For those coping with depression, the new year doesn’t always bring excitement and thoughts of change. If anything, the new year can create feelings of sadness, guilt, and exacerbate depression symptoms as following through on resolutions can be challenging. The majority of time, people put unrealistic expectations on themselves and the pressure can be too much.

If only it were as easy as setting the resolution of “stop being depressed,” but unfortunately life does not work this way and coping with depression can harder on some days than others. But, it is possible to set goals to attain life improvement. The key is to not make a huge list of expectations. This is not beneficial, and it will make you feel worse when you cannot meet the unrealistic goals you have made. It is equally important to recognize possible signs of depression

When dealing with depression, it is important to start small when setting goals. Focus on one goal at a time and build from there. The key to remember is that progress may not always be linear; some days will be better than others, but that doesn’t mean you are not making progress overall. Focus on building momentum and celebrate the small victories along the way.

If you are in need of some inspiration, a great goal to set for yourself is to work on positive coping skills. Having a solid set of positive coping skills to fall back on when your mental health is not in a good spot is important. You can do this by coming up with small strategies that will help you focus on things you can control. Just sitting down with a pen and paper to write down this goal is making a positive change and allowing your thoughts to go in the direction you choose.

Or, maybe goal setting is not in the cards right now or even for this year. There is nothing that says you have to set a new year’s resolution. Don’t push yourself if you don’t feel like you are capable right now with your mental health. If goal setting will only stress you out more, do what is best for you and put your health first. Go out and have your year.

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