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Top 8 New Year's Resolutions to Make if You Have Anxiety

Making unrealistic New Year's resolutions can be damaging to your mental health. Here's how to do it right.

Illustration of a woman standing in the light beam of an open door with a pink background.
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Resolutions are the decision to do something. At the start of each year, we make resolutions to be happier or become the best versions of ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us let go of a few of our goals when the going gets tough. 

New Year's resolutions about your mental health should never be sacrificed. However, making goals too big for us to meet can backfire and hurt our well-being. So, take care when making them. Here are the top eight New Year's resolutions to help manage your anxiety.

8 New Year's resolutions that you can actually stick to

Resolutions don't need to be sweeping declarations of action. They should be living concepts that you can change and tweak as needed. Always remember to act with self-compassion. Your goals should be made to help you live a happier life, not bully yourself into ignoring your circumstances. 

1. Embrace your anxiety

Can we stop feeling bad about having anxiety in 2023? While feeling embarrassed about being anxious is normal, it's not necessary. Trying to hide your anxiety will only make things worse. Embracing it is one of the best things you can do to help address your needs. 

Accepting your anxiety means doing what works best for you and not worrying about how it looks. When you've accepted that you are experiencing anxiety, you can choose how you address it. You may practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises to reduce anxiety symptoms in the moment. 

You can also track your progress with mental health apps that offer educational content and daily check-ins. 

2. Talk about it

After you've learned to accept and embrace your anxiety, talking about it with others will be easier. Not only does talking about your anxiety help break down any stigma left, but it's also important for your relationships' health. The people around you should know your triggers, your comfort areas and when you need help. 

Your anxiety needs to be something you can talk about with people. It will make it easier for you to ask for help when needed. 

Two friends having a conversation outside while drinking wine
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3. Compliment yourself

It's easy to get down on yourself when you're feeling anxious, especially if your anxiety is getting in the way of things in your life. Make a habit in the new year to compliment yourself more often. Maybe it's something small, like the cute shirt you're wearing, or something more substantial, like congratulating yourself for navigating a difficult situation. 

It's a small part of self-care that will go a long way. Celebrating your wins will help you reframe automatic negative thinking and see the positive side.

4. Prioritize sleep

This one might have been on your list already, but sleep is even more important for people with anxiety. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. It's a catch-22 -- sometimes anxiety is the thing that keeps you up, but not getting enough sleep will make your anxiety worse. 

Simple tips to improve your sleep in the new year:

  • Cut back on coffee: Coffee can ruin your ability to sleep and make you feel more anxious. A good rule is to stop drinking coffee at least six hours before bed.
  • Set a regular bedtime and stick to it: Our bodies run on a sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm. Sticking to a regular bedtime routine is the best way to keep your circadian rhythm in check.
  • Use natural remedies: If you have trouble sleeping, try nighttime tea to help you relax. You can also try teas for anxiety and stress to calm your nerves. 

5. Declutter your home

Why save your cleaning for the spring when you can do it now and see tangible improvements in your mental health? Living in a cluttered space can make it hard to concentrate and increase stress. One study found that women who lived in messy homes had higher cortisol levels than those who were organized. 

You don't have to immediately transform your house into a minimalist dream. Instead, make smaller goals that will contribute to the larger goal of decluttering your home. Start in the rooms you spend the most time in and work your way out.

Man standing in the middle of his dining room, smiling while holding a vacuum.
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6. Regular exercise

Physical movement is an essential part of managing anxiety. Exercise can help you combat stressors, navigate emotions and decrease anxiety. Essentially, you can use exercise as an outlet for stress. Making exercise a weekly goal is a great New Year's resolution for 2023. 

It doesn't need to be a full gym routine with weights and fancy machines. You don't need to go to the gym if that triggers your anxiety. You can work out at home or integrate regular walking into your routine. Remember to make your resolutions realistic and work your way up to more rigorous exercises if that's your end goal. 

7. Conquer one thing that scares you

For some people, anxiety is holding them back from achieving their desired goals. A long-term New Year's resolution for 2023 can be finding something you can overcome. For example, public speaking or flying on an airplane. The idea is to pick one thing you're anxious about and try to conquer it. 

You don't have to jump in head first; make a plan for how you're going to tackle it. Slowly push yourself out of your comfort zone by trying new things to build up for the big one. Make sure you equip yourself with coping strategies to combat stress, like journaling your feelings. 

Young woman staring out of a window during the golden hour
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8. Go to therapy

If your anxiety affects your ability to function by impacting your job, habits or relationships, you may consider going to therapy in 2023. That's a big step in your wellness journey. Give yourself a round of applause. 

Knowing where to start can take time and effort. Thankfully, there are many therapy resources out there. You may want to meet with a therapist in a traditional in-person session. Or you may feel more comfortable doing therapy online through a service such as Talkspace or BetterHelp. There is no wrong way to do it.

Build steps into your resolution where you address therapy costs and find the right therapist for your needs. There is more to going to therapy than just going. Completing these steps early makes you less likely to get discouraged and stick with them. 

Read more: 8 Affordable Therapy Options That Don't Require Insurance

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.