2022 has barely started and already, the new year is ladened with uncertainties. Seemingly bombarded with an influx of stressors, it continues to be a reminder to create a game plan to confront the new year with healthy coping skills, gentle reminders and positive encouragements. Here are some mental health tips to tackle 2022.

1. Make time for self-care

With society’s push for productivity, it’seasyto succumb into the mindset of overscheduling ourselves and fixating on completing our to-do lists. Likewise, it’s easy to forget that self-care is just as important as our work, family and social lives. Commit to carving out some time each day to slow down and focus on recharging. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

2. Pause and breathe

Sometimes we go through the day carrying heavy burdens and stressors without taking any breaks. Forgetting to ease our muscles and breathe, we may wonder why we have headaches, aches and/or wariness. Sit down, close your eyes and unwind. Is your breathing irregular? Do you have racing thoughts? Do you notice tightness anywhere? Did you have water and food? Did you get sufficient sleep? Do frequent check-ins with yourself to do a body scan, practice mindfulness, release tension and reset. Remember, self-care is not selfish.

3. Be intentional

More often than not, we tend to dwell on the past and/or future and get wrapped up in our day-to-day antics. Racing through life in a blur, we forget to be in the moment. When was the last time you found contentment in the simple things? Do you practice gratitude? Are you purposeful and deliberate with your time? Is your life balanced? Are your values and goals aligned? Ask yourself these questions and determine if your current lifestyle and mindset will help you achieve the life you want. Remember, allow yourself to be present with who you are right now.

4. Practice self-compassion

When seemingly stuck in negative thought patterns or habits, it’s easy to inaccurately perceive reality in an unhealthy manner. Harming mental wellbeing, internalized cognitive distortions, such as “I am a failure,” distract us from practicing self-compassion. In reality, you are enough. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself to have feelings and forgive yourself for mistakes. It’s okay to not be okay, and reach out for help. Remember, strive for progress, not perfection.

5. Vocalize mantras

Do you feel unfocused, stressed, tense and/or distracted? Have you considered adopting mantras in your everyday life? Seemingly simple, repeating meaningful words and phrases have the powerful ability to interrupt negative self-talk, inspire change, release stress, improve confidence and more. Some examples of mantras are: “I am worthy,” “I am in love with who I’m becoming,” “I deserve to be loved,” and “All is well, right here, right now.” Remember, be curious and patient with yourself.

6. Embrace change

Change can be daunting, especially when confronting the unknowns. What-if questions sneak in and bombard, making it difficult to see the bigger picture. What if I fail, or don’t like the new change? However, what if we think on the flip side? What if I succeed, or like the new change? In face of hesitation, tame patterns of anxious thoughts by challenging your fears and embracing going outside your comfort zone. Remember, take it one step at a time.

7. Ditch comparisons

In this day and age, we are endlessly exposed to messages from the media about body image, talents, success, et cetera. Overtime, the messages can diminish our confidence, making it harder to live our authentic selves. Comparison is truly the thief of joy. Regardless of what the media says, you are adequate and capable. Focus on your own progress, and strive for what will make you happy. Remember, if you win the comparison, you still lose.

8. Nourish your soul

Explore your interests. Be adventurous. Challenge yourself. Do what makes your inner child happy. Connect to nature. View life as a journey full of adventures rather than a series of obstacles yet to overcome. Remember, do something today that your future self will thank you for.

9. Celebrate your wins

Sometimes we get stuck in the mindset of minimizing or ignoring our accomplishments. Instead of resorting to downplaying your success, celebrate little and big victories, and pat yourself on the back. Remember, don’t be afraid to be great.

10. Be your own cheerleader

It’s easy to fall into the trap of questioning our capabilities, looks, et cetera. However, we can’t bully ourselves into happiness and self-love. Don’t be afraid to be your own best friend, and treat yourself with respect and kindness. Remember, make your body a pleasant place to live in.

Regardless of how you approach 2022, remember to believe in yourself and take it one day at a time. You got this!

Guest Blogger: Jennifer Wendell, MHA Intern

Jennifer Wendell is a recent cum laude graduate of University of Delaware with dual degrees in Human Services- Clinical Concentration and Sociology. She is currently interning with MHA, and hopes to become a helping professional in the mental health field.