The new year feels like a natural time to look back on the past year and set goals for the upcoming one. You can consider what went well, what could have been better, and what adjustments you can make to make this year even better.
However, reflecting on the past year can be a bit disheartening if you suffer from depression. Looking at the ways your depression affected your daily life last year can make it feel like your symptoms are impossible to manage. During this time of year when many people look to the future with excitement and hope, you might be left feeling helpless and hopeless.
Symptoms of depression can be debilitating and make it difficult to function effectively. Thankfully there are some actions you can take to manage your symptoms and have a good year despite living with depression. Taking steps to handle your diagnosis instead of letting your diagnosis control you is an empowering way to live.
What are some of the things you can do to move past depression in the new year and set yourself up for success? As 2022 begins, commit to trying some new ways to regulate your symptoms and find freedom from the confines of your depression.
Shift Your Focus From Resolutions to Goals
Conversations around New Year’s are rife with discussion about resolutions. Everyone seems to set at least one or two resolutions, determined to become a better version of themselves this year. Some people set out to finally get into the gym regularly, others want to write the book they’ve always talked about, and still, others try to stop drinking or smoking.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with resolutions, they may not be the best approach if you’re dealing with depression. New Year’s resolutions tend to be an all-or-nothing attempt to make a sudden and significant change. Most people struggle to stick with their resolutions, though, and some statistics suggest that more than 80% of people give up on them by February.
It takes time to create changes that last. You can’t go from living a sedentary lifestyle to suddenly running 5 miles every day; it’s not a realistic approach to change. But people often tend to approach resolutions this way which makes them even harder to follow through on. When you struggle with depression, you’ll only have a harder time if your resolutions don’t work out.
Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, consider setting some New Year’s goals. A goal is something you work toward over a period of time rather than forcing yourself to make an immediate and massive change. Goals provide more room for error, adjustment, and growth than hard-and-fast resolutions do. If you’re living with depression, the adaptability of goals is a better way to approach the new year.
Let Go of “New Year, New Me”
If you scrolled through social media within the last two weeks you probably saw at least a few dozen variations of the “New Year, New Me” post. Everyone feels pressured to develop a new version of themselves with the incoming new year. Oftentimes that comes coupled with a public declaration of their dedication to their chosen change.
Wanting to become a better version of yourself is an admirable pursuit. If you’re struggling with depression, many positive results come from deciding to make some positive and healthy changes. But the idea that you need to develop a brand-new version of yourself isn’t a healthy or sustainable approach.
The “New Year, New Me” phenomenon, especially one posted to social media, creates a self-imposed burden. No one expects you to become an entirely new person at the stroke of midnight, at the end of January, or even by New Year’s Eve of 2022. Depression already leaves you prone to poor self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness; buying into this phenomenon will only exacerbate those symptoms.
Be Selective About Your Surroundings
Have you ever heard the saying that you’re the sum of the five people closest to you? If you surround yourself with people who are trying to make themselves better, you’ll likely find yourself doing the work to become a better person too. But if you’re surrounded by people who bring you down, it won’t be long before you’re bringing others down as well.
Make this year the year you decide to be more selective about your surroundings. Pay close attention to who you hang out with, what you spend time doing, and what direction you’re heading. If you aren’t intentional about the way you approach things, you’ll be at the mercy of whatever happens. This isn’t a helpful way to navigate life when you live with depression.
When you surround yourself with positive people who are working to better themselves, they won’t drain so much of your emotional energy. It won’t feel difficult to spend time with them. They’ll encourage you on your path to well-being. Managing your depression also involves being careful about who you include in your close circle.
Accept Help if You Need It
You may still find yourself thinking that you should be able to manage your depression on your own. If you’ve already attended a treatment program for depression you’re even more likely to feel this way. Living with depression is not a straight path. It isn’t always a constant upward trend. Sometimes you’re going to have a harder time keeping your symptoms at bay.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need help. Let this be the year that you learn to accept help during the times you need it. Perhaps you need to simply get dinner or have a movie night with a friend. If your symptoms are more severe and making things difficult, you might need to accept a higher level of care.
You don’t have to handle your depression alone and you shouldn’t feel like you can’t reach out for help. If you aren’t able to ask for help from those around you, reconsider the people you’re surrounded by. Whatever the circumstances may be, recognize when you need to lean on others for support.
Finding Help at Lifeskills Florida This New Year
If you’re looking for professional treatment for your depression, Lifeskills South Florida offers a Mood Disorder Clinical Pathway with staff extensively trained in CBT and REBT. Lifeskills is a leading authority in clinical treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders. Operating on the mission of better outcomes for sustainable healing, we provide a range of treatment services to adults struggling with significant mental health difficulties.
At Lifeskills South Florida, we believe that treating individuals with dignity and respect encourages their intrinsic ability to change and heal. Everyone can achieve and sustain long-term recovery when they’re offered support from compassionate and nurturing treatment providers.
We provide a continuum of care through a range of treatment levels including residential, transitional living, and outpatient programs. Our comprehensive approach to care supports you from the moment you decide to make a change until you’ve developed the skills to support yourself outside of a treatment environment.
To learn more about the programs we offer at Lifeskills South Florida, please reach out to us. We believe that you have what it takes to make lasting changes in your life so long as you surround yourself with the right people and support system. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you here at Lifeskills South Florida and start you on your path to wellness today!