Setting Mental Health Resolutions for 2024
For centuries mental health has been a taboo subject. In recent years that stigma has gradually been lifted. While references to therapy used to be whispered among close confidants only, now you can find influencers and celebrities discussing their therapy and broader mental health journeys on the most public of platforms.
This normalization has been a blessing for many, particularly given the times in which we live.
Studies by the World Health Organization in 2022 found that, in the first year of the pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression spiked by 25%. While pandemic-related fears have ebbed since that first year, the fallout of pandemic policies, as well as more recent national and global events, provide much weight for the mind. And that’s all on top of the stressors of everyday life—a pile of work stress, money stress, your garden variety social anxiety, social media pressure, or triggered childhood trauma. It’s a wonder any of us are functioning at all.
Those most vocal in the reclamation of our mental health overwhelmingly belong to Gen Z and that may be out of necessity.
Studies show members of Gen Z are much more likely to report negative feelings of stress, anxiety, and loneliness than previous generations at the same age. Part of these findings may be due to the normalization of discussing mental health, such that members of Gen Z are better able to recognize and articulate their mental health struggles than even Millennials or Gen Xers were at their age. One can’t help but wonder if the fact that Gen Z is the first to grow up with today’s version of the internet, social media, and the first clear effects of climate change could be contributing to different mental health challenges than what previous generations have dealt with.
With all this in mind, we are seeing more people, across generations, making their mental health a priority in various aspects of their lives—from the workplace to family relationships. Some have found cutting out alcohol to have positive effects on their mental health. Others have been working to draw firm boundaries at work or with family. Still, others have simply started by seeing a therapist to help talk through troubles or gain tools to reframe their cognitive patterns. A great place to start, should you be at a loss, might be by setting manageable mental health-related resolutions for the New Year. Below we’ve had members of our staff (and New York Times best-selling author Jedidiah Jenkins) provide some tips they’ll be taking with them into the New Year:
For the new year I’ll be sticking to an old tip: healthy body, healthy mind. Everyday I usually write down 10 to-do list on my work agenda. This year, I’ll be replacing 3 of these tasks with: Medidate, hydrate, and take a brisk walk outside or in nature. While remembering to take short breaks and to breathe.
To improve my mental health in the new year I’m focusing on slowing down and being present. A part of this will be spending much less time on social media. Death to the doom scroll!
Jedidiah Jenkins (New York Times best-selling author):
“My one true resolution is I plan to write a poem every day…I want to frame my mind toward poetry, to put my days in verse…I think it’ll romanticize my own life in a lovely way.”
As a serial over-committer, I plan to take more time for myself in the new year. 2024 will be the era of extra reading time, early nights in bed, and taking myself out on solo dates!
I have found that as you get older you have to commit a lot more time to keeping fit mentally and physically. I am a busy person who thrives on business and accomplishments, however I have found that I can’t quite fit everything in anymore. Balance is key and that is what I will strive for.
To improve my mental health this year I plan to commit to a mindfulness practice, like meditation or even just being present in the moment; prioritize taking time for myself, including getting regular exercise; and distance myself from negative stress, physically when possible and mentally when not!
Should you choose to make improving your mental health a priority in your New Year’s resolutions, remember that, like anything, it is a process and not always a linear path. You’ll have easier days and harder days, but the idea is to have tools to get you through the hard times and to gain clarity with which to view your life. What may work for your friend may not work for you when it comes to methods to improve mental health. So, put in the work to find out what works best for you. The benefits—greater productivity, improved relationships, greater resiliency, and greater overall satisfaction with this thing we call life—are well worth the effort.