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New year, new you, right? The new year often comes with a lot of social pressure to improve ourselves through making resolutions and setting goals for the upcoming 12 months. One great way to take advantage of the impulse toward self-improvement is to start therapy in the new year.
It might never seem like the perfect time to start therapy, but that doesn’t mean that therapy won’t be helpful to you. Remember, you don’t need to be going through a major crisis or emergency to benefit from therapy. Working with a therapist can help you find ways to prevent or cope with issues that arise in the future, explore what makes you tick, and feel more comfortable with who you are.
People often feel hesitant to start therapy for a lot of reasons. Some barriers to starting therapy are:
- Shame and stigma surrounding mental health
- Confusion about what benefits will cover
- Finding a therapist
- Paying for therapy
- Scheduling conflicts
These aren’t the only reasons why people struggle with starting therapy, but they’re some of the more common ones. Even with our self-help obsessed culture, it can still seem vulnerable or shameful to want to prioritize your mental health. Keep in mind that shame thrives on silence, so speaking aloud about some of these fears can help you work through them.
If you’re committed to making positive changes in the new year, starting therapy is a great way to kick things off.
Here are 6 reasons to start therapy in the new year:
Process the year you just had
We’ve had several really tough years in a row, and it can be hard to swing from one year to the next without doing some processing and introspection about the year you just had. Bottling things up and repressing feelings sounds good in the moment sometimes, but when we ignore our feelings it doesn’t actually make them go away.
Repressed feelings and unprocessed situations often come back up when you least expect them to, and it’s usually very inconvenient if not totally debilitating. In order to avoid this happening, get in the habit of processing things as they come up. Working with a therapist can give you a dedicated space to process the recent past and to find ways to cope when you’re overwhelmed.
Make plans and set goals for the upcoming year
The new year often comes with goals or resolutions. It’s a fresh start, so it often seems like the perfect time to try new things or to improve yourself. It’s not easy, though, to find goals that work for you and your lifestyle that don’t set you up to fail in the first month of the year. Working with a therapist can help you find ways to plan and set goals that are aligned with your values, your energy levels, and your passions.
Use your benefits
Not everyone has access to health insurance, but for those that do, starting therapy is a great way to use the benefits you are entitled to. Even if you don’t have insurance, you may qualify for reduced therapy rates or be eligible to work with a therapy group. Going to therapy regularly can help you meet your deductible earlier in the year if you have one, which can free up some money going forward into the rest of the year.
Learn more about yourself
Getting to know yourself better can seem like a chore or unimportant in the face of everything else we have to get done as adults. Learning more about yourself though can have a positive effect on everything from goal setting to self esteem. When you start therapy, you give yourself a dedicated space for exactly what you need, whether that’s self-exploration, holding space, or grief work.
Add to your support system during the winter
Winter is a difficult season for a lot of people. Whether it’s because of holiday stress and grief or seasonal depression, many folks struggle with their mental health in the winter months. Starting therapy can give you another important pillar in your support system that you can benefit from year round.
Have your best year ever
As we know from the past few years, life is unpredictable. We never really know for sure what’s coming next, so learning how to regulate emotions, cope with distress, and communicate effectively can make all the difference during tough times. Therapy can help you live in a way that’s more aligned with your values and your needs so you feel like you’re on track for your best year yet.
Are you looking to start therapy in the new year? Our Houston, TX counseling office is accepting new clients in person and virtually to help make mental healthcare more accessible, no matter what your schedule looks like. Get in touch today to get started!