New Year, New Me: Mental

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Taking better care of my mental health isn’t really a “new year’s resolution.” It’s more of a thing that I’ve known I had to take care of for years but didn’t, for many different reasons. Like finances, it’s become important to me to be more open about my mental health because it currently isn’t something that I talk to anyone about.

For example, I only told my mom that I was going to therapy after nearly 5 months of seeing my therapist – and even then, I was nervous to tell her! Nervous! I am very proud to work with a lot of mental health providers, and I respect their work immensely, but I’m still a bit shy to discuss my own mental health with others. Why am I so nervous about talking about mental health?

There’s a ton of reasons – social judgement being the big one – but part of my mental self-care has been adopting a “fuck it” attitude, and this feels like a great place to start.

I’m planning much more in-depth posts throughout October about my mental health care journey, but there are a couple of lessons that I’ve specifically learned during quarantine that I want to bring with me into the rest of this “new year” – read about them after the break!

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New Year, New Me: Finances

I’ve always considered myself pretty “on top” of my money. As you’ll read below, I’ve meticulously tracked my income and expenses ever since I got my first job 9 years ago, and have never let more than a week or two pass without auditing my money.

Very thankfully!, quarantine has given me some breathing room within my budget. Because of this, I’ve started to ask myself some more questions about what I want to do with my money in the long term. Though I’ve been great with my money in the moment, I’ve never been quite as good at planning for the future. Read ahead for some of my current money management practices, as well as goals that I have for the future!

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(And before you read on, I just wanna stress again: I’m in a good financial place right now! In keeping with the theme of this series, I am very fortunate to be able to make more lofty goals with my money in the coming year, and I’d like to share them. I totally acknowledge that other people are in the total opposite situation, and I know that talking about my own relatively secure situation comes off as tone-deaf. But it is also becoming more important to me about being open about my own financial goals and habits – so I’m doing this anyway! Let’s go!)

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New Year, New Me: Environmental

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As I mentioned in my food post, I know, I know, corporations are the biggest generators of greenhouse gases, by far, and any individual changes that a person makes won’t make any discernible difference, blah blah blah…

I’m a big believer of putting my money where my mouth is, and also that money speaks louder than words, and writing those out one after the other makes me think that they mean the same thing? Anyway, I believe very strongly that corporations will shift their behavior based on the public’s spending habits (for example, I thank moms everywhere for making a fuss about nut-free snacks, because I get to reap the rewards!). Likewise, if my and other’s spending habits reflect our values, then that will send an even louder message to corporations to do better. (Unfortunately, this also means that the journey is a marathon, not a sprint, which sucks! but that’s capitalism!)

There’s also a part of me that needs to act in ways that “solve” my problems, even if those problems are actually way outside of my hands. For most political and social issues, that means signing petitions and donating money to charities. Likewise, for environmental issues, this means making lifestyle changes, no matter how small, and being more conscious about my consumption.

I acknowledge that this is a very privileged place to be! Not everyone can afford the upfront monetary and time costs of even attempting to go zero-waste! or buying and cooking fresh produce! or a compost service! But my hope is that, ultimately, using my money to opt into these programs and show that there is interest will demonstrate to the rest of the world that the demand is there, and hopefully, over time, increase access for everyone.

Is that too optimistic? (Probably!)

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