Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Here are some ideas and questions we can all think about in looking ahead at another year of life.
1. What did we do right this year? Is there something we're proud of and would like to repeat, specifically or symbolically?
I, for one, am proud to have given a small music scholarship, a bicycle to a child, books and clothes to little children, and soup, flowers and toys to sick people. The kind of joy I've had from that type of giving must happen again.
2. What did we stop doing that made us glad?
I stopped taking insurance cases because I hate the bureaucracy involved. I stopped doing long-term therapy, so I wouldn't have to worry while traveling. These types of work were good for a long time but it's enough now.
3. What did we stop doing that made us sad? Can we change it?
I can't run now because of my knee injury followed by a blood clot. I don't know if I'll run again in two months. But, if not, I'll do whatever I can to stay fit--walk, bike, swim, anything rather than nothing.
I spend most of the winter in Florida now, which is lovely, but I miss my Christmas decorations up North, my art, my friends, my Scrabble club, and my office when I'm gone. So, I'll continue to go back to PA on and off for now and make friends here and, also, become so engaged in doing mental health workshops in Florida that I don't need the stimulation at "home."
4. What do we like about ourselves that we want to continue? What about ourselves do we want to change?
I've been more patient and tolerant with age, some of it learned the hard way. I'm more spiritual, more respectful, more grateful to be alive and quieter. Let me continue to improve. Especially, I like myself better when I don't have to make a point but let others figure it out themselves.
The wish I have for everyone for the New Year is the blessing of introspection with perspective and caring for self and others.