The phrase “new year, new me” has become a bit of a cliché. You might even roll your eyes at it, but there’s some value in that phrase though. The New Year is a clear mark for you to determine a starting point for change. Instead of a new you this year, adopt the phrase “new year, better me.” New years resolutions often focus on changing physical or behavioral patterns. People vow to work out more, loose weight or maybe cut back on spending. But changing habits and thinking about mental health can benefit you in these other areas as well. So this New Year consider adopting some of these mental health resolutions to coincide with your anxiety or depression treatment.
Having self worth is one of the best things you can do. For people with mental health problems this is often incredibly difficult though. It becomes easier to see your faults, real or imaginary, which can go in a downward spiral. Try listing ten of your best qualities and tape it to a mirror so you see it everyday. If you’re struggling to make a list ask your family and friends, no doubt they have way more than ten things they love and admire about you.
This resolution might seem more related to physical health than mental health but there is a proven link between exercise and an increased mental well being. If exercise isn’t really your thing try starting off small like taking a walk around your block once a day and then you can build from there. Physical activity is also great for alone time or listening to music that makes you happy.
Mental health has such a stigma around it and getting defined by labels happens both externally and internally. People are quick to become their labels: I am depressed, I am anxious. When you drop the label and redefine how you think about your mental illness diagnosis you become freer. Instead of saying “I am depressed” say “I have depression”. It’s a simple shift but it’s a lot easier to feel like you can change and overcome something if you suffer from it rather than feeling like you are it.
People without mental health issue might not understand this resolution. Life is hard sometimes but who doesn’t enjoy aspects of it? But for people with depression or anxiety disorder finding the positives in life can be hard. Find something you enjoy doing this year. Whether it’s a new hobby like photography or writing or just a simple activity like taking a bath. Once you find something that brings you happiness be sure to dedicate time to this daily, weekly at minimum.
It’s so common for people with mental illnesses to stop taking their medication as soon as they feel “better”. The reason you feel better is because of the medication. It’s also incredibly easy to let life get in the way of taking medication or refilling a prescription. Just remember that as important as other things in your life may be, your mental health comes first. If your mental health starts to fail again, so will everything else. Think of it as the keystone to everything else in your life.
It’s so easy to isolate yourself when you have an episode of mental illness. Maybe you don’t want to burden anyone else, maybe you’re embarrassed or you think you can fix it yourself. It’s okay to confine in family or friends when an episode occurs. Even if they can’t fix the problem at least you don’t have to go through it alone. At the very least contact your mental health professional or psychiatrist to talk it out.