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Wednesday Wellness: Tips for the New Year

2023 to 2024 text

New Year’s resolutions always start out as a hopeful goal each year and each year, many people feel disappointed in failing to meet them. In fact, for many, the new year can be a challenging time. Navigating loneliness, grief and stress can turn this exciting time into just another moment of anxiety.

However, there are ways to prioritize your mental health in 2024 without breaking the bank or setting unrealistic goals. Here are some tips to help you make the best out of 2024:

  1. List what you are happy with in your life, including activities you enjoy, people you love and goals or successes you have had. Sometimes we can overlook what is going well in our life and instead focus on the negative. This list could include items or parts of our lives we take for granted. Starting with the positives can help when devising strategies to work what you want to change or improve.
  2. “Schedule” time for self-care.  Branching off of the list you have made, create a list of self-care activities you currently enjoy and actually schedule them as part of your routine. Do you already enjoy sketching? Set an alarm or write on a calendar that you will sketch at least one hour every week. Some self-care ideas include going for walks outside, reading a positive book, trying light therapy if you struggle with winter months, practicing meditation and more. It’s important, though, to set realistic activities. Start with activities that are free or low-cost and won’t take much time. As you incorporate more self-care, you may find you can include more activities but it is better to start small. Also, talk to your loved ones about this new schedule or activity and encourage them to do their own self-care activity.
  3. Reach out to one other person. It sounds simple but it can make a difference. Everyone gets busy, so it is easy to lose track of a family member or friend. Take the time in 2024 to connect with someone. Maybe it is an old friend you haven’t spoken to in years or a family member going through a hard time. You can even reach out to someone new. Join a volunteer organization (online or in person). These connections can not only help you but others who may be feeling lonely.
  4. Be kind to yourself. Everyone has moments of doubt and insecurity. Unfortunately, your harshest critic is usually yourself. While this is common, it’s important to try and allow yourself some grace. Forgive yourself for mistakes and try to take steps to look at yourself more positively.
  5. Limit your screen time. Whether you spend hours scrolling through social media, playing video games or watching movies, too much time with screens can impact your sleep, relationships and self-image. Track how much time you are spending online and make adjustments. You can set screen time limits or as previously mentioned, schedule self-care activities that don’t include a screen.
  6. Talk to a doctor.  Discussing your mental or physical health with a doctor can be stressful. You may worry about being judged or finding out there are no ways to help. However, it’s important to acknowledge when you need help. Your primary doctor can help you find the resources you need or refer you to someone else who can help. If you do not have access to a primary care or mental health provider (due to geography or finances), reach out to community resource providers, free clinics, charitable foundations that help with medical bills and/or tele-health providers.

We hope you enjoyed these tips. Please check back on Wednesday’s for other wellness tips.

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