Happy New Year! I hope your 2024 is filled with self-care, compassion, growth, and prosperity for you and your loved ones.
In this post, I’d like to share some tips and words of encouragement for facing the year ahead. But before we delve into that, I have an exciting announcement to make!
ANNOUNCEMENT: I am now able to provide teletherapy in most U.S. States!
I am now licensed with the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT). PSYPACT is an agreement allowing psychologists in participating jurisdictions to practice across state lines via telehealth or temporary in-person practice. I’m very excited for this development, as it means I’ll be able to accept referrals to virtually meet with patients from all over the United States! Learn more about PSYPACT and participating states here.
Facing the Year Ahead
If you find yourself feeling the weight of recent events — inflation, financial instability, the upcoming presidential election, political issues, world events, etc. — you may not be feeling very optimistic about the year ahead. Since the pandemic of 2020, it may seem like the world around you has been in a constant state of upheaval. You may be feeling persistent stress, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, fear, worry, isolation, and more.
First and foremost, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
And second, I want you to know that there is hope! With the proper tools, you can manage your stress and find joy, even in the face of uncertainty.
Here are some of the things I personally lean into to help manage my mental health during these changing times.
1. Stay Connected
Staying connected to those we care about is crucial for maintaining good mental health. On the flip side, becoming isolated is a sure fire way to erode your mental (and physical) health. Here are some ways to stay connected.
Maintain Social Connections:
- Actively engage with friends, family, and colleagues. Regularly check in with them, even if it’s a brief message or call.
- Attend social events or gatherings.
- Schedule regular social activities, whether it’s a weekly game night, a monthly dinner, or a spontaneous outing. Consistency is key!
- Cultivate meaningful relationships by spending quality time with those who uplift and support you.
- Share your thoughts and feelings with people who make you feel supported and emotionally validated.
- When in conversations, genuinely listen. This not only strengthens your connections but also promotes empathy and understanding.
Participate in clubs, groups, or organizations that align with your interests and values. This can create a sense of belonging and provide opportunities to meet like-minded individuals.
If you’re dealing with a specific challenge, consider joining a support group. Support groups can provide healing understanding in a nonjudgmental community setting.
2. Take Time for Self-Care
Give yourself some space to assess what’s important in your life and what you need to feel empowered, confident, and happy.
Prioritize your Health:
- Exercise. Walking, hiking, bike/spin, swimming, yoga, pilates, zumba, weight training, dancing, martial arts — it can be anything! Just find activities you enjoy and will do consistently. Exercise not only has a positive impact on your physical health, but on your mental health as well. It has been shown to be more effective than antidepressants!
- Sleep. Both quality and quantity matter! Like exercise, sleep has a direct impact on mental health.
- Feed your body with nutrients that support your physical and mental health.
- Get out in nature. Being outdoors in nature has been shown to improve mental health.
Be kind to yourself. Understand that everyone goes through ups and downs, and it’s okay to ask for support when needed.
3. Have a Purpose
Answer these questions:
- What are you passionate about?
- What are your strengths and talents?
- What brings you joy?
Consider taking your answers and finding ways to live them out in your life.
I personally am passionate about animals. I love donating to and volunteering with animal shelters, because it instills in me a sense of purpose and is a positive and rewarding contribution to my circle of influence.
4. Cut Out the Noise
Limit Social Media:
Ever heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy”? Social media has been shown to have a negative impact on mental health. I’m not saying it’s all bad — social media can also help you stay connected, but it’s essential to use it mindfully. Set boundaries for yourself to prevent excessive comparison or a negative impact on your mood and self-worth.
Take a Break from the News:
You can be informed without being inundated with the divisiveness and negativity that the news media fosters. Remember that both social media and news platforms are for-profit corporations whose #1 goal is to keep you listening, watching, and scrolling. They do not have your best interests at heart.
5. Seek Professional Help
Last but certainly not least, if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship troubles, feelings of worry or uncertainty, etc., please don’t hesitate to seek support from a mental health professional. Therapy can give you the guidance, confidence, and practical strategies you need to face whatever obstacles are in your life. I’d be happy to have a consultation with you and see if we’re a good fit — please reach out today!