Alright everyone we made it! The year that somehow went by so slow, and so fast, is finally coming to a close. I’m sure many are sighing with relief at the symbolic turning of a calendar from 2020 to 2021, but many are probably still filled with unease at an uncertain future ahead as we continue to adapt to a new normal and pick up the pieces of our lives and world post-2020.
For that reason No Shame On U is partnering with Springboard to provide you with some quick tips to set you up for 2021 on a mentally strong note. No Shame On U is a Jewish mental health non-profit dedicated to eliminating the stigma associated with mental health conditions and raising awareness.. This year has been unlike any we have ever encountered in the mental health community, with depression, anxiety, and loneliness skyrocketing in reaction to the pandemic and societal unrest. If you’re feeling a little rattled coming out of this year, it’s ok.
Here are some tips to start 2021 with mental strength and resiliency*:
Wherever you’re at, it’s ok.
If you’re depressed, it’s ok. If you’re anxious, it’s ok. If you’ve barely done anything this year but survive, it’s ok. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to accept that wherever you are at, it’s ok. Feeling guilty or ashamed for what you are feeling will only perpetuate it more. One of my favorite phrases for when I’m having a bad day is “that’s just where I’m at today.” This takes the pressure off of how I “should be” so I don’t feel guilty and then even more depressed. In a year like this remember however you are feeling heading into the new year is perfectly ok, and “that’s just where you’re at today.”
Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle
You know the drill. Eat healthier, exercise, get more sleep, drink water, etc. There’s a reason experts continuously recommend these things, it’s because they really do make a difference. If it feels overwhelming though and like you’ll never be that perfect healthy person, then make it easier on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect, just make one small change at a time that feels fun! If lifting weights feels boring to you, then turn on some music and have a dance party. If eating healthier feels like you’ll have to give up your favorite foods, then look up recipes for healthier versions of those foods. Whatever you choose to do, just make healthy lifestyle changes one step at a time so your brain doesn’t get overwhelmed by too much change at once.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
I know, everyone is talking about gratitude right now, but again that’s because it really does help! Taking a moment every day to reflect on what you’re grateful for cultivates a mindset that focuses on what you do have, instead of dwelling on what is wrong. The more you cultivate this attitude of gratitude the more you’ll notice the good in life, and the bad will affect you less and less. One of my favorite practices is everytime I catch myself complaining I say three things I’m grateful for about what I was complaining about. Try it out for yourself! You’ll be amazed at how your mood and perspective can shift!
Bonus Video! 5 Proven Ways to Build Mental Toughness and Resilience:
This is a great animated video with additional tips and explanations for how to build mental strength, especially during a year like this one.
There are a million more tips out there for cultivating mental strength and resiliency, but these are the ones that have been most impactful and effective at getting me through 2020. I hope they’re able to help you start 2021 mentally strong. And remember, you don’t have to change everything all at once. For strong, consistent habits and mindset changes that support your mental health, the best thing you can do is take it one small step at time.
Happy New Year!
*This article is not a replacement for therapy or medication. If you are having thoughts of suicide please don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
National Suicide Prevention 24/7 Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
24/7 Crisis Text Hotline: Text “HOME” to 741741
Ellen Geis is the Engagement Coordinator at No Shame On U and a certified Health and Life Coach. Ellen understands first hand what it takes to survive and overcome mental illness and believes strongly in people’s ability to heal themselves and transform their lives. She is passionate about creating interactive community programming that supports peoples’ holistic well-being, and is deeply inspired by the intersection of spirituality and mental health.