In a 2020 article from the University of Berkeley, the headline reads, “New year’s resolutions matter more in a pandemic.” The thought piece further says that instead of just waiting for the pandemic to finally be over, we’ll do better to “re-engage with the things that bring us meaning in life.” To do this, the author suggests creating a checklist of resolutions “to set your mid-pandemic course correction on the best possible path.”
In another article on the subject, this time on how to make healthy, attainable new year’s resolutions during COVID-19, a behavioral therapist at the Cleveland Clinic notes that “perhaps the frenzy of having or getting ‘stuff’ now isn’t quite so important as appreciating one’s health, home, family, time together and time alone.”
To this point, we’d like to focus on two resolutions that we feel are both timely and important in these times: prioritizing one’s mental health and quitting an unhealthy habit.
Focus on your mental health
As pointed out by Scientific American, the pandemic has jostled people’s emotional equilibrium, where in the U.S. the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression is on the rise. Here in the Philippines, meanwhile, the National Center for Mental Health reported having received “more distressed calls at their hotline during the pandemic,” with the number of callers doubling to 700 callers a month.
Paraskevi Noulas, a clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Health, suggests that one way to improve mental health is to focus on self-awareness and being as present as possible. This, she says, allows one to check in with themselves at any given time; to know what they’re feeling, thinking, and experiencing physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
Additionally, it would be very helpful to have a trusted family member and friend whom one can turn to for support, as well as engaging in different activities that can boost one’s spirits. Ultimately, ensuring that a person’s personal needs are met and identifying those needs alongside staying in touch with family and friends does indeed go a long way.
Nipping bad habits
With all the challenges that the pandemic has brought, some people have had to turn to unhealthy habits as coping mechanisms for stress: junk food binging, alcohol, and increased cigarette smoking. Among all the New Year resolutions, “losing weight” and “quitting or reducing smoking” has always been at the top of the list. For those presently smoking but have been trying to quit, the pandemic has made this goal all the more difficult to achieve. However, now more than ever, with the advent and increased adoption of more effective products, smokers have been quitting in droves over the years.
One such product that has been proven effective are e-cigarettes. Across the world, studies done on e-cigarettes have proven to be an effective option in helping smokers quit the nasty habit. As stated by the UK’s National Health Service, “many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette” and that “using an e-cigarette can help manage one’s nicotine cravings.”
Another effective way to lick bad habits is to be accountable to someone who can check on their progress. Posting their progress on social media is one way this can be done. Among the myriad of vape brands available, one particular e-cigarette brand stands out by offering a guided “7 Day Challenge” to guide smokers to switch completely without reverting back to cigarettes. Instead of embarking on the journey alone, they receive support in making the switch permanent, so as to finally kick the habit once and for all.
With all the aforementioned suggestions and tips, the hope is for people to steadily, step-by-step, achieve their new year’s resolutions towards being mindful of their mental health and overall well-being.