New Years is coming up and this is the time that people are looking to make their New Year’s Resolutions so we wanted to help. This isn’t our first attempt to help with improving your resolutions nor mental health over the holidays, especially with COVID.
So what if I told you a great option for your New Year’s Resolution is to say no. Let me be clear, I’m not saying don’t make a New Year’s Resolution, though I am of the mind to change your life when it is needed, not at a calendar year change. Instead, add boundaries by starting to say no more. Let me explain.
In my own life, I’m trying to continue to develop a counseling program as we further engage with the community to better understand how mental health and substance misuse problems impact a community and individuals. Further, I’m trying to be a father, husband, Christian, church member that runs a small group and helps lead a mental health ministry, and run this website. I attempt with moderate success at self-care, reading the Bible enough, exercise, helping with my kids homework, chores, getting enough sleep, hanging out with friends while playing video games, and not putting on weight.
The idea of adding another thing to my plate, to add a resolution of some thing “I definitely need to do” seems exhausting. As with anyone else, I only have 24 hours in my day and whatever that thing I had identified has not been a priority yet.
To be fair, there are probably many things that I could get rid of in my life that are not important. Looking at social media before bed, watching YouTube videos, and being lazy.
So what if we instead of adding things to our lives, begin to identify how to say no to things in our lives now?
I want to be clear, there is zero expectation of filling that time with something else to stay busy, unless it is something I have already said is a priority. I’m saying no in order to have time available for when I have something important and not filling it with another to-do or pointless thing.
Honestly though, that’s the easy part of filling time up. The hard part is truly going to be saying no. How many times have you said you are going to diet and then still eat that chocolate or slice of pizza? How many times have you given up coffee or social media for Lent and then failed or jumped right back in after Easter? Saying no to something is hard. Saying no to something and continuing it for a year is very hard.
But having the freedom to do something in the future if the opportunity arises without worrying about actually sounds refreshing. The freedom of my brain, my heart, and my soul to relax feels foreign at times that I need to go back to it. To have time with God and simply be present in front of Him without being busy and distracted actually makes me tear up thinking about it.
And so I invite you to join me in saying no. Maybe you make it formal and say no to one new thing a month. Maybe it is simply to find one thing that has truly taking up too much of your life and you need to fight for it back. Regardless, I hope 2022 you find more freedom in life and identity in Christ.