New Year, New Mental Health

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, it’s been a challenging time for all of us. As we head into 2022, we are facing many of these same obstacles. With mental health as important as ever, it is time to master the skills of self-love and care.

Despite the stress, Covid-19 may have caused, there are many ways to improve your mental wellbeing. Taking time to focus on hobbies or travel, becoming more financially literate, and finding ways to decompress from your job are just some ways you can set yourself up for overall better mental wellness. Keep reading to help you get started in the right direction.

Explore New Hobbies and Travel

A great way to relieve stress from the difficult areas in your life is through hobbies. Practicing yoga or meditation, working out, creating art, and even playing video games are relaxing activities you can do at home. However, there are countless other outdoor activities that can benefit your mental health, many of which can be done safely during the pandemic. Hiking and biking are great forms of exercise to do alone or with friends. Similarly, camping offers the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and nature. Participating in hobby activities is a great way to separate yourself from life stressors and add more fun to your regular routines.

Though both winter and the pandemic have put their brakes on traveling, there are still ways to do some traveling on your own or with a partner that keeps both you and others safe. Many people try to stay indoors during the snowy season, but there are many reasons to travel during the winter! Using a car rather than public transportation is less likely to expose you to Covid as well as visiting remote places such as national parks. It’s still crucial to practice social distancing when possible, but if you’re able to get out of your town, exploring new areas is a great way to get a change of scenery and help you to feel better mentally and emotionally. If you’re looking to take a long vacation somewhere, but are hesitant due to finances, take a look at rental companies like Airbnb or Vrbo, which offer long-term stays so you can actually save money and rent for multiple weeks or months – ultimately optimizing your trip.

Practice Financial Literacy

To fund your travel, vacations, or big purchases for 2022, as well as to start the year on a fresh note, it’s crucial to make sure you brush up on your financial literacy. The pandemic has taken a toll on peoples’ finances and, consequently, their mental health. Many have lost their homes, jobs, and many other valuable aspects. To combat this, it’s useful to have a deeper understanding of your financial goals and how you can realistically achieve them. You can attend free financial literacy workshops or conduct your own research on how to save money and budget for big events or purchases. For example, you’ll always want to take a portion of your paycheck and put it into savings. This will help you slowly save up for any big expenses you may have this year, whether it be a new car or even buying your own home. While normally this may trigger stress and anxiety, make it a point this year to cover all your bases and do your research.

If purchasing a house is one of your New Year Resolutions, you’ll want to get preapproved for a home loan first to discover how much money you can borrow and thus, how much house you can afford. If this number isn’t what you were hoping for in terms of a loan, use this as a marker. Research and decide what your goal is and take steps to save towards that. This will give you a much more realistic goal, therefore easing some of your mental health stressors.

Likewise, saving up prior for any big purchase is better than spending the money upfront and having to cut costs afterward. Practice frugal spending to prepare yourself for these kinds of trips and big expenses by only buying what you need. Things like cooking instead of eating out, buying in bulk, using coupons, and walking/biking in place of driving will save you a lot of money in the long run. By becoming more knowledgeable in these financial areas, you can better handle your money and become less stressed by your finances. This mindfulness can help you feel more confident in dealing with financial pressures and take away some of the panic or discomfort around money and your life goals.

Navigate Job Stressors

Your occupation may be a large source of stress or anxiety, whether it’s the day-to-day tasks, your coworkers or management, or facing career changes. Worrying about performance, long hours, or difficult tasks can add to your stress, so it’s important to combat that with methods of decompression, such as taking time to yourself to focus (or not focus) on something else. If you’re working an in-office job or position that still requires you to go into the office, your regular commute should provide enough time to jam out to music or to relax while listening to a podcast. If your job permits you, try listening to music while you work, or try different desk setups, such as a standing desk or using an exercise ball as a chair. Small things like adjusting your posture or position can physically help you feel better while you’re working.

On the other hand, there are also many methods of practicing self-care while staying at home during the pandemic, several of which are the overlooked basics of proper eating, regular exercise, and getting outside time. So whether you commute to work each day or work your job remotely, make sure to set yourself up for success through basic self-care and mental breaks!

Despite the past couple of years being affected by Covid-19, there are still a wide variety of ways to make 2022 a better year. There will always be stressors in your life, but it’s critical to combat these stressors in healthy ways that prioritize you and your mental health. Make sure you dedicate enough time to hobbies and get a change of scenery to reinvigorate yourself, and to give yourself time to decompress and take mental breaks at work. It’s never too late to get a handle on your finances, so remember to prepare in advance for any large or significant money moves you may be making, even if it’s years in the future. Whatever you decide to do, always remember to put your mental health first this year!