Of all the resolutions making it to our ‘2023 must achieve’ goals, it is time we give wellbeing its due. Many have already joined the self-care bandwagon and have resolved to dedicate time to self-care this 2023. “I want to schedule some free time for myself daily, which would include a bunch of activities that I enjoy doing,” says 24-year-old Aasawari Gharat, a budding mental health professional from Mumbai. Here are some suggestions for those yet to set goals for a mindful 2023.
Letting go of grudges and negativity
Having a positive mindset allows us to view goals with confidence and resilience, says Geetika Arora Bhojak, founder of The Mindful Foundation, a mindfulness teaching and training centre in Pune. Distancing ourselves from negative and toxic people helps us maintain our peace of mind. Forgiving others is also a part of this process, but “to achieve that, we need to forgive ourselves first,” says Bhojak.
Living life to the fullest and having no regrets
To build a relationship with others, we need to understand ourselves first, say experts. “When possible, travel alone to connect with your inner self,” says Bhojak. She suggests being mindful and open to face any situation to stay unaffected by sudden challenges. “The key is to enjoy the journey.”
Spending time with loved ones
Our busy schedule has taken us away from spending quality time with friends and family. Bhojak suggests taking time off our hectic schedules to meet our friends and to spend time with our families. Spending time with loved ones comes with many benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety levels. A 2017 study that examined the relationship between social support systems and mental health in Iran found that positive social interaction with family and friends lessens anxiety and fosters a sense of stability. Further, it gives people the feeling of being loved and cared for. Besides, people also find a sense of belongingness.
Focussing on emotional and physical wellness
Bengaluru-based Arouba Kabir, an emotional and mental health counsellor, says that people should focus on their emotional and physical wellness as both go hand in hand. For emotional well-being, she suggests:
- Maintaining a journal
- Changing one’s lifestyle (for the better)
- Learning to say no
- Letting go of the past
- Being physically active
- Consulting a therapist if we are feeling low for a long period
She also suggests swimming, skipping, running, and cycling to be physically active. Getting an annual check-up done is also important, she says.
Making mental health and physical health a priority
Bhojak suggests making time for those self-care Sundays. “Put extra effort into physical health and walk the extra mile—the idea is to feel good, not look good,” she says. If one is struggling with anxiety, one can start learning how to meditate. Prioritising one’s mental health is a form of self-care. However, everyone’s definition of self-care is different. What might work for one is not necessarily the best option for another. Finding an activity, exercise, or outdoor game that one enjoys makes one more likely to stick to it in the long run.
A 2006 study by psychiatrists Dr Ashish Sharma, Dr Vishal Madaan, and Frederick D Petty showed exercise to be beneficial for mental and physical wellbeing, including improved sleep, reduced tiredness, increased energy, and improved cardiovascular health.
“People should learn to say no and prioritise their needs and wellbeing,” despite the fact that taking care of ourselves or prioritising our needs is often thought of as being selfish, says Kabir. Giving the analogy of an empty bottle, she says, “The truth is, one cannot function from an empty cup, and that cup can only be filled when one starts investing in themselves.”
Upgrade and upskill
Upgrading and upskilling whenever we have time rather than when we are stuck in a situation is important, says Kabir. She says that one can read some informative books or do some courses to keep oneself professionally and personally up to date.
An eye on what you watch
Being watchful of the content one consumes on digital media also needs to be looked at as it impacts one’s thought process and behaviour.
Given the common belief that resolutions are made to be broken, Bhojak suggests some thoughtful strategies to continue with the resolutions throughout the year.
Be determined while setting realistic goals
Often, our resolutions can take a back seat in the face of everyday challenges. A bad day at work often leads to skipping the gym or choosing a pizza over a homemade meal. In these moments, willpower is important. “Choosing one’s long-term goal over instant gratification is the key. This gets easier if the goal is achievable and not insurmountable, says Bhojak. ” Maintaining resolutions can be difficult sometimes, but it is imperative not to quit.
Prepare a chart for resolutions
Making a beautiful design for a New Year’s resolution and placing it next to one’s bed or on a mirror as a reminder can be helpful. One can also set up small rewards when one achieves milestones. Our mind craves gratification and rewarding ourselves is a way to keep up our morale and spirits high when the going gets tough.
Check on monthly progress
Bhojak suggests taking note of personal growth and resolutions. She says that one should not feel discouraged if one does not live up to expectations. And most importantly, celebrate small wins. “Each healthy meal that one eats is a win. Every five minutes spent walking or meditating adds up to the end goal.”
She suggests asking oneself these questions for better results.
- What have I completed last month that I am proud of
- A report on my progress for the one habit I focused on last month
- Goals for the following month, including one habit I want to focus on regularly
- Notes on long-term goals and personal changes I am working towards