Every time the new year comes around, we are bombarded with the notion to get ahead by mapping out our list of resolutions. Whether it’s committing to a new gym membership or getting out of financial debt, the new year is that blank slate (or Blank Space, if you’re a Swiftie) you’ve been waiting for. It makes for a great time to do personal reflection and check in with yourself. If you’re like me, your mind can be an incredibly challenging thing to slow down. Here are seven tips to hitting the refresh button mentally so you can declutter your mind and feel capable of taking on 2023.
1. Look for ways to simplify
Whether it’s committing to only a certain amount of appointments/commitments a week or getting rid of the clothes you don’t actually wear, find ways to make life easier on yourself. Life can be challenging, and while many things are out of your control, reflect on the habits you have control over. Are you looking for ways to create margin in life, or are you continuously overbooking your schedule? Life will look a whole lot better when you intentionally develop habits that bring you to a place of personal balance.
2. Romanticize sleep
According to The Sleep Foundation, “Women have a lifetime risk of insomnia that is as much as 40% higher than men,” which is why cups of coffee probably sounds so good in the morning. In other words, we do–in fact–need our beauty sleep. So please pass the eye masks and satin pajamas. Prioritize better sleeping habits to make sure your body is reaching its full potential wellbeing. Limit screen time before bed so you can wind down mentally and prepare for snoozing. If going to bed sounds boring, create a personalized nighttime routine you love. After your skincare routine, put on your loungewear, turn on your essential oils diffuser, and curl up to read a good book.
3. Write down the “clutter”
A great way to process your thoughts in a healthy way is by journaling. Even if you only have a few minutes, take a pen to paper or create a note in your phone where you’re able to dive into different thoughts you’ve been dealing with. Maybe you’re stressed and need to write about your work challenges, or maybe you’re grieving the loss of a close friend and need to let out the emotional trauma. Writing is a way of communication that helps us process our emotions through words so we’re able to release any ideas or beliefs we might be holding in our minds. Journaling is a healthy outlet, and it’s a safe place you can look back on as you move forward throughout different seasons.
4. Make time for alone time
As I like to say, take yourself out on a date. On the weekends when I’m able to get away from mom duties or home/work life, I love going to a local coffee shop, ordering a latte, and truly engaging with my environment without being interrupted or distracted by my phone. Set one day or different hour blocks throughout your week where you can do something just for you that brings you to life. We are often the most stressed when we haven’t had a chance to take a breather and step away from our schedule to invest in ourselves. Go to the nail appointment, see your dentist, shop for a new pair of boots, or simply relish a delicious croissant by yourself. Do something you love, and make a habit of it to make sure you’re taking care of you.
5. Leave the past in the past
Maybe you went through a tough breakup this year or someone broke your trust. Maybe you struggled at work or made mistakes you regret. Sometimes we don’t deal with negative emotions properly, or we harbor them and let them manifest as unhealthy projections toward other people. Before stepping into a new year, take a moment to identify those negative emotions and do a heart check up. Start by asking yourself questions like: What events significantly impacted me negatively this year? What lies or limiting beliefs have I allowed myself to hold on to from those events that I need to let go of?
Whatever it may be, consider letting those things go to move on and truly heal. In order to show up for others, we must first always be willing to show up for ourselves. A new year doesn’t change the hurt. But it is a beautiful reminder that we can choose to start over again and–as my friend told me once–keep pursuing a healthy heart.
6. Get active
There are so many resources and updated research that continuously affirm the importance of exercise. I’m obsessed with spinning and took a spin class at least 3-4 times a week (before having my first baby) because it always makes me feel amazing mentally. After exercise, we often feel clearer and are able to move stagnant energy making us feel stuck, not to mention those feel-good endorphins that get released when you move your body. Whether you love to go for a walk or take yoga class online after work, show your body some TLC by making exercise a priority for your mental health. Not only can movement improve your mood, but you’ll build strength–both physically and mentally.
7. Do the small things right away
As a working mom who has a chaotic schedule, one of the ways I’ve minimized what’s on my plate is by choosing to do things right away. Imagine it’s late at night and there’s a pile of dishes in the sink–you’re probably tempted to hold off until the next morning to wash it all. Instead, get in the habit of getting it done right away, or the next free moment you get. When we keep putting off those little things, we end up piling chores or responsibilities until we reach our breaking point, causing more stress and anxiety than if we just take care of it right away. If you have an extra five minutes in the morning before leaving for work, make your bed, drop off the rent payment, or make your next doctor’s appointment.
Because life can be so busy, “I’ll get to it later” can sometimes set you up for forgetting the task in the long run, or add to your stress levels because you have a subconscious growing to-do list. Avoid the stress, and simply get it done when you can. You’ll be grateful you did it, and you’ll be mentally at ease for prioritizing it.