Put mental health first in the New Year: January Mental Health Memo

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Put Mental Health First in the New Year

About the Author: Julie Aune is the Director of Social Services at the Human Services Center.

Julie is a Licensed Certified Social Worker and Qualified Mental Health Professional.

As you ring in the New Year, remember every day is an opportunity for a fresh beginning. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. Our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. Here are some tips on ways to put your mental health first in 2023.


Set realistic goals and allow for flexibility.

Be sure to set goals that are realistic and attainable for you. Results might be slow-moving and that is ok! It is more productive to set small, incremental goals rather than extreme expectations. Try to avoid setting rigid timelines and be sure to do what works for you. Offer yourself flexibility and give yourself grace. Each day is a new day.


Cultivate relationships.

Surround yourself with people who welcome you for who you are. Around the holidays, it can be easy to get caught up in a variety of social activities and lose track of the deeper purpose – celebrating the values that bring you together. Make plans early in the new year to foster meaningful relationships with those you were unable to connect with in 2022.


Practice self-acceptance.

Often, a New Year’s resolution will focus on developing ways to improve our physical appearance. Instead of trying to change your appearance, use the new year as an opportunity to practice self-acceptance. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. Take time out of your day for you and your mental health. This may include asking for help when you need it, prioritizing rest, or making time to do something fun.


Be grateful.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, people who are consciously more grateful see improvements in overall happiness. Take some time today, and every day to write down or think about what you are grateful for, big or small.  


There will be good days and bad days in 2023 for all of us. If you are having a tough time, be kind to yourself and seek out support if you need it. Support may be a family member, friend, or professional. It is important to trust yourself to make it through each day. Celebrate your progress every chance you get.


Wishing you all a wonderful New Year!


If you or someone you know is struggling this holiday season, help is available. Call the South Dakota Treatment Resource Hotline at 1-800-920-4343. Help can also be found by calling 211 or texting your zip code to 898211.



The mission of the Human Services Center (HSC) is to provide individuals who are mentally ill or chemically dependent with effective, individualized professional treatment enabling them to achieve their highest level of personal independence in the most therapeutic environment.


To read previous editions of the Mental Health Memo visit https://dss.sd.gov/keyresources/news.aspx#mhmemo .