And just like that, it’s a brand new year.
It does feel to a certain degree that 2021 went by in a blur, with the continued ‘Covid’ cloud hovering over us, but I’d like to think that 2021 was also a year of fighting back from this pandemic, a year of resiliency, a year of not backing down.
While we begin 2022 with a continued uphill battle, I’d like to reiterate a message I’ve stated before: a new year is not about starting and stopping – it’s about continuous evolution.
I’ve always had the thought that once you put unnecessary pressure on yourself to transform into a new person as soon as January 1 hits, you’ll more than likely derail in a matter of time. It’s not the most genuine approach to new year goals, in my opinion.
A new year should, in theory, symbolize progress and growth. It should be about bettering the 2021 version of yourself and making that your primary focus. There will be blips along the way – a new year isn’t going to change that – but as long as your focus is in the right place, you’ll continue to remain on track.
In 2022, I’d like to highlight a few key things to keep in mind:
Make Your Mental Health A Priority
I can’t stress this one enough. In the past, we’ve seen new year goals primarily surrounding dieting, exercising, etc, and while those are still great goals to have, let’s look at the bigger picture.
I think it’s safe to say that the pandemic has taken its toll on the mental health of pretty much everyone. It’s been truly taxing to be riding this undesirable, two-going-onto-three-year roller coaster ride.
Our mental health is the foundation of who we are. Our state of mind is what drives us to make certain choices, take certain paths, and generally just help us get through each waking day. That being said: anything or anyone that does not uplift you or contribute to making you feel good about yourself you may want to consider distancing yourself from to protect your own feelings and your mental state.
If we don’t prioritize self-care to maintain our inner peace and mental stability, nothing else will sustain itself. It’s like taking the bottom piece out from under a Jenga set. Everything will crumble if your mental state isn’t intact.
This is where the common, familiar goals of exercise and better eating come into play. There are numerous things people can do to nourish their minds, but exercise is always up top on the list. The feeling of those endorphins coursing through your body has a transformative way of letting your mind hit the reset button. It never fails.
Another major component of mental health sustenance is to try and spend less time on your beloved mobile device. I get it – WAY easier said than done. At the risk of sounding hypocritical, I cringe every time I check my Instagram usage duration. *sigh* But honestly, the amount of information we are constantly getting bombarded with via social media and other channels is overwhelming, to say the least, so a conscious disconnection from it on a regular basis can only help.
I don’t want to share a laundry list of things you could do, because everyone’s mental health challenges are very personal and intimate and only you’ll know what truly works for you.
All I’m saying is that it’s perfectly okay to prioritize yourself in 2022. Take an extra ‘me’ day if you feel you need it. Normalize being low-key to feel yourself again. Don’t over-commit to things you may not be able to follow through it. There is nothing worse than putting on a persona of ‘happiness’ when inside you’re completely drowning. As the saying goes, you can’t be happy around others, if you aren’t happy with yourself.
Read, Read, Read
Were you one of those people that joined a pandemic-triggered book club in 2020? If so, keep that train going! A book club has been an amazing way to connect with like-minded people and commiserate over a good book. For once, the topic isn’t related to COVID, the latest variant or case count, or what have you. So refreshing!
Side note: I may be starting a separate section on ‘Good Reads’ on my blog in the coming weeks to share some of the books I’ve read recently. Stay tuned.
Also, I personally prefer physical books over digital books because I just feel like that you are still susceptible to distractions when you’re reading a book on a mobile device. But with a physical book, it’s just you and the book with nothing in between. There is also something more intimate about actually turning the pages of a book that sucks me in more. So keep reading to nourish your mind with a good book and escape from the barrage of negativity constantly being thrown in our faces.
Practice Patience and Judge Tenderly
Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you are not having to fight.Traci Lea LaRussa
I came across this quote recently and it really resondated. In 2022 and beyond, we need to continue to remind ourselves to practice patience and try not to be so quick to pass judgment on others. It’s human nature to perhaps wonder about someone’s moves or intentions if they do or say something that makes you scratch your head. However, if we take a moment to think about what that person might be dealing with that we know nothing about, then it can help us be more empathetic and kind rather than ignorantly pass judgment outright. Not every personal struggle is meant to be shared with the world, but the well wishes and positive vibes from people can do more wonders to those fighting an internal battle than you know.
If you’re meant to connect with certain people in life, they will come to you when they are ready to, naturally, without any coaxing or undue pressure.
So on this first day of January 2022, I wish all of you the happiest, healthiest, and more peaceful year ahead. Surround yourself with love, light, warmth, and positive vibes.
Happy New Year!