Make time for mental health in the new year

The beginning of a new year is synonymous with change. But as our resolutions abound, the pressures of ambitious goals and new routines can take precedence over our mental health.

If you’re already feeling depleted — perhaps in actively caregiving for a loved one — carving out a little time for yourself is even more important.

This year, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) would like to encourage you to rethink your resolutions and channel your energy into making your own mental health a priority. You may be surprised at the ripple effect when you make mental wellness job one. 

Make time to practise self-care

Self-care is paramount to our overall mental health and well-being, and the investment of a little time and energy can pay big dividends. The new year is a great time to start a self-care routine or revamp an old one with some new practices.

Consider these simple self-care ideas:

  • Clean or declutter a space in your home where you can go when feeling overwhelmed.
  • Include music in your everyday life to boost your motivation or help you relax.
  • Exercise to manage stress and elevate your mood.
  • Volunteer your time — doing so has proven mental health benefits.

For more self-care ideas, follow the MHCC on Instagram, where we share curated self-care tips every Sunday.

Make time to talk about mental health

The annual Bell Let’s Talk campaign reminds us that when we’re open to talking about mental health, we’re helping to break down barriers that force many of us into silence. Make time for conversations with friends and colleagues about mental health — and let them know you’re available as a non-judgmental sounding board. You could do this by following mental health leaders on social media or posting thoughtful content. Offering a kind, attentive ear can be life changing for someone, especially if they are sharing their experience for the first time.  click to tweet

Being an avid listener might also inspire you to share your own story.

Whether you’re opening up one-on-one or sharing more widely, talking about your lived experience of a mental health problem or illness needs to be done with care. A recent Catalyst article offers guidance on how to share your story safely and decide if 2020 is the right time for you.

Make time to learn more

Consider broadening your mental health knowledge by joining the almost 500,000 people in Canada who’ve taken Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). MHFA offers practical tools to support someone who is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. Like traditional first aid, MHFA training gives you the confidence to help out in an emergency while increasing your knowledge of common mental health problems.

The MHCC Resources page has a range of other courses, webinars, and tools to help you build your mental health literacy.

Make time for specialized supports

The MHCC recognizes that caregivers need specialized resources to support their unique circumstances. If you’re a caregiver (or know someone who is), check our website in the coming weeks for our new compendium of caregiver resources.

In the meantime, our Caregiver Mobilization Toolkit can help influence decision makers in your community improve the experience of everyone in the circle of care.  

Making time for mental health doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little effort and positive intention, it might be the most effective change you make this year.