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7 Strategies to Battle Emotional Exhaustion and Embrace Wellness in the New Year

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Jamilah Hackworth
Associate Professor
Megan Hasting
Professional Development Program Manager

As we usher in the new year, it is a perfect time to consider new ways to recharge and prioritize simple, actionable steps that can make a significant difference in our overall approach to emotional wellbeing. Here are some practical tips to promote vitality — a state of professional fulfillment, motivation and commitment to ongoing intellectual and personal growth, full professional engagement, enthusiasm and positive feelings of aliveness, energy and excitement.  

1. Focus on your locus (of control).

Rather than focusing on things external to your control, consider ways to refocus your thoughts on the events you actually have control of — outcomes determined by your own hard work, abilities and decisions.

Action Step: Take time to consider your locus of control and jot down the things that you control, letting go of the things you cannot

2. Promote self-care

Self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary. What are some of the things you love to do — things that recharge you? Focus on some things that perhaps you did not do enough of last year. How can you prioritize these things in the new year? Some examples could be a bubble bath, a good book or a quiet cup of tea. Identify activities that recharge your batteries and bring joy to your soul. 

Action Step: Make a list of some recharge activities that you would like to do in 2024, and schedule regular self-care time in your calendar. Treat it with the same importance as any other appointment.  

3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Studies consistently show that expressing gratitude leads to enhanced mental and physical wellness. Gratitude shifts your focus from what’s lacking to what’s abundant in your life, fostering a positive mindset. 

Action Step: Use a gratitude journal to write down what you are grateful for each day. Share the gratitude by doing this with friends and loved ones.

4. Exercise self-compassion in 2024 and beyond.

Be kind to yourself in 2024! During moments of personal struggle, which will undoubtedly arise this year, extend yourself the same grace and kindness that you give others during their time of struggle or need. Self-love and self-compassion cannot be predicated on anything external — they are inside jobs!  

Action Step: Instead of beating yourself up when things are not going well, love yourself more. Be intentional about being kind to yourself during moments of struggle this year! Remember, no one is perfect!  

5. Manage your time your way.

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally shifted where and how people work and led to an increased number of virtual meetings in the work day. 2024 is the time to take back control of your calendar! Learn how you work best and build your calendar in a way that prioritizes these practices. 

Action Step: Consider 25-minute and 50-minute meetings to build in time for breaks. Block out time on your calendar to dedicate parts of your day to accomplish a specific task or project.   

6. Take a tech timeout for mental clarity.

In a hyper-connected world, taking a break from technology is essential for our mental well-being. Constant notifications and screen time can contribute to stress and anxiety. Give yourself permission to unplug and embrace moments of digital detox. 

Action Step: Designate specific times each day for tech timeouts. Whether it’s a walk without your phone or an hour of screen-free time before bed, find moments to disconnect and recharge your mind. 

7. Keep learning

Wellness is a journey, not a destination. Feed your curiosity and continue learning about new ways to enhance your well-being.

The key to a healthier you is consistency, not perfection. By incorporating these simple tips into your daily routine, you’ll pave the way for a more vibrant and fulfilling year ahead. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!  

Jamilah Hackworth, a Glenn College MAPS instructor, is an associate professor and director of academic affairs and career development at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Megan Hasting is program manager for professional development at the Glenn College.