Owning 2022: 5 Mental Health Habits For The New Year

As exciting as a new year can be, it can also bring with it feelings of fear and even dread as new COVID-19 variants mess up our plans. Try these 5 easy, proactive self-care tips to tide over the next few months and what 2022 brings.

#1. DON’T Stop Making Plans 

While we all need to learn to live with the uncertainty that can sometimes make plans seem futile, don’t give up on your dreams. Make those plans, set those goals, just building in room for changes on timelines. Without a plan, some of us can lose our sense of purpose.

Go with timelines that work for you. Plan a day at a time – have a schedule or routine even if you are working from home in an unstructured environment.  

#2. Make Time For Downtime 

Just like every car needs some downtime for servicing and repairs, your mind and soul need some time to heal too. Whether it is time to recover after bad news or just downtime to manage everyday stress better, prioritize it.

Chalk a breather into your schedule. It could be anything that helps you – yoga, meditation, a walk, dancing, mindfulness practices, arranging flowers, just listening to music, or lighting an aroma candle. 

#3. Stay Physically Active 

You’ve heard this enough but there are no two ways about it!  Exercise and movement can work wonders for your body too. It is known to help ease mental fatigue, stress, and frustration, and improve your focus.

Start a workout group with your peers or friends. Get together virtually and do dance workouts or yoga or any other form of workout you enjoy. If you have friends nearby you could meet one for a masked walk outdoors.  Whenever it is safe to head out, get in a walk for some fresh air, sunlight, and vitamin D.

#4. Keep Social Connections Active 

The situation outside can make it easy to withdraw into a quiet existence. But this could heighten feelings of isolation and loneliness. Make the effort to connect with people online and on the phone. Reconnect with old friends, old classmates, co-workers, and relatives. You may rekindle an old friendship sparked by similar pandemic woes. Or start new relationships by signing up for a new skill or hobby class. 

#5. Get Help When It Gets Overwhelming 

It is well established that the stress of the pandemic has elevated instances of anxiety, depression, as well as heightened the incidence of obsessive and compulsive symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. 

The pandemic can sometimes feel relentless and the difficult news endless. But having a professional you can call when the going gets tough can take a weight off your shoulders.  Don’t bear this burden alone. You can learn coping mechanisms, learn about tools that help, or just unburden yourself for a while as you speak to the therapist.