Happy New Year, everyone!
It’s that time of year when I post a ton of recaps (of the previous year) and lists of goals (for the brand-new year). While it’s too hard for me to choose my favorite from among all those posts, I will say that I always enjoy writing up my New Year’s resolutions because it makes for a relatively brief post! Also, posting them here means you guys can hold me accountable!
Also, I’m ready for a fresh start – more so than ever before. I know that New Year’s resolutions are largely symbolic and that some of the whole “new year, new me” stuff is just wishful thinking, but I still think it’s worth trying. I don’t quite see eye to eye with those who are super jaded about it all. I welcome the opportunity to try again for a better year in 2017!
As usual, I have three New Year’s resolutions. I try not to make too many, because focusing on just a few means I’m more likely to actually accomplish them. And three seems to be the magic number! It has worked well for me in previous years.
1. Set aside time to hang out friends
Last semester, I was so careful to build in time for activities that are beneficial to my mental health. From getting enough sleep and eating three solid meals per day to exercising and going to weekly therapy appointments, I had my days all planned out. Often, however, sticking to that schedule left me feeling burned out in spite of all the good things I’d tried to do for myself.
At first I couldn’t figure out why, but then I came to the conclusion that I don’t spend enough time having fun with my friends. I did that TOO MUCH my freshman year of college, generally in an attempt to feel less depressed by distracting myself with other people. Last semester, I did too little of that. I want to strike a healthy balance between the two this year!
Sure, I see my friends all the time… but usually because we’re studying or in class together. In 2017, I want to block out some time to truly relax with my friends – each and every week. And I want to stop feeling guilty about doing so.
Whether we watch a movie or eat dinner together in the dining hall, spending a few unhurried hours laughing and talking with my friends is good for me. I need some time to “do nothing.” And TBH, even though it may seem to others that I am not getting anything done, I actually am accomplishing something: I’m taking care of my mental health by trying to de-stress. I really shouldn’t have to even justify it like that, because life isn’t just about striving for eternal productivity – but if I have to defend my choice in that way, then I will.
2. Take my Her Campus responsibilities more seriously
I love love LOVE writing for Her Campus at Iowa! I joined the University of Iowa chapter in the spring of 2016 and resumed writing articles for them this past fall after taking a (depression-induced and unintentional) break over the summer. I majorly slacked off last semester, though. I turned in articles perilously close to the deadline or sometimes even later. I know I didn’t do my best writing.
This year, I want to set aside a few hours every week or two in order to work on Her Campus articles, photos, interviews for student profiles, et cetera. I’m not yet sure how much time I’ll need, but I would imagine that the right amount lies somewhere between one and three hours either weekly or biweekly. We’ll just have to see. I really want to get my act together because I love writing for Her Campus and feel terrible when I let these girls down. Plus, I’d like to be one of the club officers someday and I can’t get there unless I work hard now!
3. Be kinder and gentler with myself and with my mental health
This is somewhat related to item #1 above but I decided to keep it separate because that one is more about what I can do to feel better with other people, whereas this resolution focuses on what I can do to feel better all on my own.
I think this resolution will have many tiny parts. Some of the things I’d like to try in 2017 include:
- Keeping a gratitude journal
- Attempting to redirect my OCD thoughts and habits through positive distractions, such as temporarily abandoning the activity that’s giving me trouble and returning to it ten or fifteen minutes later, hopefully now with a fresh mind
- Reminding myself that I don’t always have to feel whatever negative emotion I’m experiencing at the moment, instead of trying to flat-out deny that I feel that way (for example, telling myself that I shouldn’t hate myself because there are actually many things to like about myself, rather than lying to myself by pretending that I never hate who I am)
- Coming up with at least one more reason to live every time I think about killing myself (and writing all these reasons down somewhere?)
- Being much more proactive about self-care instead of saving it only for extremely low periods (or denying it to myself even then… oops), which includes reading, listening to music that makes me feel happy, going for a walk, making tea, talking to friends, asking for a hug, crying when I need to, petting soft cute animals, watching videos that make me laugh, writing about how I feel, and more
I hope it works. I know it won’t be instantaneous, but I will try my hardest to treat myself better in 2017. I’m extremely harsh to myself most days, which doesn’t do me any favors and only makes my bad days even worse. Here’s to practicing self-care and being more patient with myself this year!
Did you make any resolutions or set goals for yourself in 2017? Tell me all about them!
P.S. Since 2014, the titles of my New Year’s resolution posts have been taken from the lyrics of U2’s song “New Year’s Day.” At some point I will run out of suitable lines to use as titles, but for now this tradition remains. Hence the title of this post.