As we approach the countdown to midnight, many of us start to think about New Year’s resolutions. Or goals. Or intentions. Or practices. Whatever we call them, for a lot of people, the new year is a time to reset, recharge, refocus, and reinvent.
But this holiday season has been lonelier than most and so many of us have been struggling more than ever with our mental health. Especially as we end a year that has been difficult for people all over the world and move into a new year filled with uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to be kind, gentle, and patient with ourselves and others.
In the new year, let’s focus on being well.
So many New Year’s resolutions are focused on weight loss, getting in shape, or other body-related goals. In fact, losing weight, exercising more, and eating better make up around one third of all New Year’s resolutions.
While it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, it’s just as important to embrace our bodies, enjoy food, and stay body positive. It’s totally valid to set goals and intentions for your health and fitness if that’s what is important to you, but these goals should be realistic and keep your health front and center. Your worth is not determined by the size of your body and health can’t be discerned by numbers on a scale or your body’s shape.
Exercise is great for your mental health and is a way of taking care of yourself. But it’s important to do what brings you joy and what works for you. Exercise doesn’t have to mean expensive gym memberships. It can mean dancing in your apartment, walking your dog, trying a free yoga challenge, or any other movement that makes you feel good.
By this point, we know the “new normal” is here to stay, although it is ever-changing, not very normal, and extremely new. So new that we haven’t had time to adjust, and even if we did, what would we adjust to?
It looks more and more like we’re going to have to continue to physically distance well into 2021, which means it’s important to make sure we’re doing everything we can to nurture our minds and protect our mental health.
While I recommend meditation (one hundred million percent), there are so many things you can do to protect and nourish your mind! Here are some of our favorites:
The new year is a great time to starting thinking about finding a therapist. We know finding a compatible therapist on your own can be really hard so we put together a guide to finding a therapist in the new year, and our blog is full of tips and resources. If you already see a therapist, it could be time to branch out and try family or couples’ therapy, or even share your therapy journey with a friend.
Not sure if you would benefit from therapy? If you’ve been considering it at all, you probably would, and it doesn’t hurt to try. And if you need some inspiration, here are 60 reasons to start therapy that our Instagram community gave us when we asked them heading into 2020.
I say (or type) “practice self care” so often that it has melded into one word on my head. It’s important! And there are so many ways to do it. While I am a firm believer in building self care into your daily life before you “need” it and being proactive about stress management, being well can expand beyond meditation, baths, deep breaths, and puppies.
Self care can look like setting aside an hour each week or month to take care of a to-do list so it doesn’t weigh on our minds. It can look like making that doctor (or therapist!) appointment that we’ve been putting off. It can mean setting aside money to pay off a credit card bill or starting to save for a trip when we can travel again.
It can look like planning to negotiate for a raise (and yes, you can get a raise in a pandemic) or saying “no” to obligations or engagements that are more stress than they’re worth. Self care is anything you do (or don’t do! I’m a huge fan of doing nothing sometimes) that fills your cup.
Sure, there are things we all want to do to become better, and most of us are excited to leave 2020 behind. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely overhaul your entire life this New Year’s or any other. Growth, like life, is a journey, not a destination, and every iteration of you throughout your life is unique, valid, and awesome.
So in the new year, let’s focus on taking care of ourselves and being well.
Caitlin is MyWellbeing's Content Lead, a writer, speaker, communication coach, and the founder of Commcoterie, a communication consultancy. She teaches teams how to use professional coaching communication techniques in their everyday conversations, helps leaders engage their teams with effective and inclusive communication, and partners with service providers to activate their programs and offerings with their own clients through inspiring communication strategies. Find out more, including how to work with her, at www.commcoterie.com.