It is no longer news that there is no health without mental health. Your physical health is highly dependent on the state of your mental and emotional wellbeing. Therefore, do not take it for granted. If 2020 taught us nothing, you will agree with me that it highlighted the importance of mental health.
As you go about setting resolutions and goals for the year, please do not neglect making intentional decisions on safeguarding your mental wellbeing.
Here are 7 basic things you should normalize into your new year resolution in 2021
1. Normalize talking about your feelings. Do not bottle your feelings in 2021. Past experience should have proven to you that bottling things up is stressful. It tasks your brain and body, making you more susceptible to getting sick or feeling more awful. We have varying forms of emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, irritation, disgust and it’s OK. See them as data, telling you something about yourself. When you express your feelings, it doesn’t have to be for the sake of finding a solution. In fact, expressing it alone might just be the solution you need. In 2021, be intentional about understanding your feelings as well as communicating them appropriately. You can express your feeling by writing, journaling, art, talking to a trusted friend or a therapist.
2. Normalize talking to a therapist. Therapy is meant for everyone who is committed to protecting and optimizing their mental health, and not only for those with mental health disorders. Just as you see your dentist once in 6months for check up, see your mental health doctor or therapist at least once a month. You can see your therapist when you feel overly stressed, find it difficult to sleep or when you need someone to talk to.
3. Normalize Self-care. Just as your car needs fuel or oil refill and periodic servicing to serve you well, your body needs the same too. Consider your body as the car that moves you around to fulfil your responsibilities at home, work or church/mosque. In 2021, Prioritize self-care by devising activities you will adopt to rejuvenate and replenish your physical and mental energy. Pay attention to your spirit, soul and body. Daily spend time to pray, meditate, affirm yourself, practice gratitude, journal (Grab a copy of “My Gratitude Diary“), eat balanced diet, drink enough water, exercise and sleep well. Begin to see rest, and any form of self-care, as your right and not a reward for hard work.
4. Normalize asking for help in 2021. There is a popular saying “a closed mouth is a closed destiny”, another says “he who asks for direction never misses the way”. Open your mouth and call for help when you need it. Jesus’ disciple, Peter, would have been overwhelmed by the storm and probably drowned if he hadn’t called for help. My sister, you are NOT a superhuman. So stop feeling like one. No one knows it all or can do it all. We all need one another to survive. This year try delegating, 0utsourcing, finding support or getting professional help. Do all you can to limit your exposure to stressful situations in 2021.
5. Normalize investing in your mental health. You’ve probably invested in fitness kits, dieting meal plans, insurance plans, physical assets such estates, stocks etc. Please add mental health to the list. Do not wait till you see indications of mental stress before you take actions. Invest time to read about mental wellbeing to educate yourself, invest in courses and webinars that will help you optimize your mental health, invest in monthly therapy sessions, invest in vacations etc. Just as you exercise to keep your body fit, you need certain mental exercises to keep your mind fit too. Talk mental health provides premium mental health resources to help you build mental strength and resilience. Take advantage of our services and products.
6. Normalize taking a break. The popular Nigeria comedienne, Realwarripikin, is known for making this statement in urhobo: “aje kan wen”. It means “you run small, you rest small”. Take time off work to unwind and relax, it doesn’t mean you are lazy! It just shows you value your work a lot and want to consistently give your 100% to it. Invest in recreational activities. Plan for short or long vacation and save towards it. This isn’t luxury but essential for your mental health and emotional well-being.
7. Normalize showing empathy. Emotional intelligence is one of the skills needed for success in the 21st century workplace as well as interpersonal relationships outside the workplace. Empathy is one of the five components of emotional intelligence which enables us to understand the emotions of others in order to resolve conflicts, build more productive teams, and to improve our relationships with our partners, co-workers, clients and customers. In 2021, take time to listen and be kind to others; avoid being judgmental as much as possible. Be considerate in your dealings with people. Be kind to people without expecting anything in return. Be there for others; offering support uplifts your spirit and improves your mood & mental health.