Mental Health Tips For 2023

We are now in 2023 and whilst the fun and frivolity of the New Year fades, we start to make resolutions for the year ahead. This can be a dangerous thing if we don’t set our expectations to reasonable limits. The anxiety, stress, panic we had to deal with the year before don’t just suddenly fade away. Fractured relationships don’t just mend, fear of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing, don’t just disappear, where we are left with a sense of serenity and calm. We are still the same people, and a few weeks will not have changed that.

During the Christmas period we are fed images of happy families, presents for all, the clinking of glasses as we cheer and be merry. There’s food a plenty the TV would have us believe. But if we choose to ride this wave, then the come down can be very hard, and of course we are cocooned in the blackened shroud of post covid and economic doom.

So how do we go forward? How do we deal with the long expanse of the new year? Firstly, it is important to be honest with yourself. Can you live up to the resolutions you have set yourself? What stopped you having healthy relationships and moving forward before?  Below are a 5  tips for the new year.

Avoidance

Avoidance won’t solve anything (Unless you spot a tiger in the distance) What we resist will persist if we don’t deal with it. Build resilience to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Have conversations that through fear you haven’t had before. It’s time to show courage. A short period of pain and anguish is better than a lifetime of it and always feeling it.

TIP

Don’t aim for the goal of “Too Late” Or “I don’t want to go there” aim for “That was hard and took a lot of courage, but I made a start”

Tackle anxiety.

Everyone has anxiety or feels anxious. Deal with it as best you can. Anxiety is always there, it’s just a question of how we deal with it.  Anxiety is the risk manager controlling our thoughts and feelings and the more we avoid it, the more it controls us. Anxiety is linked to our fear of a threat even sometimes when we are in a safe environment. So, the risk manager can be wrong and needs correcting. (Example we run from a piece of rope next to a tree, because we think it’s a snake) The risk manager is the smoke detector, but there’s not always a fire. Sometimes we are just cooking. Fight, flight, and freeze are stress responses, and the risk managers tools to protect you. It’s good to recognise a threat when there is one, but it also helps our mental health to recognise when we are safe, and this is the trick.

TIP

Is there a threat and why it is making you panic? What is the worst that can happen? Looks at the evidence of the threat. Are you catastrophising? is there a threat or do you only think there is? 

People who Judge.

It’s a myth that people judge you when you walk in a room. Invariably people are too busy thinking about themselves. Don’t start social engagements with a fear of performance, measuring up and comparing yourself to others. How people accept you is how you should accept them, as unique nuanced, but share common characteristics. If you can trust yourself to be who you are, others will see that and respond to you in a positive way. Remember people don’t think that’s why they judge.

TIP

Be your authentic self. If people don’t like the real and sincere you, then what does that say about them? People see through social camouflage, so don’t use it. You don’t have to be someone else or impress anyone. Respect comes from honesty and sincerity and an interest in people.

Expectations

Don’t set your expectations too high as they will only make the fear of failure much worse. Set goals that are obtainable and reachable, and should you fail, this will help reformulate your plan next time.

TIP

Look at your expectations. Get real with them and understand that to reach great heights small goals need to be conquered first. Limitation and hard work is key. Nothing good comes easy

Question your actions

Ask yourself questions about your actions. Could you have dealt with a bad outcome in a different way? Was being right worth ruining all the good things you had before?

TIP

Do not fixate on negative thoughts but notice the good you do and focus on these instead. Focus on self compassion and not taking on the negative energy from other people, as they will no doubt walk away leaving you feeling bad, and not give it a second thought, that they do. Perhaps step back from sending that vitriolic email before sending it (read it tomorrow, when you have calmed down) and think “What response do I imagine I will get?” No doubt the response will not be “Thank you for pointing how wrong I was and my lack of capability in dealing with the matter” Venting our spleen generally doesn’t make us feel better after. 

probably not.

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