Maybe it’s just me, or maybe everyone is feeling this to some degree, but the New Year hasn’t felt symbolically ‘new’ at all; rather it seems we ran headfirst into 2021 and haven’t looked back. There was no finality to last year, and thus it just feels like a continuation without any pause to reflect or any new beginnings. 

Inevitably though, it’s only a matter of time before this rat race starts to take a toll on mental health, and that’s assuming it hasn’t already. Just recently, I retook the MyPrint assessment; an online questionnaire, scientifically designed to explore individual personality and motivations – especially at work. MyPrint is a free assessment offered by Medix’s sister company, Talentoday, and after being cooped up for the last 12 months, I could detect small changes in my personality. The assessment detected it too; my empathy measurement shifted more toward individualistic, and my patience measurement was telling me I fell more on the eager side of the spectrum versus previously falling more on the relaxed side of things.

This exercise was a quick reminder of how fragile we all are, especially now, and how important it is to be thoughtful and intentional around our mental health. Maybe you’re reading this from a warmer climate, but here in Chicago, we’re deep in the winter trenches which takes its own toll on mental health. Despite the freezing temperatures, I’ve put a focus on going for walks as the small bit of exercise filled with fresh air help to lend a new perspective and do wonders for my patience. I’ve also been more intentional around saying ‘yes’ to things I normally wouldn’t, like going sledding with my wife and daughter or taking on something new. 

Right now is more critical than ever to put your mental health above all else. Whether you’re pursuing a new hobby, getting back into an old one, exercising more, reading that book you’ve been procrastinating, or simply carving out a quiet moment in the day to take care of yourself – just do it. Making yourself happy is a precious gift, and will only serve to enrich all the other aspects of your life.