Alena Shekhovtcova

36 Small Changes I’m Making In 2023 That Will Benefit My Mental Health

Every year, it’s always the same. We watch the ball drop, we kiss, and then I go to bed, waking up on a January 1st that feels no different from the last night in December. 

Only this year, it did feel different. 

After dealing with what may have surely been my worst year so far, the last couple of months saw an improvement in my mental health. Over several months, I’ve been able to go from hardly showering to washing every day. I went from being unable to eat anything to not thinking twice about cooking something by hand. I went from crying about work to asking my boss if I had a future with the company because the treatment I was receiving wasn’t reflective of an employee who was valued. 

It’s just the tip of the iceberg, but on New Year’s Eve, it made me realize that there is so much growth I’ve experienced but still so much left to be had. Instead of making some impossible plan, I’ll never reach, here are 36 small New Year’s resolutions I’m making—and continuing to implement—in 2023 to better my mental health and quality of life. 

1. Hiding all of my likes on Instagram so I’m not constantly comparing myself to others or using it as a measure of my self-worth.

2. Unfollowing toxic celebrity accounts, like the Kardashians and anyone else who posts superficial content or just content I’m no longer interested in. 

3. Recognizing the people who bring me down, stress me out, or take advantage of me. Ending those relationships takes time and courage, but at least recognizing who needs to be cut out of my life and why is a good place to start. 

4. Removing Facebook “friends” I don’t speak to and haven’t spoken to since high school. I don’t need to know what’s going on in their life, nor do they have to have a front-row seat to mine. 

5. Not deleting my comments when someone else on Facebook doesn’t agree with my opinion. 

6. Slowing down in my morning to sit with a cup of coffee instead of waking up and immediately jumping into work. 

7. Creating a daily to-do list at work. 

8. Waiting 24 hours to message someone on Facebook Marketplace about an item, because otherwise, I spend money I don’t have on crap I don’t need simply because it could go away. Waiting allows me to see if I actually want it, and most times, by the next day I forget about it anyway. 

9. Not canceling or rescheduling my doctor’s appointments because I’m too scared of the results. 

10. Adding flavor packets to my water so it’s easier to drink. 

11. Recognizing the signs of a panic attack, such as being unable to breathe, taking big gulps of air, feeling tingles in my hands, and taking a walk outside when those symptoms start. Basically, I want to channel something negative into something positive for me. 

12. Understanding the root cause of why people act the way they do…and realizing that it’s not my job to offer forgiveness if I don’t want to. 

13. Not owning what someone else is feeling. Even my husband. 

14. Not saying “no worries” or “it’s okay” when it’s actually not okay. Stop giving so many people a pass. 

15. Be in a state where I can say “yes” to opportunities that pop up, such as having a fun photoshoot with my friend or going out to dinner instead of allowing my ADHD and anxiety to make it hard to get a shower or take care of myself because all it does is circulate in a vicious cycle. 

16. Read up on ADHD to learn more about why I feel compelled to act the way I do. 

17. Set manageable goals, like having the house clean by the end of the week or writing opening paragraphs to all of my articles for an hour after work, instead of trying to tackle too much and meeting my desire to not accomplish any of it because I feel more comfortable in the chaos then I do being “ahead.”

18. Listen to my heart when I realize that a line has been crossed—at work, with friends, or at home. And say something about it. Even if it’s minor. 

19. Leaving group messages on Instagram and in general because I’m not able to handle constant day-to-day interruptions. And that’s okay. 

20. Buying extensions and adding them back in because I like the way I look more when I have longer, fuller hair. 

21. Making more time to read. I know that’s a common resolution on many people’s to-do lists, but I actually just picked up a book for the first time in months and I was so immersed in the story that I finished it in three days. And that’s a pretty magical way to spend my time, instead of watching reruns of the Office or the Middle

22. Setting boundaries when someone begins to talk about a subject that is hard for me, like cancer or motherhood. They won’t always be sensitive subjects, but if they get to be, it’s okay for me to end the conversation and walk away. 

23. Buying large, oversized towels. 

24. Playing music during my work day instead of just working in silence because doing so negatively affects my mood. 

25. Telling myself how proud I am of myself because I am. This past year saw me at my lowest, and by the end of the year I was setting boundaries with my boss, ending toxic friendships, and asking for help regarding my mental health. I made leaps and bounds, even in such a small window of time, that I’m so proud of. I don’t need someone else to tell me they’re proud of me; I can say it myself. I even think that means more. 

26. Taking a different direction when I take a walk around my neighborhood. 

27. Responding to negative emails or messages right away instead of putting them off because they make me anxious, or instead, asking my husband to look at them and respond. 

28. Taking the time to really figure out who I want in my life. Blood doesn’t make family, nor do all friendships lead there. Who treats me well? Who is supportive of me? Who brings me up instead of down? Those are my people. 

29. Physically drive to the grocery store when I start tossing around the idea of ordering something through GrubHub or Doordash. 

30. That’s another thing: drive. After my car accident, I got really scared to get behind the wheel, but now that I’m on anti-anxiety medicine, I feel more confident to get going again, which will serve my need for more independence. 

31. Not forcing myself to watch or listen to anything that makes me uncomfortable. Like cancer commercials. Or driving down certain roads I know will lead to bad memories. I don’t want to subject myself to something uncomfortable simply because “I should.” Who says?

32. Actually implement in my home some of the colors and design trends I see online and absolutely love. 

33. Stick to my Facebook Marketplace rule of selling something “first come, first served,” because every time I hold out and wait for someone, they blow me off and I end up not making a sale. I don’t get mad when other sellers tell me this stuff, so why should I feel bad if I implement the same policy? The only one who ends up missing out is me. 

34. Let go of some of my parents’ stuff. I don’t need to hold on to my mom’s clothing. I don’t need to hold on to art pencils that belonged to my dad. They deserve to go to a new home where they can be loved and used again. Holding on to excess is holding me back from moving forward. 

35. Dance in my living room. And in the kitchen when I’m making coffee because it actually lets off steam. 

36. Make the most out of where I am in this moment, whether that’s by rearranging my furniture to create a space I love or lighting a candle before I slip beneath the covers to read a chapter before bed. I can’t always just get up and fly; I have roots. And it’s okay for me to blossom where I’m planted.