Jade Goh of The Mind Faculty shares her expert advice.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that things don’t go according to plan. The uncertainty has caused us more stress and anxiety, which has made it hard to feel hopeful for the new year. Although it seems like nothing is going to change anytime soon, we can still look forward to having a fresh start in January by practicing gratitude.

Gratitude can help plant the seeds for hope in 2021. Start by making a list of things you are grateful for this past year. Did you get to spend more time with your family, learn a new skill or have more time to relax? Think of what you can bring into the new year. By taking the time to focus on the good things that have happened, you’ll find yourself feeling more optimistic about the upcoming year!

However, it can still be hard to muster up the motivation to make New Year’s resolutions. There are two parts to feeling motivated. Firstly, you need to have something that you want to achieve, and for the second part, you need to know that there is a way to achieve this. 

We may feel unmotivated to make resolutions, such as lose a certain amount of weight if we feel that our plans have been derailed by gym closures. When dealing with uncertainty and stress, we need to distinguish between what we can and can’t control.

We only have control over our actions. Instead of focusing on the destination, make resolutions about the journey. For example, instead of “I want to lose 5 kgs before February”, say “I want to move my body 20 minutes a day”. Moving your body could be walking up and down the stairs at your apartment complex, or following an exercise video on Youtube. 

Don’t pressure yourself to achieve your New Year’s resolutions. Stress triggers the automatic habitual behaviour we’ve established over the years. You may find yourself retreating back to your comfort zone more easily. This is where mindfulness comes into play.

Mindfulness focuses on what really matters, and helps us stay on track or get back on track. By becoming more aware of our internal state, and the feelings that drive our behaviour, we’ll be able to make mindful choices towards more helpful behaviour.

Having goals is important as it helps us know where we are going. However, it’s equally important for us to manage our expectations – if we set them too high, we may feel discouraged.

Learn more about Mindful New Year’s Resolutions here.
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During a time of social distancing and restricted movement, we find ourselves physically isolated – but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect with each other. It’s actually essential that we do so during times like these because now, more than ever, we need each other the most!

The rise in coronavirus cases has evolved into another national crisis that’s called for us to support our own communities. If you’ve been struggling to deal with problems on your own – self-care isn’t enough to get you through this pandemic. With community care, you’ll be provided the support needed during these hard times, making collective care key to getting through this.

But what exactly is community care? It’s the compassion we show others, whether one or many, and the actions we take to do so – regardless of the size. Here are a few ways you can practice community care during the CMCO:

  1. Support small businesses

During the first lockdown, small businesses took a big hit – seeing the closure of many stores and restaurants across the nation. The other remaining enterprises have been struggling to stay afloat, which is why it would really help to order from home-based food businesses, buy groceries from local farmers, and shop local products from home-grown brands.

2. Check in on your family, friends and colleagues

The uncertainty has made it a stressful and anxiety-inducing time for us all, so if you have the mental capacity to do so – check in on others and let them know you’re there for them. Even if you’re unable to, show that you still care by sending them an emoji or even a song!

3. Help those in need

You don’t always have to donate money to help, you can also volunteer your time and skills. Start a fundraising campaign, help raise funds by sharing an existing campaign, or go through your belongings to find things you can donate.

4. Check for facts and fake news

This is important for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing as the spread of fake news and rumours have caused many to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Stay informed and double check any news you receive before sharing it – make sure it comes from a reputable source!

5. Be more eco-friendly

For hygiene reasons, the use of disposable plastic products has rapidly grown – causing the pandemic to have a negative effect on the environment as well. Make the effort to minimise your single-use plastic waste by switching to reusable bottles, cutlery and containers. Don’t forget to sanitize!

Community care isn’t here to replace self-care, it’s a necessary addition to it. Take care of yourself and others during this time – the only way we can curb COVID-19 again is by working together!