New Year Resolutions are often short-lived and meaningless. However, I think having targets is extremely beneficial in life – if you aim for the moon, then you’ll land in the stars. I set goals constantly and having a clear image of what I want to achieve keeps me determined. Although, my love for meeting targets has had some negative consequences; when your targets are unhealthy then you will experience dangerous results, therefore it is extremely important that you make healthy resolutions. Last year, I didn’t make any resolutions as I didn’t think I was capable of achieving anything but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I achieved a huge amount of personal-development, healing and I became happy whilst juggling a Master’s degree, working and blogging.
After experiencing severe depression, happiness is my most coveted goal in life. I am at an extremely positive part of my life right now and I’ve worked very hard to get here. The changes I’ve made in my life have been essential to my new-found joy! Before depression, I never had any real hobbies – I’ve went to dance/drama/cheerleading class but I hadn’t found anything that I fully enjoyed. So when it was suggested to me to do something fun everyday, in an effort to combat my depression, I had no idea what I should do. I’ve since found enjoyment in painting, pole dancing and I rediscovered how interesting reading was. This didn’t happen spontaneously; I had to force myself to join new clubs and try out new hobbies that I had no energy or interest for and it paid off. Nowadays, for thirty minutes a day I focus on one of my hobbies, or longer if I have the time which isn’t often admittedly. This may seem impossible but if you calculate how much time you waste scrolling Instagram then you could easily substitute this in. When you dedicate time to making yourself happy, you are telling yourself that you are important and that you matter. Prioritising your happiness over everything else promotes self-worth and fulfilment in life.
There are three key ways to look after yourself; keeping your body fit; having a laugh with your friends and exploring your creativity.
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance
This is not a very common resolution but I definitely think that it should be. The pressure that can build up from an immense workload is extremely detrimental to your health and can trigger low mood, depression or anxiety. As a student, I experience the stress of not having enough hours in the day and I have luckily mastered how to balance my time. I prefer quality > quantity studying etc, as you could sit at your desk for hours but unless you are being productive then that is pointless. Studies have shown that working in short bursts with a short break in-between is much more effective than continuously slaving away. If you are required to work long hours, in order to keep a huge amount of work at bay, you can still make positive changes to how you work. Will the work you produce be of poor quality and take up three more hours than it would if you were well-rested? If you answer yes then take a break and tackle it either later on when you are reenergised or after a sleep. Lastly, prioritise your health and your family over your work always. Are you going to miss your daughter’s first steps or your best friend’s birthday to make a rich man even richer? I completely understand that it can seem impossible to say no but if your work is encroaching on your personal life then a change is crucial. Working too much will burn you out and if you experience extreme stress then you it will take much more time than you would think to piece yourself back together again. Having time off from your work is a preventative measure for a mental breakdown!
The Classic Weight Loss Goal
Losing weight is potentially the most popular New Year Resolution, however, I think this is horrendously negative. The terminology used in diet culture. such as, portion-control, calorie restriction and the depreciating words like “fat” have huge detrimental effects on society. If you are a parent to young children and you are worried about your weight, I beg you to only speak positively about your body. Young children, especially girls, pick up on how their role models critique, hate and mistreat their body. Impressionable children should not have to be subjected to see such behaviour as it is very likely that they will replicate this. Just as your daughter will want to wear make up like their mothers, they will want to be in “perfect shape” too. You wouldn’t realise the impact your dieting and weight obsession could have on your child, but before you know it your child will be standing in front of the mirror engulfed in self-loathing. Consequently, it is extremely important to talk about yourself and your body in a positive way!
As a pharmacist-to-be, I understand how important maintaining a healthy lifestyle is; it not only protects against disease, but it also improves your quality of life. Using harmful methods to get to your goal weight is contradicting and inconsistent with living healthily. The damaging connotations of “losing weight” isn’t consistent with a positive life; you should be gaining energy and vitality and not getting rid of some of your very being. I encourage exercise for thirty minutes for five days a week as it decreases the risk of having a cardiovascular event, for example, therefore when your child asks you why you have taken up running, then tell them you are doing this to make yourself healthier. Furthermore, the weight you should be aiming for should be within the healthy range of the BMI (not under), as this weight has been calculated as ideal for a reason.
To conclude, I wish everyone a fabulous and prosperous new year. I hope that everyone takes care of their mental health, as although not everyone has a mental illness, everyone has mental health. Whether your goal is to learn to play piano, begin to eat healthily or to spend more time with your family, I know that if you put your mind to it then you can do it. 2018 has been difficult for me, as I have focused on my recovery whilst dealing with a lot of other issues, but I have come out the other side feeling immensely proud. From the second month of 2018, I have wanted this year to be over and finally and thankfully this will be a fresh start for me and everyone else who has struggled this year.