Mental Health Resolutions for the New Year

Low Angle Shot of Person watching a Firework Display

New Year’s Day can often spark reflection on the current state, and trajectory of a person's life. Naturally, this makes people more inclined to celebrate their accomplishments and make resolutions after reflecting on what they could improve or resolve in the new year. 

 

The History of New Year’s Day and Setting Resolutions¹

New Year’s resolutions are not a new practice. Many cultures have celebrated or acknowledged the turning of a year for centuries, including setting resolutions for the upcoming year. 

 

Celebrations within a culture were first recorded by the ancient Babylonians, estimated to have been over 4,000 years ago¹. The celebration of the new year and setting resolutions were a part of these records. Ancient Babylonians celebrated the new year when the first crops of spring were planted in mid-March.

 

As most iterations of new year’s celebrations had religious aspects, the western, modern-day concept of New Year’s Day also has religious origins. The celebration of New Year’s on January 1 came about in Rome in 46 B.C¹. when Julius Caesar reworked the yearly calendar. January was significant for Romans because it was named after one of their gods, Janus. The Roman god, Janus, represented as a two-faced god, symbolizes arches and doorways, as well as reflecting on the past year and looking toward the future. 

 

New Year’s Day celebrations persisted during the spread of Christianity replacing previous religious practices with those of Christianity. In 1740, the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, created the Covenant Renewal Service held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, where people prayed and made resolutions for the new year. The service also included singing hymns and reading scriptures and is still popular among Protestant churches today¹.

 

Modern-Day New Year’s Celebrations and Resolutions

Now associated as a secular event, New Year's is known for many people as a time to set personal goals for self-improvement rather than association with religion¹. Common New Year’s resolutions people set today can range from fitness or career goals to planning for a big trip or financial, nutritional, and mental health goals. Whether your resolutions are big or small goals for self-improvement, it can be helpful to set them so you can feel as though you are making progress.

 

Although, declaring a commitment toward many big goals can be overwhelming. This can create too much pressure and often leads to failed New Year’s resolutions, a sense of failure, and anxiety. While around 45 percent of people in the United States set resolutions for the new year, only eight percent of Americans follow through with their resolutions¹. Keeping this in mind, setting realistic goals for your New Year’s resolutions will increase your likelihood of achieving them. Starting with smaller, more manageable goals is always more doable.

 

Mental Health Resolutions for 2023

One of the best resolutions a person can work toward in the new year is improved mental health. According to Mental Health America, around 19.86 percent of people in the U.S. experience a form of mental illness, which equates to about 50 million Americans². That is a lot of people!

 

You can only get so far with your resolutions if you work exclusively on your external goals while not addressing some underlying factors. Our internal well-being can affect how we approach our external goals, therefore impacting the success of our ventures. 

 

Every person has unique challenges when it comes to mental health and knowing where to start with your mental health resolutions can sometimes be difficult to navigate on your own. Here are 10 ideas to set realistic New Year’s resolutions to help make positive changes for your mental health in the new year! 

 

Self-Care for Mental Health

Self-care practices are not a fad or something you should dismiss. Self-care practices can include spending time outdoors, scheduling time to participate in activities you enjoy, and spending quality time with your loved ones. Practicing self-care can also look like eating your favorite meals or having a morning or night routine that is motivating or relaxing. 

 

Every person’s idea of self-care will look different, so take the time to explore what works best for you. It is important to remember not to neglect your well-being, as this can worsen your mental state.

 

The Importance of Sleep for Mental Health

Sleep plays a huge role in how we feel every day and impacts our long-term well-being. Studies have shown a direct connection between sleep deprivation and the worsening of mental health, with approximately 65 to 90 percent of people with depression having sleep problems. Taking extra steps to ensure you get adequate sleep every night or seeking professional help if you have sleep problems will improve your overall well-being and mental state.

 

Physical Activity for Depression and Anxiety 

If exercise is not already a part of your daily or weekly routine, introducing some more movement could be helpful. Whether this is an exercise regimen or a short walk outdoors, getting physically active is known to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve sleep, and provide healthy and effective coping strategies for stress³.

 

Alcohol Consumption and Mental Illness

Consuming alcohol or other substances can trigger a person’s symptoms of mental illness and cause negative emotions when there is heavy consumption. Substance misuse and mental illness are strongly linked, with around 37 percent of people who overindulge in alcohol also having an underlying mental illness³. Alcohol is often used to self-medicate symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety, so it is worth considering lessening your consumption to improve your well-being and seeking appropriate care. Ketamine infusions can assist with alcohol cravings⁴.

 

Mindful Mental Health Practices 

Meditation is a great way to integrate mindfulness into your daily routine. Practicing meditation can help ground you in the present and help manage stress and negative emotions. Even if meditation is not for you, incorporating breathing exercises whenever you feel overwhelmed is a great way to lessen your symptoms.

 

The way we speak to and about ourselves can have a substantial impact on how we feel. Absorbing every negative thought and accepting it as a permanent fact can be harmful. When you experience a negative feeling about yourself, you can acknowledge it but reframe how you receive it.

 

Instead of letting labels define you, with thoughts like “I have depression and anxiety,” you could try rewording it as “I have depression and anxiety, so today I will do something to manage that.” Practicing journaling or affirmations can be helpful in your journey to being more kind to yourself.

 

Setting Boundaries for Your Mental Health

People-pleasing tendencies are common among people who experience mental illnesses. Setting boundaries with others and ensuring they, and you remain honored will help alleviate stressors and improve your relationships.

 

Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

Therapy is a great option to manage your mental health, whether you struggle with mental illnesses or not. Speaking with a trained professional can help alleviate your symptoms and offer you a healthy coping mechanism for any stressors. 

 

There are therapists trained in different specializations like childhood trauma, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, general depression, and anxiety. Regardless of your experiences, there are trained professionals that can help guide you in improving your mental health.

 

Ketamine Treatments for Treatment-Resistant Depression 

Ketamine infusions are also a great option to improve your mental health in the new year. Ketamine treatments can help lessen the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder as I have alluded to above. 

 

Avesta Ketamine and Wellness

Pinning down what to work on in the new year can be difficult, especially concerning your mental health. Don’t feel pressured to tackle all your life goals in a single year; pick a couple that feels attainable and realistic for your life experiences. Remember, working toward a positive mental state is a journey, not a race.

 

At Avesta Ketamine and Wellness, we value your mental health and are committed to improving your well-being. If ketamine treatments sound like the right path for your mental health goals this upcoming year, please schedule a consultation.



Footnotes:

¹ Pruitt, S. (2015, December 30). The history of New Year's resolutions. History.com. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.history.com/news/the-history-of-new-years-resolutions

 

² Mental Health America, Inc. (n.d.). Adult data 2022. Mental Health America. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from 

https://mhanational.org/issues/2022/mental-health-america-adult-data#:~:text=Adult%20Prevalence%20of%20Mental%20Illness%20(AMI)%202022&text=19.86%25%20of%20adults%20are%20experiencing,Jersey%20to%2026.86%25%20in%20Utah

 

³ Ellis, M. E. (2019, December 27). 10 mental health resolutions that may help your clients in the New Year. Constellation Behavioral Health. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.constellationbehavioralhealth.com/blog/10-mental-health-resolutions-that-may-help-your-clients-in-the-new-year/

 

⁴ Garel, N., McAnulty, C., Greenway, K. T., Lesperance, P., Miron, J.-P., Rej, S., Richard-Devantoy, S., & Jutras-Aswad, D. (2022, October 11). Efficacy of ketamine intervention to decrease alcohol use, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms in adults with problematic alcohol use or alcohol use disorder: A systematic review and comprehensive analysis of mechanism of actions. Science Direct. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037687162200343X



Other Sources:

National Council for Mental Wellbeing. (2020, January 13). Realistic new year's resolutions for your mental health. Mental Health First Aid. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2020/01/realistic-new-years-resolutions-for-your-mental-health/

 

The President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2021, August 17). Sleep and mental health. Harvard Health. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health

 

9 mental health resolutions for the New Year. CPH & Associates. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.cphins.com/9-mental-health-resolutions-for-the-new-year/

 

Photo by Naveen Kumar: https://www.pexels.com/photo/low-angle-shot-of-person-watching-a-firework-display-12308353/

Author
Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, FAAN Dr. Eshkevari is the lead clinician at Avesta, and is a long time researcher and educator in physiology, biophysics, and anesthesiology. She is passionate about assisting patients with retractable, difficult to treat mood disorders, and relies on the latest research to bring evidence to Avesta's practice to better understand and serve patients.

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