Reflecting and Setting Intentions. Mental Health Journey.

So 2017 ended a few days ago – I know I’m late on the ball here but I want to do some reflections and then set some intentions for 2018.

Reflecting on a past year when you are struggling with anxiety and depression, is strange. I see moments where I struggled and moments when I thrived. I had moments of pure joy and moments of pure pain. I had moments when I was proud of myself and moments when I was ashamed. But that’s probably for every person who reflects back, so what makes it more difficult for a person with anxiety and depression? First of all, I think I am a lot harder on myself than others may be. Yes, I had moments of intense pride – but I tend to focus on my failures. I focus on the times when I messed up. Moments that I’m ashamed of.

I wish I focused on the times when I did a climb I thought I couldn’t do. When I did a hard twenty-three-mile hike in a day. When I earned my master’s degree. Instead, I focus on the time when I had a panic attack in public. When I lost a friend due to anxiety. When my heart hurt for a week. When I laid on the floor for an hour with no energy to get up. These are the moments I tend to fixate on. So when I look at 2017 with my anxiety and depression lens, I see the hard times and how I failed.

I have to force myself to see the good of the past year. To see how I no longer lay on the floor for an hour due to depression. That I am better at controlling my anxiety attacks now. That I am more self-aware than I have ever been. That I am happier than I have been in an incredibly long time.

This past year has been a year of pain and growth. It becomes important to recognize the fact that I have come so far. That I am proud of myself. Marking that is important. List that. Throughout the year I list the places I have traveled and books I finished. I saw a friend post a photo of a journal she keeps and lists the joys and pains she had through the year. I really love this idea. It keeps you focused on what is actually happening in your life versus what your anxiety and depression want you to believe.

So when reflecting on your 2017, acknowledge the hard times and how you have grown, but also look at the happy moments and keep those close to you as well.

After reflecting on my 2017, I start to look forward to 2018. What do I want to accomplish? What type of person do I want to be? You see, I’m not a huge fan of new year resolutions. I like to view every day as an opportunity for a new start. But it is a good excuse to set intentions for yourself.

2018 IntentionsSo in 2018, I want to:
1. Take better care of myself
2. Forgive myself
3. Keep growing
4. Explore the world
5. Learn more
6. Grow my work

These are broad. I don’t know where this year will take me. I don’t know where I will even be in a year. I have goals, but there always open to change. By setting broad intentions, I can adapt to where this life brings me. I used to be pretty hard on myself. With anxiety and depression, I wanted to get better faster. I wanted to be okay. But after this year I learned that it’s a process. It’s about growing and learning. By knowing that it’s not a linear process. I want to take it easy on myself.

This is the type of thing that works for me. What works for you may be different. But when struggling with anxiety and depression, don’t be so hard on yourself with this new year. It can be a lot of pressure. But take care of yourself. Forgive yourself. Do what you can. If all you can do today is brush your hair – that’s okay. But keep doing you and do all that you can to be your happiest and most authentic self. Anxiety and depression don’t make this time of the year easy, so make it a little easier on yourself.

So happy new year everyone! Looking forward to 2018 and where it takes me.

If you want to follow along on my journey more closely follow me on Instagram at sylvmarcia!

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