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6 Resolutions Someone With Mental Illness Can Actually Make

Sometimes it’s just out of your control. It’s not your fault — it’s your mental illness. Because no amount of positive thinking, exercise or self-care can sometimes stop you from having bad days. Instead, look forward to the days when life is just a little bit easier, which can make following through with your new year’s goals more attainable.

Here are are 6 resolutions you can make to set yourself up for success:

1. Be Kinder to Yourself 

Even though it sounds easy, it’s not. There will be days when you can’t help but blame yourself for not getting out of bed or being unable to concentrate. But remember: you’ve gotten this far. Not everyone has to fight every inch. So celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Even if they are as simple as “I got out of bed today.” You are your own worst critic, so give yourself five stars for once.

2. Take Your Time 

Not everything has to happen immediately. Your meds may not start working today. You may not feel like yourself tomorrow. But there’s always the day after that. And just because it may take you a little longer than someone else to clean your apartment or focus for long enough to read that chapter doesn’t make you broken, or less than. Don’t be afraid to take all the time you need. We’re all getting there eventually.

3. Remember to Breathe 

On my worst days, I have to remind myself to breathe. To unclench my jaw. To uncurl my fists. When life just isn’t going your way, take a breath. Do nothing, for 15 seconds. Guide your racing thoughts back behind the gates. Inhale, then exhale. Focus as hard as you can on the sound your breath makes because sometimes it helps silence all the other voices crying out for your attention.

4. Slow to Anger 

Some days, irritability will do its best to run your life. On days when the weather makes you want to scream and the hole in the sock causes you to rip out your hair, remember this: anger is often the easy way out.

For me, when I can’t stop replaying a situation in my head or when I’m shaking with rage, I repeat this mantra over and over: Anger is easy. Love is hard. If it takes seconds, or minutes, or hours, at the end of the day it’s so much better to be filled with love than hatred. And it’s so difficult. And I don’t always succeed. But I think trying and failing is better than not trying at all.

5. Love Yourself, Even on the Bad Days

During moments where I question my self-worth, loving myself seems unattainable. But playing this one little game seems to help me get back on track, and this is how it works: find one thing you love about yourself and repeat it for a full minute. The next minute, find another one. On bad days, I max out at three minutes. On good days, I can go for 10. Even if its something as little as “I love my eyelashes” or “I’m really great at baking cookies,” inflating your self-worth just a little might help your day get a little better.

6. Forgiveness

You won’t always be able to follow these steps. Some days, loving yourself will feel as fruitless as chasing your shadow. But that’s OK. Because the sun will always rise again tomorrow and you can start chasing anew. So on the days when even breathing feels like you’re gasping for air, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the insults you’ve inwardly thrown, forgive yourself for not believing you can do this. Forgive yourself for your less than productive days. Because you have so many more productive ones ahead.

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Unsplash photo via Connor Irwin