a woman sits on a couch talking to a counselor at the UA Counseling Center

Stick with Your New Year’s Resolutions: Focusing on Mental Health

Is your New Year’s resolution focused on mental health and wellbeing? Nearly a quarter of UA students surveyed indicated theirs were.

Whether you’re looking to reduce stress, cope with anxiety or seek help from a mental health professional, The University of Alabama Counseling Center’s Greg Vanderwal shares advice and the many resources available at the University to help you meet your goals.

“Supporting mental health and wellbeing is a lifelong process,” Vanderwal said. “It takes daily attention. As you work to manage your stress during the spring semester, it is important to set aside time for self-care and engagement in meaningful activities.”

Creating Mindfulness

One way to get started is to create mindfulness. The Counseling Center’s Mind Matters workshop series addresses different stressors and coping mechanisms throughout the school year. Mind Matters kicks off in early February and continues until the end of the semester, focusing on interpersonal communication, test anxiety, stress and more.

Outside of the Mind Matters series, there are several UA-affiliated resources available including the University Medical Center’s Betty Shirley Clinic and the Women and Gender Resource Center. Partnering with Ulifeline, the Counseling Center also offers students anonymous online tools for free.

Meaningful Stress Relief

When it comes to reducing stress, Vanderwal emphasizes that being intentional and purposeful is the key to doing it effectively.

“Make sure your stress relief supports your ability to re-engage your classwork, prioritize your goals and face challenges,” he said. “Be careful not to let your stress relief become self-indulgence designed to escape or avoid work or problems, which only exacerbates long-term stress.”

The Importance of Sleep

Life can get hectic with classes, work, homework and more, and it’s easy to dismiss the importance of sleep. From ages 18 to 25, getting enough sleep is important for brain development and overall wellbeing. When you get a good night’s rest, your body is able to relax and be better prepared for the next day. The Counseling Center offers several tips for improving your sleeping habits and creating a healthy routine.

About the Stick with Your 2022 Resolutions Series

At the end of Fall Semester 2021, UA News Center surveyed students asking what their 2022 New Year’s resolutions are. We gathered the top responses and spoke to UA faculty and staff experts to bring you practical tips and advice to help you stick with your New Year’s resolutions. Find more advice on physical fitness, nutrition and making friends while getting involved.


Caroline Gazzara-McKenzie, Strategic Communications, caroline.mckenzie@ua.edu