End of year reflections for emotional wellness

Chido Madzvamutse Mental Wellness

As discussed in previous articles, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a meaningful contribution to their community.

As we draw near the end of the year, many of us will be thinking about our goals and objectives for the year that has passed as well as hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

It is important for us to take time to reflect on the past; to rest and recharge as well as strategise and prepare for the year ahead as part of our mental wellness journey.

What is self-reflection and why is it important?

Self-reflection or introspection is a mental process to better understand our thoughts, emotions, behaviours, interactions with others and why we do what we do. Self-reflection will help us:

  • To become more self-aware and to grow in our ability to manage our thoughts, emotions and behaviours in appropriate and healthy ways.
  • To make sense of our life experiences and gain better mental clarity.
  • To help us plan for the future through learning from our experiences.
  • To help us manage change in our lives and face challenges in better ways.
  • To become more intentional about how we live our lives.
  • To help us realise the cost of negative relationships and the value of positive relationships in our lives.

What self-reflective questions can we ask ourselves as the year ends?

As we reflect on becoming emotionally aware, we can ask:

  • How aware have I been about my emotions this year, how have I dealt with difficult emotions, how can improve on this next year?
  • Who was I able to be emotionally vulnerable to this year?
  • What was my self-talk like this year, how positive are my thoughts towards myself and to others?- What were my major stressors this year, how well did I deal with stress and can I manage stress better in the coming year?

As we reflect on our relationships and social and emotional support network, we can ask:

  • Who was part of my social and emotional support network this year, who did I receive help from and who did I provide help to this year?
  • Who did I “do life” with this year and which relationships do I want to be more intentional about building next year?
  • Who was the most positive influence in my life this year and how can I strengthen that relationship?
  • Who were some of the negative or destructive influences in my life and what relationships do I need to consider changing to improve my mental well-being?

As we reflect on our ability to problem solve and our mental flexibility, we can ask:

  • What goals did I set for myself this last year and what did I manage to achieve?
  • What challenges did I face this year in my life and how did I deal with them?
  • What have I learnt about myself and about life this year?
  • How can I plan better for the year ahead?

As we reflect on living a balanced life, we can ask?

  • Have I spent my life wisely this year and how can I make better use of my time in the new year?
  • What habits have been most useful this year and what habits do I need to improve on to live a more balanced, emotionally healthier life?
  • What good memories did I make this year and how can I intentionally make good memories in the year ahead?
  • How well did I take care of my body this year, how well did I sleep, exercise, eat in a healthy way and how can I improve my physical well-being next year?

As we reflect on living a life with purpose and meaning, we can ask:

  • How have I grown this year emotionally and mentally and in what areas of my life do I need to grow?
  • What is my vision for my life, what was my vision for this year and am I still growing towards it?
  • In what ways have I inspired someone else or encouraged someone else as I lived my life?
  • In what ways have I made a meaningful impact on others?

Making self-reflection a regular habit

As we reflect over 2022 and prepare for 2023, let us consider how self-reflection can become a daily exercise. This can help us review each day, reflect on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Through this we become more aware of ourselves and our emotions and also become more intentional about how we live out each day.

As we close out this year may we continue to improve our emotional awareness, strengthen our relationships, grow in our ability to be mentally flexible and develop a problem solving approach to life, to live a balanced life with a sense of purpose and meaning in our journey towards mental wellness. If you think that you or someone you know may be struggling with a mental health problem linked to the stress of the ending year, please contact your nearest health care provider and get help.

 Association of Health Care Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) article written by Dr Chido Rwafa-Madzvamutse. Feedback :(www.ahfoz.org; [email protected])


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