The New Year is a time for many people to reflect and reset their goals/priorities. These resolutions are something we think about right before the ball drops but maybe not something we hold ourselves to throughout the year.

If you find yourself forgetting about your list of resolutions, try setting short-term goals throughout the year instead. As you think about your goals, I hope you also think about putting your “mental health as a priority this year and the years to come.

The great part about the New Year is that it brings a sense of a fresh start. At times, a new beginning is just what we need to reflect, consider our growth, and develop for the future. So, let us make this year one where you focus on “what is going inside you” rather than “what is happening around you”.

Here are some of my tips to help you refocus on what your heart and mind are saying.

1. Try to understand what you want and what will make you feel good.

At times, this concept can mean saying no to some people and that’s okay. Learn to “say no”. If your friends want to go out and you don’t really feel up to it – “say no”. “Say no” to the experiences that makes you feel uncomfortable…it is okay. I feel like society raises us to “say yes” to everything- that it is a good trait if someone is always willing. But this year, stop. Stop trying to please others and instead please yourself. You’ll know if you really want to do something and you’ll know if you really want something. Do things for yourself and because you want it.

2. Seek help.

Talk to a trusted friend or even a professional. I’ve learned that seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of. We all need to vent out our frustrations and worries, and sometimes we may need a professional to help us as well. We are human; we succeed better through helping each other, leaning on one another, and asking for help. Your mind can’t always take what goes on inside it…and talking it out with someone you trust will always help relieve some of the burden, and maybe even give you the push you need. Seek help so you can strengthen your heart and mind. You are never alone in this world, and there will always be someone willing to listen to your troubles.

3. Remind yourself of what you have.

My good friend told me about this tip while I was a struggling student trying to figure out my future. Sometimes, when we feel like the universe is against us, we forget how blessed and fortunate we really are. When you start feeling overwhelmed and anxious I recommend this tip. Take a step back, breathe, and list the things you have. It can be the smallest thing to you but something other people don’t have the privilege of having. To put it bluntly: perspective is everything.

Here are some examples: • I have friends who love me and want to see me succeed • I have a roof over my head • I have food on the table • I have a family • I have people who depend on me • I am healthy • I have an education • I have a job • I have my community • I am breathing

Looking at it, it may seem a bit silly listing all the things you do have. But I found that whenever my anxiety was kicking in, listing what I have would help ground me. I’d say my list aloud and I’d say it without any hesitation. Make your statements strong and believe in the good that they carry.

Overall, I hope this year treats you well. I hope it is filled with good experiences that will help you grow and people who want to see you succeed. I hope you find a lightness in your life that the previous year didn’t have. Remember to be kind to yourself and think about your well-being.

All the best,

Michele Datu

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Michele Datu
Michele is a content writer for The Wellness Institute (Wellness-Spring). She graduated from UC Berkeley in the Spring of 2018, and holds a bachelor's degree in English. While attending UC Berkeley, Michele created a project titled: "From a letter to" which is a collection of stories and photos to express her love and passion for writing and photography. Michele believes that incorporating holistic habits in one's lifestyle is important. During her first year in college, Michele took a health class about alternative medicine and holistic health. This class opened her mind because it focused on the importance of listening to our body. She learned that even though medication and drugs can minimize pain, physically or mentally, sometimes the problem has a deeper root that needs special attention.