In today’s society, it is extremely easy to get caught up with one’s responsibilities and in the hustle of everyday life and forget to take care of ourselves. Self-care may seem a minute thing to focus on in comparison to things such as homework and extracurriculars, but if we fail to acknowledge our own health and needs, we will continue to push ourselves until we reach our breaking point. It is in reviewing this lack of self-care, that I have created a goal for each month of 2020 that centers on putting one’s health to the forefront of their mind.
February: Try to make someone smile every day of the month. Making someone else’s day better, even in the slightest, is a great way to feel good about ourselves and to improve our own self-worth.
March: Every time you say something negative about yourself, come up with three positive things you like about yourself. You can’t reuse previous traits or comments.
April: Try to ask for help when you need it because it doesn’t make you weak. Friends, teachers, and doctors are all here for you and want to see you improve. Sometimes all it takes is making a crack in our walls for them to begin crumbling down.
May: Listen to your body. Give yourself breaks, set reminders to drink water or eat a snack. Your personal health should be your top priority.
June: Reward yourself. Even the simplest things like getting out of bed, taking a shower, or remembering to take your meds can be a huge step towards improving your mental health. No one’s journey is ever going to be the same as someone else’s, so try not to treat it as such.
July: Focus on what you can control. It’s easy to get caught up in an endless spiral of ‘what ifs,’ but it’s important to remember that only so much of our life is within our control. Try to avoid stressing over things that you can’t change.
August: Set yourself some realistic goals. Pushing yourself, whether it be through small steps or larger strides, can help you become more comfortable reaching out and will eventually lead you to where you want to be mentally. It may seem easier to think of massive dreams and goals that you want to achieve, but focusing on the long run can end up being overwhelming. So pay attention to the little things you can accomplish, and remember to reward yourself for your victories.
September: Build relationships. Opening up to people, whether they’re individuals you have or have not known for a while, can be hard as we all want to be seen a certain way; however, sharing struggles and difficulties should not make people see you in a negative light. If you feel comfortable and ready, try to open yourself up a bit more when conversing with others.
October: Distance yourself from social media. In an era of lightning-fast technology and instantaneous messaging, privacy and being able to have time to yourself is hard to come by. This month, turn off social media notifications and try to stay above the noise. Creating this space between you and apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat should allow you to focus on yourself rather than feeling obligated to be at the access of everyone at all times. Try to acknowledge that you don’t have to be available twenty-four-seven.
November: Practice forgiveness. Learning to forgive yourself, as well as others, is important in growing and improving your mental health. Sometimes the smallest of mistakes feel so disastrous and detrimental, even when you are able to acknowledge their little relevance. In being able to forgive, we can start to accept and love ourselves as individuals.
December: Find yourself an outlet. Having a healthy outlet is so pertinent in recovering. It allows a person to channel their negative energy into something productive rather than bottling these emotions up or letting them spiral into a self-destructive tendency. Rather than letting your cynical thoughts inhibit you, make them the driving force behind your success.