini-goals for each week or each month.
By setting a goal at a time and breaking them down, you are being kind to your mental health. You aren’t over-pressuring yourself to make big changes. You aren’t feeling down for not accomplishing a list of 10 goals in one month.
Remember that you can make a change any day of the year, don’t try to change everything at once.
The beginning of the year can be an overwhelming time. Whether it be from setting high resolutions for yourself or realizing how many years have passed by and what you wish you have done or feeling blues post Christmas, January can be a difficult time for people’s mental health.
Speaking to a counselor is a way to voice your feelings and opinions to someone who isn’t a friend or family member. In an environment that’s fully confidential. For those who would prefer to have counseling from the privacy of their own home, there are many online counseling services.
Counseling others is a rewarding field to be in. For those looking to work in the field of counseling or therapy, there are opportunities to join the experienced team at BetterHelp and help others.
Huff Post speaks about four benefits of therapy and counseling:
- help you handle emotions from problems or stressors, even if they aren’t dramatically life-altering or traumatic.
- Talking with someone can help you find purpose.
- A professional can help you dissect a problem — then help you figure out how to solve it.
- A therapist can hold you accountable for your goals.
Remember that there is no shame in therapy, it is a form of self-care and it is admirable to seek help for your mental health.
As you have heard me say here so many times over the years, your mindset is everything. And I really mean everything.
When we are in a negative headspace we are down on ourselves, thinking critically of everything, we view the world around us through this cloud of negative thinking. Things are difficult, we struggle. That negative cloud attracts more negative to us and our perception of the world as being difficult for us gets validated.
When we are in a positive headspace we make a conscious effort to think positively of ourselves and others and to practice mindfulness. With that, we view the world through a cloud of positive vibes and it’s a much more fulfilling place to be.
Practicing mindfulness helps us to stay in a positive mindset and it also alleviates stress, improves concentration, helps with emotional balance and much more.
A few simple ways to practice mindfulness include:
- Five minutes of sitting in a calm space.
- Self-care (both physically like exercising or having a bath and emotionally like saying no to things you don’t want to do).
- Taking a deep breath, holding it, and letting it out slowly. With the breath, let the stresses leave you.
- Focusing on the present moment and who you are with.
- Saying a few positive affirmations each day.
- Feeling gratitude for the good things in your life.
We all have five minutes in the day to do something mindful. It’s the best time spent to exercise self-care for your mental health.
I wish you a very happy new year and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2020. Look after your mental health.