January Behavioral Health Column

VPPPA has partnered with the experts at MindWise Innovations to present a monthly Q&A article addressing questions that members might be hesitant to ask about. These columns will address your questions about mental health, substance abuse, brain injuries, family issues and more. 

By: Lisa Desai, MindWise Innovations ​

Kicking off the New Year Right

The new year can bring a sense of excitement, relief, and motivation to start anew. It can also feel like an overwhelming time, with pressures to make resolutions for self-improvement (you know the drill… exercise more, eat better, do something BIG this year!). Realistically, it is the small changes—even one small change—that can make a big difference.

Think about the small ways you can bring positivity to your life: Walking outside more, talking with those friends you miss, finding new music, taking a bubble bath, doing a puzzle, etc. Whatever it is, start small and choose something that brings you joy. We all have many “To Do’s” on our list. How about you find a “Wanna Do.”

Of course, given the past year’s challenges with the pandemic, social unrest and political differences, it’s important to focus on how we can take care of ourselves. Stress is real and can have a significant impact on our mind and body. Ongoing or increased stress can affect our energy level, sleep, appetite, focus and create anxiety.

Anxiety can be a normative response to stressful events. However, if anxiety lasts for a long time or leads to feelings of panic, please contact a clinician for a check-up. If you want to find ways to manage stress on a daily basis, here are some tips for self-care:

  • Put on your oxygen mask first.

We are most useful and supportive to others when we first take care of ourselves.

  • Set aside 5 minutes a day.

Everyone can spare five minutes each day for mind/body exercises that can help manage stress. Click here for a few from our team.

  • Please remember: We are all doing the best we can.

Even you! Most people, yourself included, are doing the best they can at any given time to cope with life stressors. Be as gentle and patient with yourself as you are likely being with others.

  • Self-care truly isn’t selfish.

Never apologize for taking care of yourself.

Click here for more tips and tricks to help you prioritize self-care and start this new year off right.