Welcome to 2021! Can you believe it’s the new year already? Everyone has been through a lot in the past year, with the pandemic, a tumultuous election, and events bringing light to racial justice, just to name a few. 

To some of us, it might feel as though we’ve been waiting for 2021 to come for months. Before you return to your school or work assignments, stop and give yourself a pack on the back for making it to this point. Nothing is simple to accomplish during a pandemic, even the activities that used to come easily. So make sure to thank your body and yourself for carrying you through the year, rather than comparing what you’ve accomplished this year to the accomplishments of your friends. 

With any luck (and widespread vaccination!), the upcoming year will restore some sense of normalcy to our lives. The next few months might still be difficult, but we all have a lot to look forward to. That’s definitely something to celebrate!

Now might be the time when you start thinking about New Year’s resolutions! Like anything else from the past year, these might look different for you than they have in past years, since we still don’t know exactly what will be possible in 2021.

While that might complicate the bucket list-type plans you might have hoped for, it can also be something to embrace. The best resolutions are the simple ones, and you don’t need many resources to make a meaningful difference in your life. 

Below, we’ve listed some suggestions for resolutions to make 2021 healthier and happier for you. We encourage you to think about how these suggestions can fit into your life, and you can discuss them with your friends to hold each other accountable.

Also remember that above all else, be kind to yourself, even if you don’t stay on track!

1. Start (or re-start) journaling

The past year brought emotions to the surface for many of us that we hadn’t experienced before. There are many great ways to work through complicated emotions, including therapy or talking with friends or family. Another option that’s completely free and easy to do is journaling!

Did you know that keeping a journal can help to manage anxiety and depression and reduce stress? The good news is that there’s no wrong or right strategy for journaling, so you can experiment with the method and style that works best for you. Some people enjoy bullet journaling, while others prefer a more free-form style.

If you choose to journal, it’s important to make sure that you stay on track and write down your emotions consistently. It might help to pick a specific time each day when you will journal, such as when you wake up, after lunch, or before bed.

2. Explore new hobbies

With quarantine keeping us in our homes, some of our favorite hobbies might not be possible anymore. But do not fear! There are plenty of fun activities that you can pursue from the comfort of your home, including some quarantine DIY projects such as hand sanitizer and face masks.

Want to impress your friends with your baking prowess at parties after the pandemic is over? Get into your kitchen and try out some baking recipes for beginners. Are you crafty? You could try knitting or crocheting. If there are trails close to where you live that aren’t too crowded, getting outside regularly for hikes is a fun way to spend the weekend.

Reading is a wonderful hobby that appeals to many types of people whether you enjoy immersing yourself in magical worlds or prefer to learn more about the world we live in.

3. Check in on friends

As quarantine drags on and zoom fatigue increases, seeing your friends virtually might not have the same appeal as seeing them in real life did. It’s important to recognize when you want to take a step back from technology, as days stacked with video calls can be exhausting. At the same time, reaching out to friends can be valuable for your mental health.

If you want to avoid more video calls, opt for a phone call while walking around your neighborhood. The benefit of socializing in quarantine is that it’s now just as easy to get back in touch with those you haven’t talked to in a while as it is to call up your close friends! If you’ve fallen out of touch with an old friend, try checking in on them and offer to talk.

4. Be deliberate about screen time

As we just discussed, zoom fatigue is real, but it’s not just video calls that can be draining. With many of us working from home, it can also be exhausting to have our emails and documents in front of us on a screen all day long. While commutes used to separate our work and home lives, they are now more ingrained than ever online.

You might find it helpful to reflect on the time you spend online, and look for ways to unplug more often and for longer periods of time. If it’s possible for you and your schedule, set a time each day to turn off your electronics and pursue one of the aforementioned new hobbies instead.

Our lives may have moved online, and although the world can be scary, it still exists around us. Engaging with the real world can help us feel more grounded.

5. Take care of your body

2020 has brought a renewed interest in our physical and mental health which presents a great opportunity to think about how you can be healthier and happier in 2021. While many New Year’s resolutions have traditionally centered around goals like weight loss, it might be helpful for you to push back against this mentality. Dieting without the support of a medical professional can be dangerous, leading to eating disorders and related medical problems.

Instead, learn more about body positivity and consider how you can show kindness toward your body regardless of what the scale says! For those of us with uteri, now is a perfect time to think about how to support our reproductive health; for starters, you can work on building your health literacy.

If you’re interested in protecting your body with birth control, this can also be a time to start looking into options. At Pandia Health, we provide a free delivery service for the birth control pill, patch, or ring, which can be a great choice if you want to #SkipTheTrip to the pharmacy. With your prescription, you can also choose to make your #PeriodsOptional to get rid of the blood and cramps for good.

Health can mean a lot of different things to all of us, and we’re here to support you on your journey!

Happy New Year from the Pandia Health team!