Jumping into the New Year with Healthy Coping Skills

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, symbolizing courage, kindness and good fortune. While specific celebrations vary across Asian cultures, including Vietnam where they’ll welcome the Year of the Cat, many practices emphasize family and reuniting with relatives.

The new year is also a great time to recommit to healthy habits — and try some new ones. This year, in addition to focusing on physical health, your family might want to set some goals to boost your mental and emotional wellbeing.

On the Pulse shares some helpful ideas from the latest edition of Good Growing to get you started.

Attend to your physical health

Building strong coping skills requires investing in your physical health. Be sure you’re eating nutritious foods, moving your body and getting enough sleep.

Replace negative self-talk with affirmations

Pay attention to the messages running through your mind. Sometimes, we need to override them with positive self-talk — encouraging, empowering messages of self-acceptance.

Break big tasks down into smaller tasks

Especially when you feel overwhelmed, remember that consistent ‘baby steps’ can get you to your goal surprisingly quickly.

Learn relaxation techniques

Explore some simple breathing exercises and meditation techniques designed to calm and center you.

Validate feelings for ourselves and others

Validation is a tool that shows your child, or anyone, that you understand and accept their thoughts and feelings. It requires sitting quietly and listening intently — without expressing any judgment or trying to ‘fix’ them. We can also take a step back and examine what’s going on inside of ourselves by acknowledging and identifying the emotions we’re experiencing.

Know your emotional triggers

By paying careful attention and learning exactly what can set us off, we can recognize triggering events when they happen, and not automatically react.

Let go of perfection

Perfect really is the enemy of good. Striving for perfection can paralyze us and make it impossible to complete a task or reach a goal. It can also alienate others. Commit to realistic expectations and embrace being fully human.

Remember what’s helped you cope in the past

When you’re going through a tough time, think back to recall what’s been helpful, and not helpful, when you’ve been in similar situations.

Developing healthy coping skills requires some help. We all need to build a community of supporters we can count on. Faithful friends, trusted family members, wise counselors and expert healthcare professionals can all help us on this journey.