Embracing mental health every day: A fresh start beyond New Year’s resolutions

Kristen Thompson, Assistant Division Director at St. Clair County Community Mental Health.As we enter a new year, the buzz of resolutions fills the air – promises to exercise more, eat better, or embark on new adventures. While these intentions often arise with good intentions, they can sometimes add unnecessary pressure and stress. Instead of fixating on grand resolutions, consider approaching each day as an opportunity for a fresh start, particularly when it comes to our mental health.

“In a world that often glorifies productivity and achievement, the significance of mental well-being can inadvertently take a backseat,” comments Deb Johnson, CEO of St. Clair County Community Mental Health (SCCCMH). “This year, CMH is suggesting pivoting your focus. Rather than setting rigid resolutions, embrace the idea of daily renewal – a commitment to nurturing our mental health one day at a time.”

The myth of New Year’s resolutions

“New Year’s resolutions often carry the weight of expectations, leading to feelings of disappointment or guilt if they’re not achieved,” states Kristen Thompson, Assistant Division Director at SCCCMH. “The pressure to make drastic changes overnight can be overwhelming and, in some cases, detrimental to our mental well-being. Instead, consider the concept of micro-commitments – small, manageable steps taken daily toward mental wellness.”

Embracing each day as a fresh start
Kathleen Gallagher, Program Director at St. Clair County Community Mental Health.
Every sunrise offers a chance for renewal. Each day presents an opportunity to prioritize mental health in simple yet impactful ways. Start by practicing mindfulness – being present in the moment without judgment. This can involve deep breathing exercises, meditation, or simply taking a few minutes to appreciate the world around you.

“Engage in activities that bring you joy and comfort, whether reading a book, painting, taking a nature walk, or connecting with loved ones,” suggests Kathleen Gallagher, Program Director at SCCCMH. “These moments of pleasure and connection can significantly uplift your mood and well-being.”

Building healthy habits, one day at a time

Rather than setting monumental goals, focus on cultivating healthy habits. Incorporate activities that promote mental wellness into your daily routine. Regular physical exercise, adequate sleep, nourishing meals, and staying hydrated contribute to a healthier mind.

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, dedicated time for self-care, and practicing gratitude are invaluable habits that contribute to a positive mindset. Journaling thoughts and feelings can also serve as a therapeutic outlet, allowing you to reflect on your emotions and experiences.

Jason Marocco, Assistant Division Director at St. Clair County Community Mental Health.Seeking support and connection

“Acknowledging when you need support is vital to maintaining mental health,” comments Jason Marocco, Assistant Division Director at SCCCMH. “Whether through professional therapy, support groups, or confiding in trusted friends and family, seeking help is a courageous step toward healing.”

Connection with others is a fundamental human need. Cultivating meaningful relationships and fostering a support network can provide a sense of belonging and emotional sustenance, contributing significantly to mental well-being.

Embracing resilience and acceptance

Life is filled with ups and downs. Embracing resilience involves acknowledging setbacks as growth opportunities rather than as failures. Practicing self-compassion and acceptance allows for a gentler approach to oneself during challenging times.

Remember, the road to good mental health is a continuous journey. Embrace the fluctuations and complexities of emotions, allowing yourself the grace to navigate through them with kindness and understanding.

Debra Johnson, CEO of St. Clair County Community Mental Health and President of the Dementia and Alzheimer’s Association of St. Clair County.A daily commitment to mental well-being in 2024

As we embark on this new year, let’s shift our focus from resolutions to a daily commitment to mental wellness.

“Each day is an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to prioritize self-care, kindness, and compassion toward ourselves and others,” states Johnson.

In embracing mental health every day, we pave the way for a brighter, more resilient future – one where our well-being takes center stage, guiding us through the ebb and flow of life’s complexities.

Here’s to a year of self-discovery, growth, and a renewed commitment to mental health – one day at a time.
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