As the calendar flips to a new year, it's natural for many of us to reflect on the past and set intentions for the future. While New Year's resolutions can be empowering, the pressure to achieve them can also take a toll on our mental health. In this blog post, we'll explore the common challenges that arise as the new year approaches and discuss practical ways to cope with the stress and reflections that may accompany it.
1. Reflecting on the Resolutions we Set:
It's that time of the year when we assess the goals we set for ourselves. Whether you've conquered your resolutions or encountered roadblocks, it's essential to acknowledge and understand the emotions that come with reflection.
Example: "I set out to exercise more this year, and while I didn't hit my initial goal, I did discover a love for hiking. It's okay to celebrate the small victories and not get bogged down by what didn't go as planned."
2. Its Okay if You Did Not Achieve All Your New Years Resolutions:
Resolutions often come with the expectation of perfection, but it's essential to realise that everyone's journey is different. Rather than fixating on flawless achievements, embrace the idea that resolutions are a flexible and ongoing process.
Example: "My resolution was to read a book every week, but life got busy. Instead of feeling like I failed, I'm proud that I made time for reading regularly, even if it wasn't every week."
3. Use a CBT Approach to Cope with Resolution Stress:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) provides practical tools to manage stress. By identifying and reframing negative thoughts associated with resolutions, you can build resilience in the face of challenges.
Example: "When I couldn't meet my fitness goals, I used CBT techniques to reframe my thoughts. Instead of seeing it as a failure, I recognised the progress I made and adjusted my goals to be more realistic."
4. Mindful Reflection: A Gentle Approach to New Year Assessment:
Incorporating mindfulness into your reflection process can provide a sense of self-compassion. Mindfulness practices help you observe your thoughts without judgment, fostering a more positive and understanding relationship with yourself.
Example: "As I reflected on the past year, I practiced mindfulness by focusing on the present moment. It allowed me to appreciate the growth I experienced and let go of unnecessary self-criticism."
5. Setting Healthy Intentions: Beyond Traditional Resolutions:
Move beyond the rigid structure of traditional resolutions and consider setting intentions that prioritise holistic wellbeing. Explore approaches to goal-setting that encompass mental, emotional, and physical health.
Example: "Instead of a strict diet resolution, I set the intention to nourish my body with wholesome foods. This shift allowed me to focus on overall health rather than a specific number on the scale."
6. Connecting with Support Systems: The Importance of Seeking Help:
If the pressure of resolutions becomes overwhelming, reach out for support. Whether it's friends, family, or a mental health professional, connecting with others can provide valuable perspectives and encouragement.
Example: "Talking to my friend about my resolutions helped me gain a new perspective. They reminded me that setbacks are part of the journey and offered support in refining my goals for the upcoming year."
As the new year approaches, remember that your mental health journey is a continuous process, and resolutions are just one part of the equation. Embrace imperfections, utilise CBT techniques, practice mindfulness, set holistic intentions, and never hesitate to seek support. May the upcoming year be a time of growth, self-discovery, and compassionate self-reflection. You're not alone on this journey, and every step forward is a reason to celebrate.
Cheers to a mentally healthy new year!