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A New Year, A New Start, New Habits to Build Better Mental Health By Claire Russell

Happy New Year! It’s a little late, I know. For once I took my own advice – I took an extended break and have just returned to work fully this week. I really switched off. And guess what? Everything is fine – I put on my out of office and had a break from social media – and the world didn’t end!

Which brings me to the point. A new year always brings new possibilities, hope, a chance to reflect and consider what you want from life.

Some people set new year’s resolutions as the new year begins- health goals, professional goals, or perhaps relationship goals. I have personally found that resolutions haven’t worked well for me – I think maybe they have felt like a lot of pressure – and like a lot of people, I have often given up on my resolutions within a few weeks.

For those of us with mental health conditions, or that experience symptoms of poor mental health from time to time, the pressure to ‘do better’ or ‘be better’ can be daunting; and failure to achieve your resolutions or goals can cause more pain and stress.

I now have a preference for starting the year with some ‘Intentions’ – and this year, more than ever, those Intentions are really nurturing and self-compassionate – all focussed around creating the time and space that I need for rest, for self-care, for reflection.

Setting some positive intentions can provide impetus for growth and change, can help to cultivate positivity, and most importantly - can improve our overall mental health and well-being.

Have you set any intentions for yourself yet?

Would you like to set some positive mental health intentions?

Here are some ideas for mental health-related intentions that you may wish to set for yourself:

1. I will be mentally healthy and will seek support if I need it

2. I will make self-care a part of my daily / weekly practice

3. I will make some time to reflect and relax

4. I will treat myself with kindness.

5. I will remind myself I am human – and sometimes make mistakes

6. I will be more accepting of myself

7. I will allow myself to feel what I feel – not judging feelings as good or bad

8. I will aim to be mindful and present to the small things

Just picking one or two of these could help you to start building some healthy habits – and building healthy habits can really contribute to good mental health and wellbeing!

Just remember to start small and to celebrate all your small wins. Be kind to yourself -don’t beat yourself up if couldn’t find time to meditate this morning……. Sometimes life gets in the way – and that’s ok.

The small changes we make every day can significantly impact us and positively impact our relationships.

Finding a new year’s Intention that makes you happy will positively boost your mental health and hopefully set you up for a happy, healthy and successful year.

So, what will your Intention be?

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