When Covid hit in 2020 our lives were put on pause and it’s safe to say that after two years of the pandemic, a lot of hopes were pinned on 2022.
With lockdowns no longer confining us to our homes, the start of this year felt like coming out of a long dark tunnel, despite the emotional impact of Covid-19.
However the world had different ideas and instead of 2022 being a year of healing and recovery, it’s safe to say one disaster after another seems to have piled up.
Where do we even begin? Russia invaded Ukraine, energy bills are astronomical, there’s a cost-of-living crisis and the summer gave us a brutal wake-up call to the climate emergency.
Not to mention there was a huge attack on women’s rights, or rather basic human rights, when Roe V Wade was over-turned, and to top it all off Britain lost our longest serving monarch Queen Elizabeth II earlier this month.
The levels of social anxiety, as many are forced to turn to food banks to feed their families and to risk their health by leaving the heating off, are ever-increasing.
So what can you do to snatch back a little control from a world that seems to be getting away from you? Well we’ve got some ways for you to end the year on a more positive note.
Make a difference
In times like these it can be really hard to feel like you are able to make a difference, whether it be big or small, and that can really get you down.
So, get involved with a cause close to your heart and become active in that space, whether it’s campaigning for women’s rights, safer streets or raising awareness for a health condition that a loved-one has suffered with.
But getting involved doesn’t mean sharing posts on Instagram, it means writing letters to MPs, joining marches and rallies or raising money and organising charity events.
Find out who your local MP is and look at your community Facebook pages and see what local causes you can get involved with.
By helping others and making a difference we can boost our mental health massively – gratitude is consistently associated with greater levels of happiness.
Be at one with nature
We all know that exercise has a hugely positive impact on our mental health, as does simply being outside and not cooped-up in a room.
You don’t need a gym membership. If you’re the kind that doesn’t mind exercising in public then get your running shoes on and head out for a jog.
If this isn’t your style then why not partake in the Tiktok trend of the Hot Girl Walk which involves a four-mile daily stroll listening to a motivational podcast or playlist.
Mind UK says that simply being outside in nature can benefit both your physical and mental wellbeing by improving your mood, reducing stress and anger and connecting you with your local community.
For example you could offer to walk a neighbours dog, grow food or flowers in a shared outdoor space or allotment or join a walking club which will all help you to form connections with your community.
It’s time to get introspective and weed out the areas of your mental health which could do with a little bit of TLC.
This in itself can be a daunting task but once you’ve identified an area or trigger which can lead to negative feelings, working on it can be liberating.
NHS waitlists for therapy or counselling are lengthy but try seeking out charities that specialise in the mental health support that you need and can provide it for free.
Charity support is usually flexible to work around you, so you can receive help through group sessions and one-to-one phone or in-person consultations.
Mental Health Charities:
Mind UK provides information and support for all mental health concerns, including Local Minds which are community support groups.
Women’s Aid support women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.
Switchboard is an LGBT+ helpline which supports anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity.
Counselling Directory can help identify which counsellor or therapist is right for you.
SARC are specialist medical and forensic services for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted and your local centre will have sexual violence advisers who provide specialist support.
Black Minds Matter UK connects Black individuals and families with free mental health services.
MANUP? is a men’s mental health charity which has a huge range of resources to connect men with the right support networks.
Start a New Chapter
Pick up a good book. There’s nothing worse than buying a bunch of books you won’t read so be picky and grab one or two off the shelf that you feel you could really benefit from.
This will allow you to switch-off from the world for a little while, take your eyes off a screen and relax with a good cuppa.
If you aren’t a book person then find a new podcast or audiobook that can provide a fresh perspective on something you struggle with or that has advice from professionals on how to tackle certain issues.
A good place to start may be Dame Deborah James’ How To Live When You Could Be Dead which tackles the importance of a positive mindset, or something slightly more light-hearted like The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k by Sarah Knight.
For podcast junkies Metro’s Mentally Yours is a great weekly mental health listen or The Food Medic hosted by Dr Hazel Wallace is a great no-nonsense guide for how to live a healthier life.
Manifest your reality
Manifesting is all about turning your wants and desires into a reality and this year we need that more than ever.
The process of manifesting can mean we feel more in control of our everyday lives as well as our futures which can have a positive impact on our mental health.
At its core manifestation is the idea that your thoughts, beliefs and assumptions mould your own reality because when your focus shifts so does your perception of the world around you.
To manifest something you need to be specific and have a clear vision of what you want and believe it’s possible and rightfully yours.
Live with full conviction that it will happen and don’t let doubt get in the way, doubting yourself will only hinder your progress.
These steps may feel like a lot but when implemented one-by-one they can change your life significantly.
Even though 2022 has been a dark year, with these positive tips you can be sure to end it feeling a little better than you did back in January and you can also go into 2023 on a high.
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