6 Toxic Things To Give Up For The New Year, For The Sake Of Your Mental Health

By Caroline Burke

Guys, the new year is finally approaching. And we all know that with the calendar change will come the urgent need to get rid of any and all bad habits and to transform, like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, into Wonder Woman. Except, it never seems to happen like that in reality, which is why it might be more beneficial to focus on one or two toxic things to give up for the new year that are actually attainable.

I have to say, I'm honestly not a huge fan of New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. I can't stand the pressure of finding an appropriately "cool" party to attend, and I always come up with resolutions that are pretty much earth-shattering in their scope, like the time my sister and I resolved to do a six-day juice cleanse starting Jan. 1 to "rid ourselves of all toxins." That's a story for another time, but long story short, it didn't work.

Having said that, I think the best way to approach new year's resolutions is to focus on improving or getting rid of small habits that, when combined, can have big effects on your daily life. No change is too small to make a huge difference, so here are six toxic things to say goodbye to for the new year, for the sake of your mental health.

Toxic Friendships

Do you have friends in your life who make your stomach twist when they walk into a room? Yeah, it's time to cut those relationships off.

Sometimes we hold onto relationships for far longer than we should, simply because we feel like it's the right thing to do, or because it's comfortable to do so. But if someone in your life is unsupportive, unkind, or affecting you in any other toxic way, it might be for the best that you make some distance.

Toxic Products

Take a moment to ask yourself, do you actually know what the ingredients are in the products you're putting on your face, your kitchen counter, or the ones you're literally ingesting when you sit down to eat?

This new year, consider paying more attention to which products contain toxic ingredients and which are all-natural. Toxic products can have a range of negative impacts, from hurting the environment, to increasing your risk of cancer. Moving into the new year, try to opt for all-natural products with short ingredient lists that you can actually read and understand.

Hoarding Clutter

If your bedroom is a glorified pigeon's den of shiny things and old sneakers, consider letting go of your clutter (and working on the compulsion to collect more clutter) for the new year.

Look around your room, then your whole apartment, and try to think about what you really need to survive; the list should be pretty small. Beyond that, everything is excess. This isn't to say you must get rid of everything that isn't technically "necessary" for your survival, but it's a great practice to make room for yourself to breathe in your own living space.

Blue Light Before Bed

One of the more subtle, yet insidious toxic habits many of us partake in is the innocent scrolling through news feeds before bed. Electronic screens emit a very specific type of light called "blue light" that is meant to mimic daylight to our brains, which is why staring at those screens close to your face before bed will inhibit your body's ability to go to sleep.

This year, consider buying an analog alarm clock and leaving your phone in another room when you go to sleep at night. You'll wake up feeling fresher than ever before.

F*ck Boys

This new year, make the resolution to drop the "fun little game" of treating someone like crap and letting them do the same to you. If someone you're seeing, dating, hooking up with, etc. is ignoring you, being unkind to you, or just plain not treating you the way you'd like to — and deserve to — be treated, cut it off before it becomes increasingly unhealthy. You'll feel less alone when you're actually alone than when you were waiting around for some idiot to contact you.

Overbooked Schedules

I know personally, this one can happen to me a lot. You want to see all of your friends, but you also have a bunch of work deadlines, and you also would really like to watch the second season of Stranger Things before the spoilers become fair game at brunch. This year, try making a point to keep one to two nights totally free each week.

Use those nights as you wish: Fill them with a workout class, or a quiet dinner, or even just some extra time to breathe without feeling like you're running from one appointment to the next with no room in between.