For many, a new year means new goals and resolutions. It is a fresh start and perhaps a chance to do something you have never done before. But these goals and resolutions can often affect one’s mental and physical health. Moreover, one’s mental health can determine one’s goals and successes. As such, creating healthy habits is connected to how we create and how we might achieve these goals.
Ravi Gabble, the Health Education Coordinator from UTM’s Health and Wellness Centre, says, “it is important to remember that new goals and habits take time, so it is important to be patient and to be kind to yourself.” The key is to create goals that are realistic and allow for gradual improvements. Mental health plays a significant role in how we view and achieve our goals. Therefore, it is crucial to not be our own critics, to self-care, and to be committed to the objectives at hand. A healthy relationship with oneself and a positive outlook on resolutions go hand in hand with our goals and motivations, and their successes.
Creating a routine in which you can complete your goals and improve your mental health is essential to their viability. “Create a ‘positive feedback loop’ by focusing on the benefits of new behaviour you are trying to achieve,” explains Gabble. “New year’s resolutions, as well as goals, can serve as an opportunity to reflect on the impact of your current health choices on your overall mental health and well-being and can help you to work on changes and goals in your life.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many realized the importance of prioritizing mental and physical health in their 2021 resolutions. Gabble states that “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on our mental and physical health and [as such] it is important to focus and prioritize our health this coming year.” Gabble also notes that “having a structured, personal wellness plan and a daily routine can greatly help.”
Other common new year resolutions include wanting to exercise more or maintaining a better diet in 2021. However, improving one’s mental health should be fundamental in each resolution. It is easy for people to fall back into their old routines and habits that are detrimental to their mental health when the intentions behind resolutions have the wrong focus.
There are many places that people can reach out to if they need help and support. The UTM Health and Counselling Centre (HCC) and other services within our community are open for anyone who may need it. The HCC can give you direct access to a counsellor or a doctor. Good2Talk, a platform that offers messaging services, is another excellent resource for students to receive counselling. Additionally, MySSP, or My Student Support Program, is a student counselling platform tailored for students and offered in multiple languages. MySSP can be downloaded from the App Store.
There are also many services that cater to students’ physical health, including communicating with HCC’s dietician and having access to the RAWC’s many different fitness and recreation programs. These programs are all virtual and available for all students. The Health and Counselling Centre also has an Instagram page, @utmhccwellness, where they post various videos and hold virtual meetings on many topics, including improving mental health and wellness throughout the pandemic.
2020 has shown us how important self-care is, especially in times of isolation. Mental health plays an essential role in making and executing our new year’s goals and resolutions. It is time that we make our mental health a priority in 2021.