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Managing mental health and setting goals for 2021


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Human Resources

This month, we begin to plan for a healthier 2021 with setting realistic self-care goals and intentions.

2021 has finally arrived after a long and difficult year draws to a close. As discussed in our previous blog post, the combination of the pandemic, along with social and political conflict have contributed to a significant spike in stress and lowered quality of mental health. These problems we all face will not disappear after the New Year, even as we await wide availability for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is where a classic tradition of making New Year’s resolutions, or what we will refer to interchangeably as goals or intentions, can be really helpful in centering yourself and setting attainable goals for the New Year.

As noted in this article from People, surveys have shown that people have on average largely changed their new year’s resolutions compared to previous years.  More people are labeling their resolutions as “intentions,” reflecting the knowledge many gained this year that goals can be hampered or need to change over the course of the year. There is less reported focus on material and financial objectives, despite many challenges people are experiencing with finances this year, and more on maintaining connections with family and experiences such as travel that were limited this year. The value of staying in touch with loved ones or reaching out to old friends cannot be overstated.

In addition, we wanted to offer these articles that offer some guidance for setting your own goals this year.  We hope this will keep you mindful of your mental health and wellness going into the winter months of 2021.

  • This post from the John Hopkins newsletter highlights different kinds of resolutions, focusing on healthy assertiveness goals and “unplugging."
  • Fastcompany shares an article on goal setting for 2021, on fighting the “why bother?” mindset, and exploring different types of goals to set, such as making routines and how to set them realistically.
  • PBS offers an article on what experts are recommending for goal setting, the importance of setting resolutions, and the value of connection and “turning the focus outward."
  • This post focuses on the value of resolutions in a pandemic, being particularly cognizant of the challenge of maintaining focus during the most difficult months yet of the pandemic.
  • Marketwatch shares these helpful guidelines for those who do set financial goals in 2021, in order to keep yourself stable and prepared as best as possible for financial disruption

Finally, we wish as always to continue to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health supports and talking to a counselor. This has been a difficult time and talking to a professional can help with setting goals, as well as providing general support and connection in a time of isolation. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at the Employee Assistance Program at 617-635-2200 for help in coping with stress, goal setting, and general mental health support. We can help connect you to long-term resources as well. We wish you good luck and good health going into the New Year.