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New Year and a Healthier You: Mental Health Resolutions

Updated: Mar 10, 2019


New Year’s Eve is meant to be a time of reflection on the ending of an era; however, for most people, it often tends to create high-functioning anxiety due to the stresses of not completing everything on a particular goal list, not meeting a quota, or simply thinking about what all needs to be done in the upcoming year.

Many end the year with bad habits and therefore plan to start the following day implementing their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

What has helped me in my New Year’s Resolution phase is looking forward to sitting at my table on New Year’s Eve day to reflect over the year and to express my gratitude for what I actually accomplished. The most exciting experience is reading through my daily journal entries from January 1st to December 31st. This practice helps me to see how much I’ve progressed throughout the year. Being realistic, I always carry over a few unfinished goals. These unmet goals help me to streamline and categorize what I need to accomplish in the upcoming year, from the most important goals down to goals that need adjusting.  

When it comes to developing new resolutions, it’s common to be eager to include relationship, financial, spiritual, and career goals, but as you are moving forward and thinking on new goals, consider adding a space for mental health. For me, it’s imperative that I be mindful of my mental health goals as much as my other goals when I’m entering a new season of life each year. Not sure where to start? Since many use mental health and mental illness interchangeably, let’s break down the differences.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, behavioral, and social well-being. We should be concerned about our mental health throughout life because it’s a part of our everyday being.

Mental illness is a psychological disorder that can impact an individual’s social and occupational functioning. Mental Illness affects our thoughts, behaviors, and moods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness in a given year. One in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. One in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness. In 2018, we saw an increase in suicides among African American children. It’s crucial for all children to learn healthy coping skills and accept that suicide is not an option. Equally important is the role parents play in being more mindful of their kid’s mental health, as well. Undiagnosed mental illness contributes to homicides and suicides.

We have to be cognizant about our overall mental health and how we are modeling coping skills with our children, while simultaneously understanding that children are not miniature adults. Be aware of the pressure you put on your children. Allow them to emotionally express themselves by being an active listener. Don’t assume how they are feeling or project your feelings onto them.

Make it a priority for you and your kids to be mentally healthy in 2019. Pencil in self-care, become more aware of signs and symptoms of mental illness, get a physical, exercise daily, spend more time with your kids, model healthy coping skills, and journal daily for progress.

It’s time to overcome mental health stigmas and build a foundation for a healthier YOU.

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