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A New Year's (and the same mental health)

It’s the new year, and the emphasis on getting better in everything we do puts a strain on what is already a difficult time of year. Here in Montana our weather is not warm in January, and our sunlight is limited at best. With these factors it is no wonder we suffer from extreme seasonal depression. Now, I certainly can’t speak for my fellow Montanans, but I have enough struggles without worrying about accelerating my perfectly normal growth. Especially while trying to have acceptable mental health.

So, today instead of giving you a whole blog on what you can do to make this year the “best ever” I want to offer a list of 10 little things you can do to make the year just a bit more fulfilling (all without unhealthy pressure or horribly unrealistic expectations).

This begins our new president’s blog, my name is Marrin. I hope you enjoy this inaugural post.

  • Learn a new “signature dish.”

One of my favorite things I did this past year is learn to make/tweak/create a signature dish. My signature dish is a spicy tangy mac and cheese, and it is the absolute best. I included this in the list because it is so inclusive! Maybe you have a lot of money, but you want to cut out all dairy. You can create something and perfect it. As for me, my dish was born out of the need to calorie load on a budget of both money and time.

  • Find a community activity

Whether it’s a local walking group, or a campus club, getting involved in the community is one of the most fulfilling activities you can add to your life.

  • Volunteer

Now maybe I’m a bit biased as the president of a non-profit board, but I think that at some point in their life everyone should volunteer in some way. Whether it is a local organization, or a statewide or even national organization there is something to fit your passions. You're donating time, and you can gain friends, community, and a larger sense of self awareness.

  • Start a new mental health journey

Maybe this year you want to tackle your depression, or some insecurity, maybe you just wanna work on yourself in a general sense. I encourage you to take the first steps towards that goal.

  • Forget you weigh anything

Exactly what it sounds like. Stay away from scales unless you absolutely need them. I no longer worry about being underweight because I don't know what I weigh. What I do know is that I eat healthily and regularly, get consistent exercise, and pay attention to how I feel. Weight does not define us.

  • Practice being mindful

All of these tips are great, but if you aren’t present in the moment, I would question whether they’re even worth trying. Being mindful of yourself and how you feel in any given moment is the first step towards realizing what you truly enjoy and what is just a commitment.

  • Consider holding off on yearly goals

New Year's comes at a horrible time for western culture. In the midst of all of our seasonal depression and often travel plans if you're in college like me, it is expected of us to set massive goals. One thing I like to do to make my goals more manageable is to work on a timeframe of march to march instead of january to january. With this timeline all of the hard work usually falls at the start of spring and the finishing touches can be put on my goals through the winter. It also just helps me to keep my stress levels down. Instead of worrying about goals while I don’t feel good in -3 degree weather.

  • Try and grow something other than yourself

In 2022 I had a personal little garden. It wasn’t massive, or impressive in any way, but it was gratifying regardless. Getting to eat little salads I had grown myself, or dry herbs at the end of summer to use all through winter was wonderful for my mental health. Not to mention an incentive to stack my plate with veggies. The smaller version of this is a little window herb, which involves less time money and space, but is rewarding in an equal sense.

  • Recommit to friendships

If there was one lesson I learned in 2022 it was that friendship is everything. In 2023 a goal I have is to recommit to my friendships in a way that is reflective of who I am now. For example maybe I had been trying to spend as much time with someone I became friends with years ago, but now I am more busy. The idea is to have honest conversations so that I can still maintain my friendships while also staying ahead of my other commitments.

  • Explore our musical world

This year, try and find a new music artist you love. For me a great Montana based band I found is Richy Mitch and the Coal Miners out of Bozeman!

Thus concludes our first President’s Blog, I can’t wait to write the next one.

I hope you get to explore some of these ideas in the coming year <3

Until next month,


MYU President

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