JANUARY 03, 2024
As the new year unfolds, many of us reflect on the past year while also looking forward to new beginnings. It’s a great time to prioritize self-care and create goals for better mental health and emotional well-being.
Nicole Stelter, Ph.D., LMFT and director of Behavioral Health for Blue Shield of California, offers four tips to help you make and maintain New Year’s resolutions that foster good mental health.
1. Prioritize self-care. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for good mental health. Make a commitment to prioritize self-care in your daily and weekly routines. Whether it’s taking a leisurely walk, practicing meditation, indulging in a hobby or simply allocating time for relaxation, prioritize activities that rejuvenate your mind and spirit.
2. Set realistic, attainable goals. Focus on short-term, realistic goals to get to long-term objectives. Creating new year resolutions that are overly ambitious or “big” can lead to disappointment and frustration, which may adversely affect your mental health. Instead, focus on setting small, manageable goals. For instance, rather than aiming to “completely eliminate stress,” consider incorporating daily mindfulness practices or allocating specific time every week for self-care activities.
3. Focus on building supportive relationships. Human connections are crucial for mental health. Make it a priority to nurture and strengthen relationships with family, friends or support groups. These connections provide emotional support, companionship and a sense of belonging, which are fundamental for good mental health. In addition, consider enlisting a friend or family member to help keep your resolutions on track. You could even work toward the same or similar goals together.
4. Be kind to yourself. As you embark on a new year filled with aspirations and resolutions, be kind and compassionate to yourself. Accept that setbacks might occur, and know that it’s okay to recalibrate your goals throughout your journey.
“Start the new year with a commitment to nurturing your mind, body and soul for a fulfilling and mentally healthy year ahead,” Dr. Stelter said. By incorporating these tips into your resolutions, you’re not only aiming for personal growth but also prioritizing your mental health and happiness.