New Year’s resolutions and our mental health

New Year Resolutions

January can be a difficult month for everyone, students, and teachers alike. The bright lights of Christmas have been taken down and packed away, we often decide to diet, and we can be short of money from our exuberance over the festive period. Some will do Dry January, others Veganuary, others will just try to survive. The pressure of New Year’s resolutions is something that many people feel during this time.

For teachers this period can be particularly difficult, especially younger teachers in the profession. A recent report by the Eden Project Communities reported that 19% of 16-24 year olds often or always feel lonely compared to 6% of 65-74 year olds. There is the increased focus in the lead up to exams and the threat of industrial action potentially on the horizon, as well as the rise in flu and COVID cases which are stretching many schools.

At this time, it is worth reflecting that in January we do not need to create a whole new persona. We don’t have to go the gym five times a week, start eating kale religiously or take up Japanese street dance. In January we can actually just focus on developing and improving our mental health. A recent report from Forbes Health showed that over 50% of ‘Gen Z’ were focusing on their mental rather than physical health this January.

It is OK to have no New Year’s resolutions other than to try and maximise your happiness.

But if you’d like to try some new things, you could do some of the following:

  • Take a bath. Check out this article by Liquid Image on why taking a bath can help improve your mental wellbeing.
  • Learn to cook something new. Cooking is a great mindfulness technique as it makes you focus on the here and now. Also, the food is nice to eat (usually!)
  • Watch a new TV series. TV can be relaxing and one of the building blocks of our wellbeing, which Martin Seligman cited as key to our happiness.

 

Another good tip for January is to take a strengths-based approach to your wellbeing.

Think about what you do well in your life and try and develop and expand it. So many of us focus on the negatives, which often leads to a downward spiral. If you look at your life from a point of strength, you are more likely to want to tackle any changes positively.

Above all, be kind to yourself in January. It’s much more important than any New Year’s resolutions.

 

Picture of Author: Adam Gillett
Author: Adam Gillett

Assistant Principal - Student Ethos and Safeguarding
Penistone Grammar School
Learning and Development Specialist at Minds Ahead

References

Eden Project Communities (2022) ‘Growing Connections: A Better Future for our Communities’, [online] Available from: https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/sites/default/files/epc-impactreport-2022-digital_0.pdf [Accessed 29/12/22].

Forbes Health (2022) ‘50% Of Gen Z Cite This Health Improvement As A Top New Year’s Resolution For 2023’ (online), Available from: https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/new-years-resolutions-survey/ [Accessed 29/12/22].

Liquid Image (2022) ‘Are Bath Bombs Good for Mental Health?’ (online), Available from: https://www.liquidimageco.com/are-bath-bombs-good-for-mental-health/ [accessed 29/12/22).

Seligman, S. (2018) ‘PERMA and the building blocks of well-being’, The
Journal of Positive Psychology (online), Available from: https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/permawellbeing.pdf [Accessed 29/12/22). 

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