10 mental health resolutions we should be setting ourselves for 2021
January is always the perfect time to get started on making a few changes here and there. And NO, we’re definitely not talking about the usual crappy New Year’s resolutions, like scoffing green juice, getting sweaty every day and finding your long lost soulmate. Ugh, no thank u.
If you ask us, you’re doing pretty great exactly as you are – but if there’s anything that’s actually worth committing to, it’s improving your mental health. There’s really nothing more important than a strong and positive frame of mind, as it can make a huge difference to everything else that’s going on around you.
The best part is that there’s not really such thing as failure with this lot so you won’t be left feeling like you’ve messed up if it doesn’t go to plan. As long as you’re taking teeny, tiny steps and dedicating some time to yourself in the best kind of way, then that’s okay with us.
Today we’re talking about 10 mini mental health resolutions that are a) super simple to stick to, and b) dedicated to looking after yourself. January is all about YOU, so give these a try and you’re already on the right track.
1. Get a proper sleeping pattern
Everything (and we mean everything) seems ten million times more of a hopeless disaster when you’re tired, running on empty or awake in the middle of the night. Of course, the ideal eight hours a night would be the absolute dream, but for a lot of people that is just never gonna happen.
If you’re an official night owl then be realistic and just set yourself a tiny goal of going to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual - and we mean to sleep, not to scroll. Build up your sleeping pattern slowly but surely and you’ll notice a huge difference in your strength and your mental health.
2. Try meditating
Warning, you will probably feel a bit awks when trying meditation for the first time, but sitting quietly, focusing on your breathing and calming your mind down for just a few minutes a day can seriously work wonders when it comes to coping with stress, anxiety and other worries.
It’s SUCH an easy but great habit to get into, so check out helpful meditation apps like Headspace which will talk you through the whole thing and help it to become a realistic part of your daily routine.
3. Say no when things get too much
Lending a helping hand to everyone that needs it can be completely draining. If you’re forever agreeing to extra curricular stuff at school, supporting friends struggling with different things, volunteering at the weekends and then spending all of your free time with other people, it’s time to take a step back and put yourself first for once. Saying no to something or someone is perfectly fine, it definitely doesn’t make you a bad person, and people who really care will totally understand why you need to do it.
4. Leave toxic friendships behind
Think about your friendships. It’ll be blatantly obvious which ones make your heart happy, but if you’re honest about them all, then there may be one or two that don’t leave you feeling quite so good after you’ve spent time together. When a relationship with anyone becomes toxic and brings you down, it’s okay to bring it to an end. It doesn’t need to be a dramatic thing, you can simply drift away if you don’t like confrontation. Life’s too short to give your time and energy to people that don’t appreciate it. Notice the people who are happy for your happiness, and notice those who don’t clap when you win. You’ll soon see who’s worth sticking around for.
5. Take a step back from social media
It obvs goes without saying that Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and all of that lot are great - but it’s got to be in small doses. They can also be seriously damaging to your mental health when it comes to things like anonymous comments and probably most importantly, comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy, and sometimes it can be tricky not to hold your life up against the people that you follow. Try and remember that social media only shows someone’s highlight reel rather than any behind the scenes stuff - nothing is as perfect as it looks on Instagram. Limit the time you spend on social media and swap it for hanging out IRL instead.
6. Learn something new and try something different
Certain years at school can be super stressful, and juggling tons of homework or coursework along with everything else that’s going on might seem impossible at times. If it feels as though you’ve slipped into the mindset of always NEEDING to be working, it’s time to divide up your time in a better, healthier way. Put one evening a week aside to do something that involves ZERO work. Try something different, teach yourself a new skill that you love and enjoy. As long as it’s something that makes you heel happy, relaxed and content, then it’s good for you. You should definitely find a new hobby for 2021 and make it your thing.
7. Find the good in every day
It can be all too easy to get from Monday to Sunday and feel completely overwhelmed by the stressful, negative stuff that’s going on, which leads to a frame of mind that’s like a dark cloud hanging over you. Start a journal of one good thing that happens each day, whether it’s ‘I stroked a cute dog on the train’ or ‘I aced the project I’ve been working on’. It’ll help to shift your space into something more positive, and it’s awesome to look back on at the end of the year.
You might also find that it’s handy to make a note each day of how your mood has been. Go into detail or just keep it brief with a smiley/okay/sad face. You might be able to spot patterns between good days and bad days each month which link to your period, or it could show that you need to have a chat with someone about your mental health.
8. Open up to people
Speaking of chatting to someone about things, there’s nothing more helpful than being honest about your feelings with someone you trust. If it’s feeling like a battle inside your head right now, your faves, your mum or your teacher need to know about it so that they can help you onto the right path.
Sometimes even just saying everything out loud can feel like a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, so make a resolution for 2021 to never bottle anything up and to trust your friends with your feelings. If you need a little bit of help with feeling sunny and bright again, do not be ashamed - reach out for it.
9. Be kinder to yourself
A great way of thinking about the way you talk to yourself is imagining that you’re saying the exact same words to your best friend. Would you tell her that she’s not good enough, not working hard enough, not pretty enough or not toned enough? Um, NO - you’d probably punch anyone who said that to your BFF, so it’s definitely not okay to say it to your reflection in the mirror. Be a little kinder to yourself, don’t be so harsh, surround yourself with positive affirmations (literally, write your favourite positive quotes on sticky notes and cover your room in them) and remind yourself that you’re doing okay. In fact, you’re doing pretty brilliantly.
10. Do more of what makes you happy
And most importantly, make 2021 the year that you do more of what makes you happy. Take a step back and simply look at how you’re spending your time. If something doesn’t make you feel good, think about an alternative that you’d love to be doing instead (unforch, school doesn’t count). You deserve all the happiness in the world and to feel warm and fuzzy inside, so make it the number one priority starting right now.