Mental Health & New Year’s Resolutions – Some Ideas to Reduce Stress

Mental health and New Year's resolutions can be difficult concepts to marry going into 2022.

It’s almost that time of year again when millions of people across the United States formulate New Year’s resolutions. As many of us can attest, most of these resolutions go unfulfilled. Generally, that’s because many of them are simply unrealistic and doomed to fail before they even begin. While statistics vary, the majority of data out there suggest that as many as 80 percent of people who resolve to accomplish something in the following year do not stick to their plan. For those dealing with mental health challenges, forcing mental health and New Year’s resolutions to coexist can actually create some harm if these resolutions are too stringent.

SoCal Empowered is an Orange County mental health facility that’s been helping people with even the most severe disorders learn to manage them through inpatient care. We also firmly believe in the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so if mental health and New Year’s resolutions are on your radar, we invite you to take a look at some suggestions below that will help you avoid potential pratfalls that can come with perceived failure.

Include Self-Care In Your Resolution

Mental health and New Year’s resolutions can coexist peacefully if you include the proper components in your pledge. Almost regardless of your resolution, you need to make sure to include self-care in your plan. What that means is providing, or even scheduling yourself time for things like sleep, relaxation and downtime. Mental health and New Year’s resolutions are not going to work well together if your new plan involves nothing but a “go-go-go” lifestyle with no breaks, as you’ll burn out and likely give up.

Be Specific With Your Resolution

One of the most surefire ways to have your mental health and New Year’s resolutions work against each other is if you make only vague promises to yourself. If you declare that you’re going to “lose weight” or “exercise more” or “live a healthier lifestyle,” you’re not setting yourself up for success.

Instead, make your resolution specific, such as, “I’m going to go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday for three months and then reevaluate,” or “I’m going to eat three helpings of vegetables every day.” In addition to putting specific goals in place, set out a plan to achieve that goal or those goals. This will allow you to objectively measure your progress instead of leaving it up to your own judgment, which isn’t always the most reliable arbiter.

Reward Yourself Along the Way

As part of that plan that will allow your mental health and New Year’s resolutions to coexist, you should build in opportunities to reward yourself as you make progress through the year. For instance, if you do go to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday during the week, perhaps you could allow yourself to enjoy a pizza over the weekend. The point of all of this is that you don’t want to make your resolution 365 days of drudgery and struggle, as that’s not going to help anyone’s mental health. Every journey should involve some difficulty and some rewards for progress made, as that’s only going to make things more enjoyable as you progress.

Understand That Slip-Ups Will Happen

As we mentioned above, every journey involves peaks and valleys, and if your mental health and New Year’s resolutions are both going to be of benefit to you, it’s important to accept that before starting on your goals. If you resolve to go to the gym three times per week, for one reason or another, there will come a time when you miss a day or two. If you resolve that you’re going to eat a salad every day, there will come a day when that doesn’t happen.

Refusing to acknowledge not that possibility, but eventuality, is only going to make the inevitable feel worse when it arises. Understand that we as humans are imperfect by nature, so we need to be ready to accept these slip-ups when they occur. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up over it because you didn’t acknowledge ahead of time that life can throw you curve balls.

Don’t Scrimp On Your Celebration If You Succeed

Finally, if you want to maximize the benefits of the coexistence of your mental health and New Year’s resolutions, you need to make sure to celebrate properly if you succeed. If you do manage to go the entire year and meet your goals, then think of a way to honor your achievement. Perhaps you could have a fun dinner get-together with friends, or you could treat yourself to a weekend away or whatever else makes you happy, but what’s important is that you complete this journey with a “trophy” if you emerge victorious. You’ve just accomplished something positive, and that demands recognition.

How SoCal Empowered Can Help

Of course, not every New Year’s resolution needs to involve exercise, weight loss, improved diet or professional progress, as there are many other worthy pursuits to explore. One of them could be mental health. Millions of us are suffering from some sort of mental health challenge, whether it’s been diagnosed or not. Allowing a mental health problem to fester can lead to just as much damage as deciding not to lose weight when it may be necessary or pursuing other ways to improve your overall health.

In fact, mental health and New Year’s resolutions can combine into one effort instead of figuring out how to not have them interfere with each other. For those who need it, resolving to restore your mental health to a proper state will provide countless benefits. If this is something you’ve been thinking about but you’re unsure of how to pursue this goal, you can always contact SoCal Empowered for help. Our Orange County mental health facility welcomes people with all types of challenges, and we’re ready to help you plot your course to an improved life both for you and those close to you. Contact us today.