• 5 Attainable Mental Health Goals for the New Year 

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    5 Attainable Mental Health Goals for the New Year 

    The start of a new year is when many of us reflect on the past and what changes we want to make moving forward. It is a great time to set goals and reestablish priorities, especially for your mental health. 

    Mental health is about so much more than how “happy” we feel, it is critical to our physical well-being and interpersonal and professional relationships. It is the trunk of the tree allowing everything else to grow. If we are not mentally healthy, everything else in our lives is impacted. 

    All too often, when we set new year’s resolutions, they quickly fall by the wayside. Resolutions can often feel burdensome, even though they were made with the best intentions. At CW Psychological Services in Pennsylvania, we work with clients on setting realistic, attainable goals that support mental well-being. Our clinicians have developed this list of five mental health goals for the new year, perhaps it will help guide you as you set goals:

    1.) Prioritize Self-Care — Self-care is doing the things that make you feel good. It is doing what you enjoy, taking care of yourself, and saying “no” more often. Determine what you can do to better care for yourself in the coming year. Some examples might be spending more time outdoors, saying “yes” to more dinner dates with a friend or loved one, making time for hobbies you enjoy, exercising, or staying in more often to catch up on a favorite show or movie. It can also mean eating healthier, cutting back on unhealthy substances like alcohol or sugar, and getting more sleep.

    2.) Practice Gratitude Research shows that focusing on things we are grateful for can have a huge impact on mental well-being. By focusing on good things, we cause a shift in our thinking to the positive rather than the negative. It helps us to turn off negative self-talk and give less weight to common stressors. One way you can do this is to create a gratitude journal to write one or two things each day, or start a “good things” jar and encourage the whole family to write down good things that happen so you can read them later. We can be grateful for anything. It doesn’t have to be something big and monumental. It can be simple like you got an extra 20 minutes of sleep today.

    3.) Learn Healthy Ways to Manage Stress — We all get stressed. We all have days, weeks, and months where our stress is at peak levels and we feel utterly exhausted, overwhelmed, and close to breaking. It’s important that during these peak stress times, we figure out healthy ways to manage those stressors. We are not talking about downing a glass of wine to numb your feelings or drowning your sorrows in a pint of ice cream or an online shopping binge, but rather finding a healthy way to work through stressful feelings. Healthy stress management can include taking a walk, exercising, playing with a pet, calling trusted support, or journaling. 

    4.) Embrace Your Support Network — Research shows that people with support systems are generally healthier than those without much support. People need connection. We thrive with each other. Whenever you can, choose to spend time with those that make you happy, the ones that give you a sense of purpose and make you feel part of a community. Cut off the people in your life that are toxic to your health and happiness. Life is too short to share your time with people who bring you down. If you live away from the people you care about, get creative with phone calls and/or virtual meet-ups.

    5.) Ask for Help — As much as we would like to believe that “we can do it all” on our own, that is not always the case. We all need help, whether that be help with our kids, homes, careers, or mental health. We can all use some assistance and extra guidance every once in a while. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

    We Are Here

    Rather than hoping your struggles work out, consider getting help from a licensed mental health professional. Counselors and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services are available to help guide you to better mental health for the new year. We are available to help with goal-setting, stress relief, and anxiety management, among other things. Make 2023 the year for you!

    Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania? 

    Counselors and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services are professionally trained. We have openings for online or telehealth therapy appointments. Email us at [email protected] or call (610) 308-7575. We are here for you.