New Year, Same Me: What 2023 Means for Mental Health

Celia Zevon
Celia Zevon

Let the new year begin – hello 2023! When people think of the new year, what first comes to mind, alongside fireworks and parties, is often a fresh start. Many of us are anticipating the excitement of the months ahead, crafting a list of 2023 resolutions in our notes app – including an unprecedented amount of mental health-centered goals.

While the new year can be a great time to jumpstart these plans, it can also be a difficult one. There’s a strong expectation to set goals and resolutions during this time, often forcing us to look at ourselves with a critical perspective. With that, it’s important to remember your worth and know you only have to resolve yourself to change if you want to! Here are some gentle reminders when taking advantage of or deciding to pass on the pressure of the new year:

  1. Be kind to yourself: We can easily be consumed by our wrongdoings. Thoughts like “I need to try harder,” “I wish I were fit,” or “I am lazy,” often drift into our mind when we are making resolutions because we are actively searching for aspects in our life to improve. What is difficult to realize at that moment is that maybe you didn’t try hard “enough” because you were struggling with your mental health, maybe you aren’t feeling fit because you are comparing yourself to others on social media, and maybe you aren’t lazy but instead are listening to your body when it needs rest. When making your resolutions, keep your circumstances – rather than unhealthy comparisons – in mind. Maybe even create a gratitude list of things you’re proud of or accomplished from the past year before setting out to find improvements for this year.
  2. You can start fresh on your own timeline: Not only is it a new year, but it’s also a new month, week, and day. Each is a great moment to start fresh. But tomorrow will be all new again, next week, too, and so on. It’s also a great reminder that you don’t need to restart right now. There are many other seasons, months, days, hours, or minutes where you can initiate change in your life. We are all on our own timelines and we can’t be expected to all start new at the same time. Maybe you are having a hard time right now or maybe you don’t feel the need for a fresh start. That’s okay! Start fresh when you are ready, not when the calendar says you are.
  3. You don’t need a new start if you don’t want one: Breaking news: you don’t have to have resolutions. You don’t have to commit to a morning routine, or workout schedule, or diet just because it’s a new year. There is a lot of pressure this month to make resolutions, set goals, and reinvent our lives, whether we want to or not. That can feel like a lot! If you don’t want to set resolutions, you don’t have to. Just making it to today is an accomplishment. Listen to your mind and body and do what is best for you at this moment, and remember that what is best for you may not be the same as what is best for everyone else.

The new year is a great time to reflect and celebrate ourselves. There are so many wins, big and small, we have all accomplished throughout the year. Try not to let the pressure to change ourselves affect how you view yourself and your accomplishments from 2022. It may not have been easy but we are proud of you for making it to 2023. We wish you a happy new year, with lots of love, joy, and success for you and your mental health.