A Brand New Year

28th January 2019

Here SAMH volunteer Jess writes about why she's looking at the New Year at as a chance to continue good wellbeing and doing the stuff she enjoys.

‘It’s a Brand-New Year... start the resolutions now!’

Resolutions, comparisons and pressure?

Em... no thanks.

Due to my experience of being unwell with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), I now know that mental health and wellbeing is a priority, no matter what time of the year it is.

For me, a New Year is not about having unrealistic expectations of yourself and putting yourself under intense pressure to meet certain goals by the end of January. No, a New Year can actually be looked at as a chance to continue good wellbeing and doing the stuff you enjoy, that creates new happiness.

I believe that there is limited exposure in the media about mental wellbeing at the beginning of a New Year - instead the emphasis is on physical health. And of course this is vital, but there could be an improved focus with the inclusion of mental health alongside physical health. The start of  a New Year is actually a difficult time too, for so many, with the dark nights and post-Christmas effect - often being overlooked on how it impacts our minds, as well as our bodies.

Furthermore, I have found that a break from social media can support yourself in this period. Comparing yourself to unrealistic and damaging appearances on screens and in the media is tiring. The thing is, although it may be a Brand-New Year, you are not a brand - or an image - that needs updating, you are so much more than that.

With that said, self- acceptance is a difficult task, for myself included, and I know I’m not alone in this. So that’s why I think self-acceptance and esteem is a much more helpful viewpoint to take in promoting a positive dialogue with New Year resolutions and this idea of ‘a fresh start.’

Continue doing the things that are helpful to you and others, and stay true to yourself, because while change is good, sometimes it is useful to remind yourself that some things never change... like the significance of looking after our mental health and wellbeing.