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Mental Health in the New Year

WRITTEN BY GEORGIA GRATTAN




With a new year comes the talk about New Year’s Resolutions. What “good practice” or behaviour will you commit to for the year...only to find that like the majority of us, you don’t stick to it. Typically, New Year’s resolutions can be unrealistic and too broad. In fact, research indicates that less than 10 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions follow them through (The Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 2017). When we set a resolution that we don’t follow through on, we may experience feelings of failure and inadequacy.

Rather than setting a New Year’s Resolution, you may wish to consider some realistic areas to focus on to nurture your mental health on a daily basis:

Practice self-compassion – Self-compassion involves being understanding and kind to oneself, rather than self- critical or punitive, particularly in the face of suffering, mistakes, or imperfections.

Explore what brings you joy – Consider what activities, practices, places, and people bring you joy and fill your cup.

Engage in self-care – Self-care involves taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. Self-care may include making time for yourself, exercising, or spending time with loved ones.

Prioritise sleep – In our busy, modern lives, getting enough sleep each night (about 8 hours for adults) can be challenging. However, given that sleep is associated with better mood, energy, and concentration, its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. Some strategies to help achieve better sleep include:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day

  • Avoid electronics for 30-60 minutes before bed

  • Limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening

  • Try to avoid napping during the day

You may find the following resources useful:

If you believe that you would benefit from professional support with any of the above, a psychologist can support you to work towards your goals.

Reference The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2017, January 13). Thinking of changing your behavior in 2017? Try moving first [Press release]. https://spsp.org/news-center/press- release/thinking-changing-your-behavior-2017-try-moving-first

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