BY ANNAKEARA STINSON
When a new year is approaching, it's natural to want to make some changes. But all too often, the goals you set can be unrealistic, and as a result, they can cause you to be too hard on yourself when things don't pan out the way you thought they would. For instance, last year I made a resolution to stop ordering Seamless, and quite frankly, I don't know if I lasted even a week. This year, I think New Year's resolutions for mental health are where it's at. I'm talking anything that makes life less stressful, and is more oriented to taking care of that precious, beautiful mind of yours.
Real talk: I'm the kind of person who needs to spend a lot of time taking care of my mental health in order to function. That's just who I am, and I'm cool with it. But many of us work so damn hard all the time, y'all, and paying attention to how you're really doing on a mental and emotional level can definitely take a backseat sometimes to things like work, school, family, and friends.
So if, as 2018 comes to an end, you're racking your brain as to how you want to make next year different, allow yourself to think of all the ways you can go a little easier on the external goals. Focus on taking care of you in 2019, my friends. Remember: It helps you care for the people around you, too.
ASK YOURSELF SIMPLE, GUIDING QUESTIONS AT THE START OF THE DAY
Personally, this is the kind of "to-do" list I'd actually stick to.
Life and speaking coach Maryna Shkvorets tells Elite Daily that every morning, she simply asks herself, "What would it take to feel full of life and energy today?"
"The point is not to answer outright," Shkvorets explains. "The point is to keep this question at the top of your subconscious. Throughout the day, you'll notice that you take little actions to help you answer this question without even thinking about it."
And, if you turn the focus here to mental health specifically, your question could be something like, "What can I do to show myself I am resilient?" "Where can I introduce more mindfulness?" "How can I show myself love and compassion today?"
Ask yourself the right questions, and you'd be surprised where they lead your mind and your actions.
CULTIVATE AND STICK TO A MEDITATION PRACTICE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
There is so, so, so much information out there about the benefits of meditationthat I'm sure it must sound like a broken record to suggest it at this point. For a quick recap, though, as per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), some of those benefits can include things like reduced blood pressure, and for some people, the NCCIH says, the practice can help to ease symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even irritable bowel syndrome.
As spiritual teacher and author Biet Simkin tells Elite Daily, even just 15 minutes of meditative sitting, when done consistently, can potentially make a huge difference in your mindset. Try giving it a shot in the new year with some simple meditation practices you can weave into your everyday routine.
PAY ATTENTION TO MORE THAN JUST YOUR PHONE THROUGHOUT THE DAY
As Ferris Bueller wisely said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once and awhile, you might miss it."
Bueller was right, y'all. Donna Cameron, author of the book A Year Of Living Kindly, tells Elite Daily that, when you're oblivious to your surroundings — whether it's because you're too busy scrolling through Twitter, or you're just mentally consumed by things other than the present moment — you can easily overlook little details throughout your day that might just bring you more positivity than you realize.
"We can even overlook opportunities to extend kindness, and also fail to notice the kindnesses of others that surround us every day," Cameron explains. In other words, it's important to be truly present as you go about your day.
Do your best in 2019 to ground yourself in the here and now, even in small ways, like a quick interaction with a stranger who asks for directions, or a friendly chat with the barista who gives you your coffee every morning.
TAKE YOURSELF OUT ON DATES, JUST BECAUSE
"Me time" is definitely important for your mental health, says Dr. Kate Cummins, a licensed clinical psychologist based in California, so in 2019, she recommends resolving to set aside literal dates and times for yourself, at least once a week.
"Take yourself to your favorite art gallery, [or] stop at your favorite coffee shop and journal for five minutes about things you like about yourself," she tells Elite Daily. "Make 2019 the year that you start dating yourself, to really dive into what you like about yourself and to create space to find value in the person that you are."
I know that, at first glance, that might sound a little corny, maybe even difficult to put into practice, but I'm willing to bet you'd surprise yourself with how much you actually like that "me time" once you get into the routine of it.
EMBRACE THE POSITIVES INSTEAD OF DISMISSING THEM
Raise your hand if you are more likely to remember a criticism than a compliment. Yeah, that's what I thought.
Jamie Price, a meditation and wellness expert and co-founder of Stop, Breathe & Think, tells Elite Daily that "it’s so easy to magnify our negative experiences and minimize the positive ones." In fact, human beings are wired to do this, she says. So, in 2019, make it a goal to rewire your appreciation and acknowledgment of the positives. Throughout each day, every time something good happens, take at least 10 seconds to actually soak it in.
"In 2019, make a point of actually expressing appreciation, and say to yourself things like 'that was great,' or 'I really appreciated that.'”
GIVE YOUR PERFECTIONISM A REALITY CHECK
Say it with me: I do not have to be flawless. It is OK to be complicated, messy, and uncertain.
"In a world where you are designed to perform and provide achievements in order to thrive, it is hard to let go of perfectionism," says Dr. Cummins. "However, the achievement of 'perfection' at all times is a task that is incongruent with reality as a person."
In other words, reality isn't "perfect," so why should you be? Plus, Cummins adds, when you're constantly evaluating yourself and all that you do in an effort to achieve "perfection," you automatically put yourself in a position where it's more difficult to identify feelings of fulfillment and positive self-worth.
"Letting go of perfectionism in 2019," she explains, "looks like limiting expectations, freeing yourself of negative self-talk and critique, and increasing your connection to being satisfied with who you are rather than what you can do."