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Most of us set ourselves the same goals each year: to lose weight, to quit smoking, to stop drinking alcohol, to stop spending money and to join the gym.
But there are other resolutions we should be making, that will make us feel better about ourselves, not worse.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and it's vital that we treat it that way. Jessica Boston, a life coach and cognitive hypnotherapist at Glow Bar London, has helped devise a list of mental health New Year's resolutions we should all be making.
1. Practice patience
Jessica says we should give ourselves time to adjust to changes and keep going - so don't try and change your life all in one day. It starts with just a single step, so don't be too hard on yourself. And if you slip, don't punish yourself. Just try again tomorrow.
2. Learn Lessons
Jessica says: 'When life gets tough, instead of asking "why is this happening to me?" Say to yourself "what is this teaching me"
3. Find the joy in the small things
When it comes to social media, we're constantly seeking other people's big achievements, which can make us feel bad about ourselves. But celebrate the small things, the tiny accomplishments that are significant to your day. If you're struggling with depression and you managed to get out of bed, wash your hair or do the washing up, congratulate yourself. That's a huge step. If you remembered to each breakfast or managed to go out for a small walk, feel good about that. Don't compare yourself to others.
4. Set a theme instead of a resolution, why not set a theme for the year?
Jessica says: 'Every year I give myself a teheme that fits in with my goals. Last year my tehem word was magic, so my activities, learnings and lessons were filtered through that word and I had a truly magical year. This year my theme is abundance'.
5. Give yourself self-care days
Take your diary, and implement self-care days into it. Even if it's just once a month, take a Sunday and set a plan of action of how you're going to treat yourself that day - movies, face masks and your favourite chocolate sounds like a great plan.
6. Understand yourself
Your brain is trying to turn everything it can into a habit so it can run on an autopilot and save you energy. Jessica tells us: 'Once it has learnt a pattern the unconscious will trigger a process in those moments it recognises as its cues. 'This includes negative thinking. So look for your cues and understand them better. 'A cue will be the thing that triggers the way you feel. 'It could be a negative emotion like stress. Seeing someone you dislike on Instagram, it could be a certain situation, a boss, the time of the day, a sound, a smell. 'Start thinking what goes on in your mind before you do this thing you want to get rid of because every habit of thought becomes a habit of action and your behaviour isn't random. So when it next comes up think to yourself "what's that about?".
7. Use social media in a safe way for your mental health
Unfollow accounts that don't make you feel good, block those who add negatives to your day. Stop comparing yourself to people you see on Instagram, remember that people only tend to post the best of their days, so it's important to remember that everyone has bad days too. Just because they aren't posted on Instagram, it doesn't mean you're alone.
8. Be honest with your feelings
If someone has upset you, tell them (where appropriate). If you're hurting, feel it. Let this year be the year you acknowledge your feelings instead of bottling them up.
9. Share your goals.
Jessica says it's important to share both your dreams and your fears. She explains: 'Us human beings are socially compliant. So use this to your advantage and tell someone about the goals you want to create. 'Having goals gives us purpose, and purpose in life is the best cure against depression. 'So pick someone you find to be a positive influence in your life then ask them, if you don't ask, don't get.' She adds: 'Everyone walking the face of the earth has fears, pains and believes in moments they aren't good enough. 'Why not allow this year to be a time where you open up and share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust and find out for yourself first hand that we are all perfectly imperfect and wonderfully weird'.
10. Set yourself boundaries
Don't let people walk all over you. Notice when enough is enough. Set boundaries so that you can't be taken for granted. It doesn't make you a bad person, it's a healthier approach to recognising you have limits, and to take self-care seriously.
11. Abandon perfection
Jessica says: 'What is perfection anyway? It is a subjective concept, yet so many of us chase it. We beat ourselves up with it and often as soon as we get anywhere close to obtaining what we once thought was perfection our idea of perfection has changed. 'We are chasing our own altering perception. Forget your perception of perfection, instead embrace who you are today and how your strength, resources and capabilities are going to help you get closer to who you know you can be more of in the future'.
12. Seek support when you need it
Don't let your problems swallow you up. Don't suffer in silence. Reach out to those closest to you when you need to. Visit your GP when you're struggling. Things are so much easier when you get everything spinning around in your head out of your system. Don't be ashamed to ask for help.
[Don't forget, we offer a range of services which may help, whether you are looking for day to day relief, longer term recovery or immediate crisis support. Our telephone helpline, Guide-Line, is open 7 days a week, 12 noon - 9pm on 01274 594 594. Our Well-being service hosts a wide range of free activity and support groups. And, if you need immediate crisis support, First Response can be contacted on 01274 221 181 (24/7) for residents of Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven]
13. Surround yourself by people who are good for you
Stop surrounding yourself with people who make you feel bad. Ditch them. Of course, this isn't to say you should say goodbye to everyone who have a tiff with - we all through our own sh*t. But if someone is continusouly letting you down, making you feel bad about yourself, or draining all of your energy, get rid of them. Your mental health wil thank you for it.
Originally published 04/01/2019 6.34am. Story by Hattie Gladwell. Metro.