The new year is around the corner, and with it are murmurings of resolutions all over the place. Have you begun to think about how you would like to move through 2023? Some people find reframing resolutions as intentions is helpful–turning something that feels mandatory into a practice that offers you a chance to honor your wishes.
No matter what you call it, now is a wonderful time to take a few moments and consider how you want to tend to your mental health in the next year. To do so, consider your mental health and self care habits from the last year. Ask yourself:
- How was my overall mental health this year?
- Where do I need the most support?
- What stops me from asking for support?
- How does it show up in my thoughts, emotions and body when my mental health isn’t being tended to?
- Was there anything that consistently left me feeling drained? Is there a way to eliminate it or reduce its presence significantly in my life?
- Did I communicate boundaries well this last year, or did I struggle with that?
- Who did I spend most of my time with over the last year? Do I surround myself with supportive people, or do the people I see drain me?
These are just some questions to get started thinking about your mental health and the ways it has shown up for you in the last year. You can find more reflection questions for the end of the year on our blog from last winter if you’re looking to extend that reflection before the new year!
Here are some ways you can prioritize your mental health in the coming year:
Find a therapist:
Professional support is one of the best ways to tend to your mental health! With a therapist you have a space that is just for you to explore your needs with someone who is caring and affirming, and won’t ever judge you for what it is you’re struggling with. While going to therapy doesn’t always feel as wonderful as we hope it will (it’s hard work!) it provides tools and support we can’t get elsewhere.
Make time for creative hobbies
Having different ways to spend your time is vital to your mental health, and creative hobbies are some of the best! They give you a chance to express yourself in ways you traditionally wouldn’t be able to; if there’s something you’re struggling with and can’t put words to it, maybe you can paint it or make a collage or write a song about it. Creative hobbies offer you a chance to tap into your inner child and have messy fun, as well as providing you an emotional release.
Take time with your inner child
Taking time to get to know your inner child and spend time with them can help you tend to unhealed wounds from childhood, wounds that may still be affecting you and your relationships and your mental health today.
Practice checking in with your body
When we’re emotionally unwell, sometimes our body knows before our minds do. Make it a habit to check in with your body regularly; where are you holding tension? Has your appetite or sleep changed drastically recently? Are you having head or stomach aches, or feeling majorly fatigued? Are you having digestive issues? All of these can be somatic expressions of something else going on. When you notice patterns in your physical and mental health, you’re better able to care for them.
Prioritize sleep health
What is your sleep environment? Is it too hot or cold? Too noisy? Do you stare at a screen right up until you fall asleep? How many hours of sleep do you usually get? Not getting enough sleep (or enough restful sleep) can impact just about everything; our ability to regulate our emotions, our critical thinking, our problem solving, our cognition in general is slowed, and our physical health is impacted as well. Prioritizing healthy sleep is a great step in maintaining holistic health.
Make journaling a practice
Giving yourself a space to explore your feelings, what’s happening in your life, what you’re struggling with, how you’re coping, what you desire, etc. is important! You need somewhere that is just for you to be 100% authentic. Journaling is a great way to practice this concretely.