Welcome to our Youth Talk Blog, a section dedicated to youth lived-experiences with mental health and wellbeing, with weekly blog posts from diverse young people’s perspectives. This is a positive, fun and resourceful space, showcasing young people thriving and connecting with healthful activities, resources and support. This post has been written by Jess, our Community Education volunteer, who is a 23-year-old psychology graduate.
I have found this year more than ever, to be a unique one. I have found out how interesting it is to hear the point of view of others, and their experiences of what they have done or may have learnt throughout. For myself, I find 2021 was the year in which I have experienced the most growth, in terms of learning more things about myself and adjusting to certain aspects in my life, such as my relationships, for the better. Living through a pandemic, it is normal for things we previously perceived as small to become more significant and make us more grateful for. Things such as spending time with family and friends, going out, and moving around the country even. I have found one of the most important things I have taken away from this past year is the importance of friendship and the close relationships around me. This is the first year I have been completely out on my own flatting, compared to living in university accommodation or back home with my family. I am grateful to say I have created my own little family in Auckland with the friends I live with, and also those I do not. I have also been given the sobering experience of learning to know who your real friends are, and that these should be people who lift you up and make you feel like the best version of yourself. It is important to know the difference between the people in your life who do this and the ones who do not. In my experience, my decisions to let go of some of these relationships who do not impact me meaningfully have made me happier and more at peace. Going forward, this makes me more excited for what's to come, and knowing I have newfound strength and experience to go forward.
Looking back on the year, it is natural to think of highs and lows, and what the next aims might be for the future. The time of the new year brings forward the opportunity to start fresh again. To give yourself the best chance to succeed in achieving your new year's resolution, it is important to make sure these are not based on other people’s or society’s opinions or having a goal with no realistic plan. For example, one of my goals is to spend less time on devices and be more present, this can be achieved by doing things like switching off data or Wi-Fi connection. This makes it less tempting for me to constantly check it in times when I do not want or need to. It is also important to be kind to yourself, especially in times when you may be feeling like you are not making as much progress as one would hope with certain goals. It is important to know that it can be a challenge. For myself, I find it encouraging to visualise the end goal which motivates me to keep on going. However, it is also okay for some resolutions to fail or not go ahead. Instead of feeling disappointed, this could be an opportunity to learn and grow. For example, a goal such as going to the gym three times a week, could not have worked out due to how unrealistic it was. Circumstances such as being in lockdowns have made these kind of resolutions fail. Instead this could be altered to doing a 20 minute at home workout. This can be starting a small attainable goal which can lead to achieving the ultimate one of staying active (or looking after your body).
It can also be difficult to come up with resolutions. These questions tend to pop up during this time of year, often leaving people puzzled and searching for answers. It can be helpful to find what gives you meaning, this will bring more positive experiences into your life. Questions such as what gives you contentment? If it is something like gardening, this can become a resolution to fit this in your life more. It can also be useful to tell a friend about your resolutions, this way you can have someone there to support you or hold you accountable for when slip ups occur, or to help you get back on track when you are struggling.
Writing things down, planning and creating realistic goals to achieve in my routine helped me getting great satisfaction. In doing this you will be on track for having attainable goals/resolutions which reflect who you are and what you truly want to accomplish.