New Year Resolutions – Tips from a Psychotherapist
2021 was a complicated year and some of the things that made it complicated have not been resolved. So, we’re starting this year with uncertainty. Some of us are facing significant challenges in the health, social, and financial spheres.
Out with the Old
Perhaps a good starting point as we commence 2022, is to recognise and say “well done” for getting through 2021. On-going concerns about the pandemic mean that we can’t guarantee this year will be better, but we can still try and make the most of it. 2021 may have helped us be clearer about the work/life balance we want. We may have discovered new hobbies or re-connected with old ones. We may have prioritised our health and wellbeing, which includes our mental health.
So as 2022 kicks off, what are useful areas to focus on?
Take care of your Body – which in turn will help your mind. Your mood is hugely impacted by your physical health, so paying attention to your diet, sleep and fitness can pay huge dividends. Just short periods of physical exercise, such as walking or gardening, can help to relieve stress and anxiety. This can also help you to sleep better.
Make plans, but break them down into realistic goals
Most new year’s resolutions are given up on by mid-January. This can creating feelings of guilt and pessimism about what you’ve not been able to achieve. Set ambitious goals but break them down into achievable bites. So, if you want a new job in 2022, the first step might be to speak to a colleague or friend who has recently moved job. Get some tips or feedback on what they did. You might also start by researching what’s out there; speak to a career coach, think about getting your CV updated. This way you’ll notice your progress which will help motivate you towards your bigger goal.
Accept what you cannot change.
This is not a lesson just for 2022, but a lifelong one. The pandemic has continued to reinforce that we have limited control. We don’t know if there will be another lockdown, but we do have some control about how we spend our time during any lockdown. We can commit to staying active about our health and wellbeing regardless or what changes are imposed on us.
Make your mental health a priority for 2022
2022 is not only about your physical health, career, and finances, it’s also about your mental health. For example, keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Say yes or no more often. Learn how to be mindful. Try therapy for the first time, or return to it. Be compassionate. Making any change can take time, be patient.