Make Mental Health A Priority in 2022

Anxiety, Depression
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It seems as though I was just writing a New Year’s blog. Maybe it feels as though it was just yesterday because of the rampant increase in COVID cases as was similar to last year at this time.

Do you notice similarities or differences between the past year compared to where you are at right now? How about goals or resolutions for the New Year? Have you accomplished a goal from last year?


Although there is a yearly tradition for some to set aside time to create goals or a New Year’s Resolution, for others, it might be a time of despair, sadness, lack of motivation, and increased stress. Anxiety and depression increases for some due to the winter and colder months ahead as well as fear of the ongoing pandemic. Please see below for more information about depression and anxiety. 

Symptoms of Depression

The most common symptoms of depression include fluctuations with sleep and appetite, no longer finding interest in pleasurable activities, isolation, hopelessness, fatigue, and physical symptoms.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The most common symptoms of anxiety can be broken down into emotional and physical symptoms. You might experience feelings of apprehension or dread, restlessness, or irritability. While physically, you might notice a racing heart, sweating, headache, and/or upset stomach.

How To Combat Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

According to Kaytee Gills, LCSW, BACS in this article on new year’s resolutions, “Above all else, show yourself compassion, love, and support. You can restart or change any goal at any time. While it is difficult to quantify mental health progress, the goal is to feel better about yourself and your environment. We do not know what 2022 will bring, but we can build a strong foundation for whatever may come.”

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1. Set realistic expectations for yourself

Is it more important for you to cancel an event (that is either in person or using social media) you committed to? Or is it more important for you to have ample time to decide, even if it is last minute? If you know you usually have a fun time after pushing yourself to go out of your comfort zone, is it worth it? Only you have the power to decide what you expect of yourself.

2. It is okay to not be okay

You might disagree and that is okay!  Do you ever find that you put on a brave face when you are feeling emotional inside? Is it easier for you to “mask” the way you are feeling, or does it make you feel worse?

I have conversations with clients frequently about accepting that the extent of their day was to prepare a meal or get out of bed for one hour. Even remaining awake is enough. Who says that you have to be productive 24/7? If you do, will you allow yourself a break?

3. Have a self-care day

What does taking care of yourself mean? Is it watching Netflix, reading, taking a bath, taking a drive, or being at peace with nature? It is time for you to put yourself first. If you do not take control of creating a day for yourself, who will? Now is the time!

As always, if you find yourself struggling in these areas, do not hesitate to reach out for help. A licensed therapist or counselor can help empower you to be your best self! 


Erica Marriaga is a proud fur-mama of her two rescue dogs, Toby and Tucker. She loves to spend time with her husband and bond with her family, nieces, and nephews. Erica is passionate and enthusiastic about her role as a therapist. 

EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.

Check out Erica’s professional bio here!

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