By: Rashel Edwards
We are almost half way through December (happy dance). As humans we are wired to look forward to a new year, as a new year brings new possibilities and we generally hope that the new year will be far better than the previous one. With all that has happened in 2020 we are certainly crossing our fingers and hoping that 2021 will be a much better year than 2020 has been. An infamous new year tradition that many of us participate in is the setting of new year’s resolutions. Many believe creating new year’s resolutions is a waste of time as most people rarely follow through with them. While this may be true, setting new year’s resolutions can still be an excellent thing as it causes us to do some much needed introspection. It helps us to put all our bad habits on the table and forces us to come up with ways of kicking these habits to the curb. Even if we don’t follow through it’s still a good way to identify our mental and life goals and take the little steps towards achieving them. This year has been a difficult year for many of us: academically, physically, and mentally. 2020 has been dubbed the year of mental breakdowns; with a surprise pandemic coupled with all the standard issues of life, 2020 took a toll on many of us. For some it broke our mental vases and for others their mental vases were completely shattered as the events of the year lead to a host of mental struggles. How can we prepare ourselves better for 2021 to ensure our mental game is stronger and better than ever before? Here are a few mental health resolutions for you to implement as 2021 draws near.
- Work Smarter Not Harder
Overworking yourself can lead to a host of mental health issues including: stress, anxiety and exhaustion. Create a realistic schedule that will help you to maintain a good school-work-life balance. Ensure you do not procrastinate when it comes to your work or academic assignments. Procrastination will result in you having a mountain of work to do at the last minute and this will definitely take a negative mental toll. Additionally, it is important to assess your tasks and come up with the smartest way of completing them. Many times we take the hardest, most stressful route when it comes to completing tasks. Careful assessment and deep thought can often help you come up with creative (less stressful) ways of completing your goals. By working smarter instead of harder you save yourself a lot of stress and this will help you to maintain good mental health.
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- Choose Joy Over Happiness
Happiness is brief and circumstantial while joy is a constant delight. Make a deliberate decision to be joyful no matter what life throws your way. Make a concerted effort to stay positive. Consider the glass half full instead of half empty. Learn to express gratitude for what you have instead of being depressed over what you lack. A positive joyful frame of mind is one of the most effective medicines for good mental health.
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- Be Mindful Of Media Consumption
Did you know that what you consume through the media can impact your mood and mental health ? Well if you didn’t know, now you do. Just as you are careful when choosing your clothes and your food so should you be careful when it comes to selecting what you watch, read and listen to . Watching political and hard news all the time can leave you feeling: angry, depressed and anxious about what’s happening in the world. It is important to stay informed but try to balance things out. Ensure you consume things that: educate, motivate, inspire and get you in a good mood. Starting your day off with a good motivational video can make a big difference in terms of how you feel throughout the day.
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- Don’t Forget That Your Health Is Your Wealth
For 2021 don’t get so caught up with chasing money and academic goals that you forget that your health comes first. “The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man! Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” Remember without good mental and physical health your money and academic achievements will mean nothing. Don’t sacrifice your mental and physical health for financial gain, it is never worth it. If you aren’t physically and mentally healthy you won’t be able to fully enjoy anything in life.
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- Make Time For Healthy Relationships.
Surround yourself with positive people who nourish you mentally. There is a famous quote that says “ you are the total sum of those you hang around the most”. Make time for those who pour positivity into your life. Stay away from those who cause you to constantly be in a bad mood, even if it is a family member, you can love them from a distance. By surrounding yourself with those who lift you up you are protecting your peace and creating an environment where your mental health will flourish. Toxic relationships stand behind the doors of many health issues in the world today; while healthy relationships are good for your mind, body and soul.
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- Be brave enough to seek help
This is perhaps one of the things you have heard most on this blog so far. That’s because we can’t stress it enough. Seeking help can be the difference between those who recover from mental health challenges and those who do not. As soon as you feel like things are too much for you to handle, seek professional help. Professionals are equipped with all the necessary tools and information to help you stay mentally healthy. If you allow yourself to become mentally unstable this will negatively affect all areas of your life. It’s better to seek help sooner rather than later as sometimes waiting until later can be far too late. Additionally, if you know of someone who may be facing mental challenges but they aren’t brave enough to seek help for themself reach out to a pastor or one of their close, trustworthy family members who can help them get the help they need.
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We hope you will add these suggestions to your list of new year’s resolutions, and we hope they will make a positive impact on your mental health for 2021.
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