The new year is here, yet so many of us are still processing the unrelenting challenges of 2021….and, let’s be honest, 2020 too. The idea of making new year’s resolutions seems daunting when we’ve spent so much time just trying to just put one foot in front of the other. So, forget the grand plans and exhausting commitments and instead, focus on a few small, doable things you can do to in 2022 to be happier and healthier – and still help create a better world.
Stay informed, but not too informed. Ingesting too much news, especially heavily biased news, is mentally draining. Find a couple news sources you enjoy and take a few minutes to read (or listen to) the headlines. One of my favorite ways to get the headlines is with NPR’s podcast Up First. It gives a 10–15-minute summary of the most important stories of the day. Need more ideas for nonpartisan news sources? Check out The Factual blog.
Care for your mental health. Taking care of your mental health doesn’t just mean seeking professional help, although that certainly is a great resource. There are small, daily activities you can incorporate into your routine to take care of your mental health. Here are a few ideas:
- Wake up a few minutes early and stretch.
- Carve out time the night to put together healthy meal options for breakfast and lunch. Good nutrition does wonders for your mental clarity and wellbeing!
- Step away from your computer during the day to stretch and take a short walk.
- Schedule 20-30 minutes each day to do something you enjoy like reading, exercising, blogging, or arts and crafts.
- Surround yourself with friends and family who love and support you. Whether you see or talk to them every day or you try to get together on a regular basis, being around people who make you feel happy always boosts your mood.
How ever you find a few moments of calm and happiness, make sure you’re working time for it into your schedule. Taking a little time to care for yourself each day will have a big impact in the long run.
Looking for more information about mental health and navigating powerful environments? Listen to our podcast episode with Chelsea Williamson, MSW, LCSW.
Find your community. This is similar to surrounding yourself with people who love and support you, but it expands your circle with people who have the same interests and passions. A community will keep you energized and uplifted. The members will also be able to relate to your struggles and triumphs more easily because they have likely experienced the same. A community can be a gym or fitness class. It can be a volunteer organization or social group. Or it can be an online community that shares ideas and engages in conversation.
One of the best parts of being involved with the Teen Think Tank Project is being a part of a community that values intellectual conversation, problem solving, and challenging ourselves to learn and grow. We do these things in different ways, but the people who join our community share a passion for these values and activities. Whatever your passion is, there is a community out there waiting for you. Go and find it!
Practice gratitude. When you’re dealing with overwhelming stress and facing unceasing challenges it’s hard to find a silver lining. But, one of the best ways to overcome obstacles is to stay positive and you can do that by being grateful for what you do have. It’s not always easy but there is always something, even if it’s tiny, to appreciate. Be grateful that you have a roof over your head every night, because not everyone does. Even if you feel sick and miserable, be grateful that you can still get out of bed in the morning and do small tasks, because so many people have lost that ability. If you’re reading this blog online, be grateful that you have access to electronics and Wi-Fi because that is a luxury so many will never afford. Every day, find something or some ability you’re blessed to have and be grateful.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!
Kelly Nagle is a two-time international best-selling author, consultant, entrepreneur, and political scientist. She’s passionate about creating a better world by empowering others to learn the skills that will make them better leaders and global citizens. Kelly is the co-founder of the Teen Think Tank Project and host of Here’s the Problem podcast.