There is a lot of pressure right now for newness, transformation, and starting over. Some of you may feel overwhelmed by this push to be hopeful. Maybe you’re thinking, “What if I actually don’t feel hopeful?”, “What if I relapse again?”, “What if I don’t make it through 2017?” All of those concerns are valid and not uncommon. Here are some ideas about how to look out for and be kind to yourself in this upcoming New Year:
Strengthen or build your support system. People need other people. Although “self-care” implies that taking care of oneself is an individual responsibility, we were never meant to do life alone. Think about how you are able to best connect with others. Can you write letters? Call a hotline or a warm line for support? Create and exchange art? Share posts and messages with others on social media? Schedule a friend reunion? Set coffee dates with new acquaintances? Sometimes a support system can be one person or resource, sometimes it’s twenty. This looks different for everyone and that’s okay.
Limit your mindless social media intake. In a world where you can “Ask Siri” or “OK google” any information into your hands in a matter of seconds it can be hard to leave our devices alone. We scroll and click to know what’s happening and we want to offer our perspective on it. Many of us want to know how to help, so just writing off the Internet as just a distraction is a little too simple. Pay attention to how often you utilize your technology devices and for what reason. It can be easy to get sucked into something that can negatively affect your mental health without realizing it. One moment you’re laughing at a cute cat video and the next you’re reading an article headline related to a traumatic event you may have personally experienced. You cannot always be prepared to engage with the material you come across so it’s important to know your limits when it comes to consuming the news.
Be aware of what your body is telling you. Are you getting enough sleep? What are your eating habits like? If you’re able to exercise, are you doing so? Often times our bodies can tell us something is off way before our minds catch on. Be sure to plan your days with all of your physical and mental needs in mind. It can be easy to forget!
With so much uncertainty about how you will lead your life in today’s ever changing contexts it is difficult to be optimistic about what comes next. You do have a choice, though; you can either react or respond to the changes. Paying attention to how you are feeling and what you need to keep going is so important. It matters how you spend your time and how you look after yourself. Continue to live boldly while being patient with yourself as you strive to always do better.
Take care, and welcome to 2017.
Written by Leah Rolando, MSW Intern.