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New Years Resolutions to Support Your Mental Health

Updated: Feb 2, 2023


As we move into the new year, it is common to see dozens of posts and advertisements encouraging you to set New Year's resolutions like trying that new miracle diet or purchasing the latest exercise program. Resolutions like this can be damaging to our mental health because positive, healthy change cannot be made overnight. Nonetheless, the new year is a good time to reflect, set intentions, and make smart goals that are supportive of, rather than damaging to, your mental health.


In her series The Inheritance Games, author Jennifer Lynn Barnes creates a dynamic where characters receive a yearly challenge to "Invest. Cultivate. Create." This framework is a great one to utilize to increase self-care and develop productive habits that are supportive of mental health and emotional well-being.


Invest


There are a lot of ways to invest in yourself this year. The word "invest" typically brings up the idea of money. For many, learning to invest in yourself and your future by practicing financial self-care feels daunting and risky. If this is the case, start by setting small, manageable investment goals like creating an automatic transfer from your checking to savings or educating yourself by watching a video or reading a book on personal finance each month. This is also a great time to schedule an appointment with a financial adviser to review your financial situation and help you set goals.

If you already practice financial self-care, you may want to consider other forms of investment, such as investing time spent on your health, relationships, or a career move. Mental health and physical health are interconnected, so setting a health-related resolution is a great option. Health resolutions should involve setting simple, attainable goals like getting a checkup, switching from conventional products to organic, or adding a restorative yoga class to your existing exercise routine.


If your goal is to invest more time into your relationship or transition into a new job, it can be helpful to start by doing an analysis of how you currently allocate your time. You can do this by recording everything you do in your phone's calendar app for one week and color code by activity. In the end, you may see a lot of one color and very little of another. Then, consider if the color distribution is in alignment with your values. For example, if you see a lot of your work color splashed across the screen but very little of the color for quality time with loved ones, it may be time to adjust and reallocate where you invest your time.


Cultivate


Cultivate and the following category, create, can seem like categories too similar to warrant a goal for each one. But think of it this way, the thing you create is something external to yourself, while the thing you cultivate is something that is internal. Setting a resolution to cultivate means being intentional about developing a new skill, hobby, or perspective that will bring more joy, purpose, or a sense of accomplishment to your life.


Consider how your life would change if you cultivated the ability to speak another language. How would your relationships change if you cultivated the ability to actively listen, show appreciation, or engage in a gratefulness practice? Imagine what it would be like in your mind if you learned to challenge and reframe negative self-talk. Each of these are skills you can cultivate for personal growth and better mental health.


Create


Some people embrace their creative side more than others, but even those who are not self-professed artists have the ability to be creative. Busy work schedules, caregiving responsibilities, and general stress put us in chronic survival mode rather than a creative mindset. Taking time to intentionally indulge our creative side is one of the most effective coping skills to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress as well as process trauma. Her Time Therapy offers art therapy that can help clients tap into the power of creativity for those who need assistance meeting a New Years' resolution that supports mental health.


“It’s not just clothing. It’s a message. You’re not deciding what to wear. You’re deciding what story you want your image to tell. Are you the ingenue, young and sweet? Do you dress to this world of wealth and wonders like you were born to it, or do you want to walk the line: the same but different, young but full of steel?”

-Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Inheritance Games




The only limit to what you create is your own imagination. If creating traditional artwork, like a painting, drawing, or photography isn't your thing, consider being more creative and expressive with your wardrobe, producing content for a new social media account, or even creating the website for that side hustle you've been dreaming about. As we move into the new year, just ask yourself: How can I intentionally set aside sacred time to engage my creative side? What creation would I like to produce this year that is a true expression of me?


Talk to a Therapist About Your Goals


The decision to start therapy can also be a great new years resolution, as it is a space to invest in yourself, cultivate new skills, and ultimately create a healthier lifestyle!

Therapists at Her Time Therapy, LLC know that you deserve to lead a happy, fulfilling life and are here to help you reach your goals. We help women overcome anxiety, reduce depression, process trauma, and improve relationships with themselves and others.


Call/Text (720) 255-1667 | info@hertimetherapy.com | www.hertimetherapy.com


About the Author

Meagan Clark, MA LPC NCC BC-TMH is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the Founder and Clinical Director of Her Time Therapy, LLC, a group therapy practice specializing in teletherapy for women. She received her Master of Arts degree in School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adams State University and is a Board Certified Telemental Health Provider and Nationally Certified Counselor. As a women's therapist, Meagan specializes in working with female-identifying teens and adults who suffer from trauma, relationship issues, anxiety, depression, and grief. She is also a Certified Holistic Cancer coach and specializes in supporting cancer patients and caregivers. Meagan believes strongly in the empowering nature of integrative and feminist therapy to give women the knowledge and tools they need to navigate gender-based oppression, increase resiliency, and empower themselves to create a life they love.


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