DAWNINGS: Better mental health in 2024

By Rev. Dr. Dawn Darwin Weaks

Pastor, Connection Christian Church

Resolutions abound as we roll into the new year. Here’s suggestions of resolutions for improving mental health from one of my favorite ministers, mental health advocate Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund:

1. Make time for people that bring you joy.

2. Connect regularly with a small group of people who you trust and with whom you can be yourself.

3. Let people know when you are struggling. Let 2018 be the year of vulnerability and truth-telling.

4. Prioritize regular sleep cycles to maximize the restorative power of sleep.

5. Get a check up from the neck up. Ask your doctor for a depression screening.

6. Spend more time in nature and make it a regular part of your week.

7. Get certified in mental health first aid.

8. Engage in face-to-face conversations (or on the phone or FaceTime) with a friend at least once a day.

9. Develop a spiritual practice that helps reduce stress.

10. Move your body in ways that invigorates you and restores a sense of inner balance.

11. Moderate caffeine, sugar, and alcohol consumption.

12. Educate yourself and talk to people about mental health as a way to reduce stigma and shame.

13. Commit to seeing a therapist or counselor long-term to strengthen your insight and self awareness.

14. Take your meds.

15. As much as possible, say “no” to the things/people/activities that consistently cause negative stress.

16. Say “yes” to opportunities where you feel relaxed, playful, rested, and will be loved, encouraged, and supported.

17. Promise to tell someone who cares about you if you ever feel like harming yourself.

18. Always hold onto hope, even if you have to let go of something.

If you enjoyed this list of tips, we invite you to hear Dr. Lund speak, answer questions, and lead discussion in small groups at a hearty luncheon. Please join us for “Blessed Youth: Caring for Youth Mental Health in the Permian Basin,” this Tuesday, January 16, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Wagner-Noël Rea Greathouse room. Tickets are available at tinyurl.com/3ahu77hb for $15.