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New Year’s Resolutions for Women Living with Mental Illness






The New Year is one of my favorite times of year. Being a time of renewal and re-commitment, nothing is as motivating as the New Year is for me. Every year I get in the mood by making a list of my goals and resolutions for the New Year. One of my main resolutions this year is to maintain my mental health. I’ve finally gotten to a place of stability and I really hope to maintain that in 2017. Below I will list some resolutions that have helped me to get to a place of good mental health and also some things that I plan to add to my list this year. Enjoy!

1.      Get moving for at least 30 minutes every day (walking, dancing, yoga, pilates). 



Exercise is not just important for physical health, but also for mental and emotional health as well. Research shows that exercise affects mood greatly. The American Psychological Association reports that in studies on people with severe depression, participants who were prescribed exercise in conjunction with antidepressants had a greater rate of remission than those who were only given meds (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx). I have noticed that I feel so much better when I try to move my body on a daily basis. Even when I do something that is low impact like yoga, I notice a big difference on those weeks when I am moving regularly than when I am not. 

2.       Make and keep appointments with mental health professionals.

Oh the importance of actually keeping appointments. I know that when we are down it can be hard to even want to go see our psychiatrists, but it is so essential to our mental health that we see our psychiatrists as regularly as they request. They have the knowledge that is needed to manage our illness. Making it a goal to keep these appointments will put you a step ahead to getting to wellness. This goes for psychiatrist, case workers, and therapists as well. 

3.       See a therapist once a week. 

Seeing a therapist has saved my life on more occasions than I can count. Therapy has helped me to heal from my sexual trauma, my once dysfunctional relationship with my mother, and it has also helped me to cope with the symptoms of my illness. Therapy has so many benefits. It can help you: understand your illness, define and reach wellness goals, overcome fears or insecurities, cope with stress, make sense of past traumatic experiences, separate your true personality from the mood swings caused by your illness, identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms, and much more (http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=wellness_brochures_psychotherapy). I have seen a therapist for most of my adult life, but I have become lax with keeping my appointments and seeing one regularly. This is one of my resolutions this year because I know that it will only enhance my stability. 

4.       Keep a weekly journal of mood changes.



I learned to do this when I was in a psychotherapy group based on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). We had “diary cards” that we had to fill out every night and then when we met once a week, we would report our highs and lows for the week. I found that this was so helpful because I was able to pinpoint when my mood was fluctuating and what my triggers might have been. I don’t keep a diary card everyday anymore, but I do keep a journal where every Sunday, I write what my mood was like that week. I’ve been able to pinpoint when my low points might be and what my triggers are, which is helpful in preventing both depressive and manic episodes. 

5.        Write a budget and have an emergency “money keeper” for manic episodes. 

Having a budget is important for me because I have guidelines to adhere to when I get manic. The spending has gotten me in trouble in the past so having a budget where I allocate my money to specific areas has been necessary. Also having a budget written down can help for those times when you get too manic or depressed to handle your money on your own. Have someone you trust handle that business for you for a few weeks. It can really bring stress down to a level that is tolerable.

6.       Make a self- care bucket and utilize it on low mood days.

One of my therapists gave me this idea. He told me to get an old shoe box and fill it with reminders of only things that I love and that make me feel good. I was to pull it out on those days when I really wanted to give up. I haven’t had one of those suicidal days in a long time, but I still keep my box just in case. In it I keep pictures of all of my nieces and nephews, a list of my favorite uplifting songs, copies of my favorite poems, the telephone numbers of people I trust the most and who I would be willing to talk to in those dark hours, phone numbers of suicide hotlines, little notes about my favorite days on earth, keepsakes that mean a lot to me, and paper and pen because to me writing can cure any ill!

7.       Eat a balanced diet.



I’m not great at this so it is one of my resolutions for 2017. I know that a balanced diet can work wonders for sleep and mood, both of which can be a struggle for me. I have recently changed to a vegetarian diet for more moral reasons and I think this will help me to eat more foods that are nourishing to my body, which will in turn help my mind. 

8.       Read 10 books that encourage inspiration and passion. 

This is one that I have included on my list of resolutions in the past and I plan to do so again this year. I am a believer that we are what we surround ourselves with so I plan to surround myself with positive encouragement to live my life passionately and with inspiration. I also love reading so this will feel good to commit to this goal. If you’re not a reader, you could use audio books or commit to listening to an uplifting podcast or subscribe to a positive and motivating Youtuber. Make this work for you!

9.       Do one thing I love every day.

I am a very goal oriented person so taking a break can be hard to come by for me. I want to make the commitment to myself that I will nourish myself with one thing that I love every single day. Something that is not related to school or work. Something that is purely for my enjoyment. Because I deserve it and so do you! 

I hope this helps you figure out your own resolutions for 2017! Please comment what other things you are including in your list! Also, please subscribe and join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lunachicks.org! 

As always with love,
Alli B
Sonny B
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Alli B is the voice behind lunachicks.org. She is a self-defined weird (queer) black woman who is a survivor of mental illness and childhood sexual trauma. She is a lover of people and a lover of God. Alli’s mission in life is to empower and inspire those who have gone through or who are going through any type of darkness. Her loves are her family, books, writing, movies, and football (Go Broncos!). The boring stuff: Alli received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University in 2013. She is now working on her Master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and is expected to graduate in May of 2018. Alli's goal is to work with underserved populations of women and children through private practice. Her life goals include: running a successful blog, publishing her books, and becoming a successful therapist.

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