The holidays are over, and the new year has begun, which can be a time of stress for many people.
Rebecca Rackow, Director of Advocacy, Research, and Public Policy Development with the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), says that people may start to worry as the holiday bills from presents and meals start to roll in. “It can be very stressful, wondering ‘oh my goodness, how did I rack that up, and how am I going to pay for it?’”
She says people should focus on one thing at a time. “Look at it in tiny chunks, and take little pieces off, rather than looking at the whole thing. Sometimes it helps a person not feel quite as down about that.”
Attempting to keep New Years Resolutions like changing diets, exercising, or quitting smoking can also have people experiencing negative feelings. Rackow says that resolutions can be a good idea in giving people goals to work towards, but she urges people to be kind to themselves and set reasonable expectations.
“The problem happens when people stop doing it, or can’t do it for a day, or however long, and feel very badly about themselves.”
She says to take it day by day when trying to keep resolutions. “It’s okay to mess up and start again when you’re doing something like that. [Maintain] that positive self-talk, saying you did very well up until this point, and you’ll do well again tomorrow.”
Having a goal of self-care for 2024 is something else that Rackow suggests. “That you’ll do something good or kind for yourself – once a week, or every day – a little thing. Self-care is very important for maintaining mental health.”
The Hope Learning Centre based in Regina offers free courses that could be helpful, such as Challenging Procrastination, as well as Managing Your Inner Critic. Many have virtual options that take place over Zoom, and you can find their offerings here.
Rackow says not to hesitate to reach for help if you are struggling in the new year. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, calling or texting the national suicide crisis helpline at 988 is always an option.