We have all heard the phrase “new year, new you.” A new year often comes with new resolutions, goals, and dreams, but that can also cause unnecessary worry, pressure, or stress. Does the prospect of a new year bring you anxiety? You are not alone. *1 in 5 adults suffer from a mental health illness. While a new year can bring exciting anticipation of a better year, new things to come, and goals to achieve it can also be daunting and overwhelming. Instead of worrying about losing those 10 pounds or setting extremely high expectations for yourself, take a step back from all the pressures of a new year, and try to focus on what is truly important: being the best version of yourself. While going to the gym and striving to meet those new goals are important, you cannot achieve this if you do not focus on your mental health first and foremost. When you are stressed, anxious, or tired, it does not just affect you mentally, it also manifests through physical symptoms.

Adrian Lira, Clinical Director at Family Houston says “We now have a better understanding of the impact that mental health has on our overall health, including our physical wellbeing.  Therefore, prioritizing and strengthening our emotional and psychological state is an important first step in improving our fitness. Even small changes can have a big impact. For example, taking a few seconds to check in with yourself to identify what you are feeling and thinking can help to decrease the negative toll of stress by allowing us to respond to stressors rather than react without thinking.” Below are a few steps Lira has put together to help make your mental health a priority while also improving your physical health.

  1. Identify your stressors and what triggers them. Practice relaxation techniques and make time for activities you enjoy.


  1. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep. While these are physical activities, they can also help improve your mental wellbeing.


  1. Despite the many people who suffer from a mental health illness, there is still a stigma attached to it. If you have made efforts to improve your mental health and still are not feeling as though you are functioning optimally, seek the help of a professional.

Mental health struggles can affect anyone. Whether you are an adult worrying about meeting your new year’s resolution or a young child about to start in a new school, mental health issues have no age limit. **1 in 3 children suffer from a mental health illness. According to the ACLU, “only 20 percent of youth access mental health services — and, of those who do, around 80 percent get these services in schools. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends a school psychologist serve no more than 500-700 students [but] school psychologists across the country serve more than 1,500 students on average.” To help address this gap, Family Houston has counselors placed in 15 schools ranging from elementary to high school. Our school-based counseling is provided at no cost to the student or their families. Our services help those children and families that might not otherwise seek help due to obstacles like transportation or cost.

While valuable, talking with your friends and loved ones is not the same as working with a professional. If you are struggling to make your mental health a priority and would like to make an appointment for yourself or your child with a Family Houston counselor, call 713-861-4849.