The new year is upon us and although the world around us may still seem wobbly, we can steady our lives by prioritizing our mental health. In the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. This is the time of year many people resolve to take better care of themselves. But improving physical health isn’t the only resolution to consider. Resolving to improve our mental health is critical and too often overlooked. Research has proven that certain strategies really do improve mood and reduce the risk for mental illness.
One way we can practice self-care is by setting New Year’s promises to ourselves and to our emotional well-being. In the midst of crisis, unknown, and consistently changing environments—firm resolutions, rigid decisions, or “black or white” thinking does not serve an individual’s mental health wellness. Especially in a constantly evolving and changing COVID19, firm future resolutions can just set yourself up for a difficult undertaking of meeting unattainable expectations. Substantial amounts of chronic stress, anxiety, and/or depression develop when individual’s struggle with their own self-awareness around acceptance of what is out of one’s control…while, simultaneously, trying to control the uncontrollable. In preparation of leaving 2020 behind and welcoming 2021 with eager and open arms, here are some recommended goals for taking care of your mental health in 2021. Practicing and striving for these three simple goals in your daily life, will allow 2021 to unfold with more optimism and personal fulfillment, setting you up for mental wellness and success in 2021:
- Acceptance: “Normal life” is still a way off. As 2021 unveils and potential new vaccines become available in January, COVID19 is not going anywhere soon; I do not think I would invest in 2021 calendar just yet. Acceptance of this reality will help realign expectations.
- Empathy: The past 9 months, global humanity has been forced to live in an inhumane world as our, very human, primal needs of safety, security, and connection have been unceremoniously restrained in our daily lives. Most everyone is experiencing understandable situational responses and varying degrees of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Compassion: “Compassion is empathy in action; without action—compassion is just observation.” Empathy in motion and action requires the patience to acknowledge others’ humanity and realize that humans are not perfect, we make mistakes, and in this environment every day, we may run across people that do not show up as “their best self” in our moment with them. Show them compassion! We are all “flawsome”: full of flaws, and awesome because of it!
Remember, it’s about practicing. Practice acceptance, practice empathy, and practice compassion every day. It will have a long-lasting impact on your mental health and happiness. You can be the difference for yourself this year and The Blanchard Institute is here to help you every step of the way.