New Year, New You? How to move forward with intention versus resolution
Now that the holiday season is behind us, there can be a mix of emotions including stress, anxiety, and even sadness. Those New Year's Resolutions may already be adding too much pressure or you may even be realizing that your expectations were simply unrealistic. Yes, these are the problems with New Year's Resolutions. They are set with the best intention but can be challenging in execution. Below are 9 ways you can continue to support your mental health to begin the New Year in a more positive frame of mind.
1. It’s okay to feel _____________.
For some, the holidays were filled with joy and merriment, but for others, the holidays may have also been accompanied by feelings of grief, overwhelm, or sadness. No matter what you may be feeling, your feelings belong to you and are valid and justified. So, another way to look at this is at least you are feeling versus deflecting, avoiding, or denying. One way to move forward is to find acceptance of where you are in the here and now, The only way to get where you want to go on your Mindfulpath is to know where you are on the path. This way YOU can choose your direction with intention rather than setting resolutions, which can lead to quickly running out of steam.
2. The power of NO.
We all have the right to say no to things we do not want to do. The holidays may have been taxing and even exhausting, ending in a mad rush to the finish line, the New Year. Moving forward, support your mental health by saying no compassionately to commitments that are just too taxing. Use the New Year as an opportunity to reflect on what worked and didn't work in regard to setting healthy boundaries. If setting boundaries has been uncomfortable, or you have tried to say no in the past but have waivered, try a simple, “I really would love to, but my schedule just doesn’t allow it.”
3. Let go of expectations.
There is definite truth to the saying, "It is not about the destination, it's about the journey." Instead of focusing on the outcome, which is more indicative of a resolution, strive to be present for the journey. Work to release the ideas of the 'wants' or the 'shoulds', and allow yourself to be present for what IS. The
'wants' or 'shoulds' can be limiting and even work against you.
4. Take care of your basic needs.
Our mental health and physical health are connected. Remember to continue getting enough sleep, eating regular nutritious meals, and moving your body daily as you settle back into your routine. Your routine can always be revisited and altered accordingly in order to move forward as your best you. Do your best and aim for balance. Oh, and don't forget to breathe.
5. Spend appropriately.
Finances are a common source of stress and anxiety. Looking back at what you spent during the holidays can be overwhelming and depressing. What is done is done. The money is spent and the gifts have been given. So, start and move forward in the new year by making a realistic budget and stick to it.
6. Give something back.
A piece of advice often given is when you’re feeling down, do something for someone else. Moreover, it is more common practice to give back during the holidays. But the truth is, why only give something back during the holiday season? Giving back will not only make someone else’s day a bit brighter, but you will feel good as well. Maybe it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen, buying a raffle ticket for a fundraiser, or donating items you no longer use to the Salvation Army – a little goes a long way. If we all do one good deed think of what a difference that would make. It starts with one person so let that one person be you. Acts of altruism activate different neuropathways than actions based in self-gratification.
7. Make an alternative plan and practice flexibility.
Flights get canceled. Kids get sick. Work emergencies happen. Creating an alternative plan in the back of your mind can help to lessen stress and anxiety. Life happens, and when we practice acceptance we become more mentally resilient.
8. Focus on self instead of comparing yourself to others.
The reality is that there is someone who ‘has it better’ than you and there’s someone who ‘has it worse.’ The grass is not always greener on the other side. Comparing is not necessarily a bad thing as it can help us to be intentional with what we do and provide us with the information we need to move forward and grow. However, when comparing self to others is used as a means to prove what is lacking, it can lead to dangerous repercussions such as self-sabotage. Moving forward, strive to shift focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t. An attitude of gratitude will support your mental health.
9. Ask for extra support if you need it.
See a therapist, call a friend, go to a support group, or connect with the community around you.
Share these tips with others and use the ones that resonate with you. Have conversations about how to support each other and make your mental health a priority. Review our blog from this time last year, Bah Humbug to New Year's Resolutions, as a way to compliment this post. Mindfulpath is a supportive environment where you can learn how to move forward with intention versus resolution.
Happy Moving Forward with Intention,