As the New Year approaches, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, fearful, sad, anxiety-ridden, depressed, or a mix of these emotions. The end of a long year and the start of a new one can be a lot to process. It is ok to feel whatever it is you are feeling. We wanted to take some time to touch on the importance of mental health as we go into a new year.
Common Mental Health Concerns
There are a variety of ways in which mental health issues can spike when we talk about the New Year. Life changes, although exciting for many, can be stressful and burdensome to others. While some see the new year as a fresh start, others may have different feelings toward it. Some ways in which the new year can affect mental health are:
- For those struggling with pre-existing mental health concerns, chronic illness, or other chronic struggles, it can be difficult to look toward the new year as a fresh start. This is because those struggles will still be there for these people, and that can bring a lot of dread instead of excitement.
- Increased pressure to celebrate and be happy even when one does not feel up to it. This can create a lot of guilt, shame, or feeling left out.
- The pressure to create and adhere to New Year’s resolutions.
- Some people are ending the year grieving the loss of a loved one. Whether they lost this loved one in the past year or in a different year, the thought of going into another year without them can be hard and depressing.
- Some people may have just had a bad year and are trying to recover, but are struggling to see hope or the new year after the year they’ve had.
There are a wide range of reasons why someone might be struggling with their mental health this time of year. Luckily there are some things that can help!
What Can You Do?
If you know someone who might be struggling, there are simple things you can do that may mean the world to them:
- Check in on loved ones. It can be hard for those with mental health issues to reach out. Often, they are afraid of ruining happy times for others. Taking a few moments to check in on those we love and letting them know that they are thought of can make a huge difference.
- Invite others to your New Year’s celebrations. People might not be up for celebrating, and that’s okay! The best thing is to not push someone to celebrate if they aren’t feeling up for it, but the invitation can mean a lot.
- Offer your time. Some may not be interested in leaving the house, but that does not always mean they want to be left alone completely. Offering your time whether it is sitting with them and keeping them company or FaceTiming them, small gestures like this can mean a lot.
- Take time to Listen. More often than not, those struggling are yearning for someone to listen. Asking “how are you?” or “are you okay?” and taking the time to genuinely listen can go such a long way.
Mental Health Tips
If you’re struggling, you are not alone. Here are some tips that may help!
- Do what is best for you. If you are looking for a sign that it’s okay to lay low and not give into societal pressures, this is it! You don’t have to be up for celebrating or going big for the New Year. It is perfectly okay to take the time to rest and take of yourself. You don’t need to feel guilty about it either!
- Talk to someone or write it out. Talking to someone you trust about what you might be feeling can be immensely helpful to let your feelings out. If you don’t have that person or just don’t really want to talk about it, writing it out for yourself can be another great release.
- Make a list of things you enjoy doing and do them if you can. Instead of pressuring New Year’s resolutions, why not do something a little less stressful? Make a list of things you love to do, and if you can, do them! Whether it is watching a favorite movie, reading, eating your favorite food, etc., you deserve that time for yourself!
- If you are going to write resolutions, start small. Studies show that when we create goals and resolutions that are in reach, we are far more likely to achieve them and have increased motivation than when we set goals that are far out of reach. Start with something you can tackle, but of course, no pressure. If it is too overwhelming, go back to the tip above.
- Go easy on yourself. It can be easy to beat ourselves up for what we’re not doing or feel like we’re not doing enough. The truth is, you can only do what you can do! If you have a day where you needed to rest and were not as productive, remember that resting is just as productive as everything else on your to-do list.
- Seek help. If you’re still struggling, you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to seek help through therapy or other mental health professionals if you need it! You can also reach out to Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Someone is always there to listen.
We wish everyone a very happy, safe, and healthy New Year!