New Year, new you! Right? That’s what they always say, but easier said than done. Especially when mental health rears its head, a “fresh start” can seem like trying to trek up Mt. Everest.
If I’m being honest, as a mental health professional, I typically don’t enjoy writing on these kinds of subjects. There’s SO much information in the world of thought and feeling; I know no one wants to read an 80,000 word blog post (ha!). But mental health does not fit within a cookie cutter. Bear with me as I do my best to condense, and hit the highlights, without all the fancy psychology jargon that will bore you.
“Winter blues” can hit hard, but I’m hopeful this will bring insight to ringing in the new year! It’s great to have fresh perspective in order to motivate you for a new year so let’s dive into how to cultivate some healthy tips for 2023 (and beyond)!
- Self-care: Most of us struggle to truly implement self-care acts. We desire to but carving out time is tricky, especially as a mom! BUT, and this is a big BUT, we must create the time to do something for ourselves; something that allows us to take off all our “hats” we wear day to day. Self-care allows you to JUST be YOU; not a mom, daughter, friend, professional, sister, etc. I always tell my clients, before you can take care of others or other things in your life, you have to take care of yourself! Pencil in “you time” now!
- SLEEP: Whew. This is a category I could use more of, so I’m preaching to myself here! Sleep is an essence to us staying positively minded, less reactive, making better decisions, etc. Try to focus on getting in bed at a decent hour with a fairly good bedtime routine. Being in a rhythm (yet avoiding rigidity) helps promote restful sleep. There’s so much healing that happens within our bodies overnight, so it needs to be a priority! If you struggle with sleep in general, consult your PCP for remedies if “at home” suggestions don’t help. Many times listening to music, using a sound machine, taking melatonin* or reading can be beneficial places to start!
*I am not a physician and while it’s over the counter, this is not medical advice. Ask your doctor or a medical professional for guidance.*
- Connection with others: Humans were designed to be social creatures. Yes, some may be more introverted than others, but even the most isolated individuals do need some human contact. It’s good for your soul! Do a weekly check-in with yourself: “What do I need? Can I reach out to someone to catch up or to get a laugh?” Maybe it’s even through social media. Send a funny video or schedule a coffee date. Especially in winter, people begin to feel lonely; connection helps people not feel like they’re wandering through life detached or alone. Side note: if you know someone struggling this season, reach out! You never know how it might impact them or YOU!
- Identify small, achievable goals: New Year’s Resolutions are common in our society but they are typically unattainable long-term. Most people set very unrealistic expectations and life just … happens. I encourage you to make realistic goals that are packaged with baby steps in order to get you to the ultimate goal. There’s potential for more long-term gain with this route AND be sure to practice self-compassion during this time. Try your best to stay consistent but remember you are human and will make mistakes; grace is an essential part to achieving goals. You’ll have more success with this kind of mindset!
With all of this said, if you are still feeling stuck, please don’t hesitate to contact your doctor and/or a mental health facility for counseling. Mental health concerns are high and on the rise, but there are professionals out there ready to give guidance and support. The work will be difficult but the light at the end will provide healing. Getting help is always the answer. For those in immediate distress dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Hotline. More information can be found here.
Cheers mamas and Happy New Year, 2023!
You’ve got this!