It’s basically the simplest way to instantly feel like you have your shit together.
2. Check your people-pleasing tendencies at the door.
Being an accommodating, nice person = good. Worrying about people liking you and not stepping on any toes at the expense of your own happiness and desires = not good. You can’t please everyone — embrace that that’s 100% OK this year.
3. Pick up a hobby that’s only purpose is to make you feel good.
Not a hobby that will look good on your college apps or your résumé. Not something you’re eh about but that you think will make you a more well-rounded person. Literally just something you find fulfilling or relaxing or cool.
4. Budget for little indulgences that make you feel better every month.
Candles, tea, massages, new music, bubble bath, whatever — make it a non-negotiable part of your budget to remind yourself that taking care of yourself is a priority.
5. Commit to less negative self talk.
Everyone has negative thoughts about themselves sometimes — but you can catch those negative thoughts, recognize them as untrue, and replace them with positive ones. This 12-day Love Yourself challenge is a good place to start getting in the right mindset.
6. Put a small memory in a jar every day.
Not only will this give you an amazing retrospective of 2016 come next year, but writing down the amazing things that happen to you when they happen works as a great gratitude exercise day to day. Find out how to make a perfect rememberlutions jar here.
7. Distance yourself from — or end — relationships that drain you more than they energize you.
You deserve to be surrounded by people who pump you up and make you feel good, so if a relationship is toxic, exhausting, or even just bumming you out, you don’t need it. Here’s how to break up with someone and how to end a friendship like an adult.
8. Cut “should” from your vocabulary.
The new year is a time where you inevitably take stock of your life and how you’re doing — and you probably wind up thinking things like, “I should be healthier, I should be nicer, I should…” etc., etc.
“It’s like this big, judgmental finger wagging at yourself,” clinical psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., previously told BuzzFeed Life. “It causes us to engage in behaviors that are completely against what we want. Instead, replace ‘should’ with ‘I would like.’” Check it out: I would like to be healthier. I would like to stop spending so much time on my phone. I would like to go to bed at a decent-ish hour…
9. Treat yourself like your best friend.
Every time you have the impulse to punish or insult yourself, get in the habit of asking, “Would I do this to my best friend?” Or whoever you think deserves to be treated with the utmost compassion and respect — aka exactly how you deserve to be treated, too.
10. Find a therapist you really, really like.
Anyone can benefit from therapy, so whether you’re already seeing a therapist that you’re lukewarm about or want to start therapy for the first time, make the first step to find one that you really click with. If you don’t know where to start, check out this beginner’s guide to starting therapy.
11. Say “no” more — without explaining yourself.
One of two things inevitably happen when you say “yes” to things you don’t want to do — either you do them at the expense of your own happiness or you make excuses and flake later at the expense of your relationships. Don’t do that. Be gracious and polite, sure, but look out for yourself. “No” is a complete sentence.
12. Complain less.
Not only does it make you an unpleasant person to be around in general, but also complaining = ruminating in negative thoughts. And ruminating in negative thoughts takes a big toll on your mental health in the long run. Don’t hold stuff in, by any means, but make an effort to express those negative thoughts once and move on.
13. Treat emotional pain like physical pain.
If you need a mental health day, take one. If you find getting out of bed getting more and more difficult, go to the doctor. Don’t brush something off because it’s not an obvious injury.
14. Get enough sleep.
What does sleep have to do with mental health? Pretty much everything. Lack of sleep can seriously magnify feelings of unhappiness or depression and anxiety — so treat your body right. Your mind will thank you.
15. Take up journaling.
Expressive writing has been shown to help your mental wellbeing, psychologist Deborah Serani, Psy.D., author of Living With Depression, previously told BuzzFeed Life. It might even help you know yourself better. Check out these journals that will give your brain a workout.
16. Compare yourself to others less.
This year, every time you find yourself comparing yourself negatively to someone else, remind yourself of three things you’re totally kickass at. Either that, or put a dollar in a jar. You’ll kick the habit pretty quickly.
17. Spend more alone time with yourself.
Carve out time once a week or month to date yourself. Take yourself out to dinner and a movie or go exploring around your city. Learn to be comfortable spending time alone. Learn to love your own company.
18. Start every day by reminding yourself of one positive thing about your life.
We tend to hold on to negative thoughts a lot stronger than positive ones, so expressing gratitude before you get out of bed in the morning is a small, effective way to get on the right path and to connect with happier thoughts.
19. Cut back on social media.
People put their happiest selves forward on social media — relationships, vacations, work brags, etc. — which makes it easy to wind up feeling like shit about your own life. Concentrate more on the IRL and watch your mental well-being improve.
20. Decorate your space so you’re surrounded by inspiring things.
Your bedroom, your desk at work, wherever you need a little help — you’d be surprised how much a few well-placed words of encouragement can help when you find yourself in a bad place.
21. Do more things that make you a little anxious.
It might feel good in the moment to avoid situations that make you uncomfortable, but the more you avoid something, the worse your anxiety about it gets, clinical psychologist Jennifer Taitz, Psy.D., previously told BuzzFeed Life. Challenge yourself by putting yourself in those situations that excite and scare you a little bit — the more you do, the easier it’ll become.
22. Share what you’re going through with friends.
It takes a lot of courage to open up and be vulnerable. If you keep your struggles to yourself because you don’t want to be a burden, think you should be able to handle your shit on your own, or are just plain nervous, make this the year you create the support system you deserve. Promise yourself that whenever things are hard, you’ll reach out to at least one person who loves and cares about you.
23. Celebrate little victories more often.
There’s nothing wrong with setting big goals for yourself this time of year — but achieving little goals is just as important, so celebrate those, too.