Welcome to 2024, Tampa Bay! We are thrilled to be joining you for another year on this collective journey to support the mental health of our wonderful community. And while the New Year can be a time of fresh beginnings and hope, it can also be a time when forces outside of ourselves try to tell us who to be. You’ve probably noticed the ads and the emails and the nonstop talk of resolutions. And if making resolutions works for you…great! But, if you’re feeling taxed and overwhelmed by all of this talk of big change, we want to give you permission to let No woryourself off the hook.
Something we have learned through the years is that supporting our mental health and wellbeing can be a practice in going easier on ourselves, rather than becoming another thing to add to the pile of worries and stressors we already face. Often, stressing ourselves out about what we should do is counterintuitive, making us feel worse.
So, here you are facing a New Year. You want to support your mental health, and you’re willing to believe that beating ourselves up isn’t the best way forward. What can you do instead?
- Honor yourself: The truth is, you’re already doing it. By seeking resources and inspiration to support your mental health, you are already making progress on this path. Your journey is your own, and it will be unique to you. You are not broken, and there is nothing about yourself that you need to fix. So with that in mind, take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and thank yourself for how far you have already come.
- Recognize the small stuff: Grab a piece of paper and a pen (or open up the Notes app on your phone) and make a list of ways you have supported your mental health in 2023. Here’s the catch: Everything counts. Going for a walk, that deep breathing you did at your desk, playing with your kids, therapy, bodywork, setting a boundary, confiding in a friend, reading a book…all of it counts. We’ll bet that list is longer than you thought!
- Make a list: Yes, another list! Make the following sections: When I have 5 minutes; When I have 10 minutes; When I have 30 minutes; When I have an hour, etc. Now think about the practices or modalities you’d like to keep up or try in 2024. Maybe there is a new practice or method of care that you would like to try this year, whether that is experimenting with breathwork or trying a therapeutic modality like EMDR. Write them all down in the section that corresponds to roughly how long they will take. Keep this list with you…whenever you are having a day where you could use a little boost of support, reach for your list for inspiration. Look at you, planning ahead!
- Replace the shoulds: Usually we’re told to replace “should,” with “could.” And while this may work for some people, “could” can also feel like an obligation. Instead, when the “shoulds” pop up, try reframing the thought into a question. Rather than “I should go to the gym,” a question like “What kind of movement might feel good and accessible to me today?” This gets to the heart of what you’re craving (movement) while giving you a lot of spaciousness to explore and listen to yourself.
When it comes to supporting your mental health, no win is small and every effort is worthy of acknowledgment. If you do nothing else to start this year, simply opening and reading this email symbolizes the steps you are taking to support yourself this year. And you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help you find care resources that fit your life, just dial 844-YOU-OKAY to reach our free, confidential support line for Tampa Bay. We see the work you’re doing and we’re so proud to be on this journey with you.
Here’s to fresh starts,
Your Team at Tampa Bay Thrives