Every year millions of people embark on living their best life, with the help of a New Year’s Resolution. The most common are, save money, lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, travel more, and spend more time with family. But what is this idea of a New Year’s resolution and where did it come from?
Most historians agree that the concept of a New Year’s resolution dates back to the ancient Babylonians, who celebrated
the new year when the crops were planted in mid-march. During their 12 day New Year’s celebration, known as Akitu, they would crown a new king, or reaffirm their loyalty to the current one. And, they would use this time to make promises to the gods to pay back their debts. The Babylonians believed that if they kept their word and paid their debts, their gods would bestow favor on them in the coming year.
This practice was later adopted by the Romans, which using their Julian calendar, marked January 1st at the first day of the New Year. The Romans named January after their god Janus, who they believed represented new beginnings, as well as backward reflection and resolution. During this time, they would offer sacrifices to Janus, and make promises of good behavior for the year ahead.
And there you have it, the origin of New Year’s resolutions.
But is it worth it to make one? And doesn’t it just set us up for failure?
No, Not if you choose something realistic.
We can all use a little improvement in how we live our lives and take care of ourselves. Especially those of us that live with mental health issues. Just getting through the day can sometimes seem like a lot. But that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from the practice of setting a goal and doing our best to follow through with it.
The key is to pick something that would be beneficial to your life, while also keeping it simple, small, and realistic.
Here are a few ideas for New Year’s resolutions that can benefit your mental health:
Even if it’s just a brisk walk a few times a week, or taking the stairs more instead of the elevator.
Try and add just a little more healthy food into your diet. Make little, reasonable changes, like adding more salad and veggies to your dinner, and snacking on air-popped popcorn instead of potato chips.
Get More Sleep
It’s recommended that adults get at least 8 hours of sleep. Though most of us fall short of this from time to time, making an effort to develop a healthy sleep habit can have a tremendously positive impact on your mental health and your life.
Consider Taking a Break From Social Media
Or at least cut back on the time you spend there. You can even set time limits on your phone to help you to achieve this goal.
Spend More Time Doing Something Creative
If you love reading, writing, dancing, painting, playing an instrument, etc. Try and carve out a little more time each week to dive deeper into the activities that you enjoy, and maybe even try out some new ones.
Practice Better Self Care
This could mean everything from getting a massage every month or two, taking a bubble bath more often, or just making room for some alone time to watch a movie or read a book. Whatever it is, make time just for you.
Make a Commitment to Your Mental and Emotional Health
Taking care of yourself and your mental health is critical to your overall health and well-being. So make a commitment to see your therapist, psychiatrist, and doctor regularly, and show up for your appointments as scheduled and on time.
So as you can see, making a New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be a huge commitment or an unreachable goal. It can be a simple thing that you enjoy and that can be very beneficial to improving your life.
That being said, we must always remember to be gentle with ourselves and know that we don’t have to do it perfectly. The main goal is to just try and commit to taking little steps in the right direction.
So start small, and commit to it. Even if it’s just reading 5 pages of a book a day or a week. Or walking up and down the stairs in your house a few times each day. Whatever it is, however small, make it something that will benefit you and your life this year.
Happy New Year!