You made it! We are here! It is 2021, a new year. Many of us have endured isolation or separation from loved ones and a variety of losses. Most, if not all, of our expectations for 2020 were hijacked by a global pandemic. As we begin this new year, let us be mindful of the aspects of our lives in which we are in control.

Here are three actions of mental hygiene that will jumpstart your 2021 and keep you secure:

1. Check-In with Yourself Daily

Each morning, choose a statement that will allow you to find your strength and center. Look in the mirror and state the words aloud to yourself. Determine that with this positive affirmation, you find the ability to stabilize yourself through your daily activities. Each day this statement can remain the same or change. When you find yourself with anxiety, stress, fatigue or worry, look back at your self-guidance statement to bring you balance. If it does not do that, adjust it. Overtime you will find yourself where you need to be.

2. Acknowledge the Details

Every day, give thanks to one thing that occurred, or did not occur, the day prior. Rejoice in the details of your life that have created spaces for you to heal. Celebrate the new addition to your plant family, a connection with a lost friend or dropping your phone without breaking it. Once we take a moment to practice mindfulness and acknowledge the affirming details of our lives, we are able to exude gratitude with intention. As they say, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

3. Practice Self-Care

Yes, we’ve all been informed to “do self-care” because it works! Note: self-care is not selfish care. Practicing self-care can be in alignment with others around you. The ultimate manifestation of self-care is to make the best decision in the moment for your future self. This means, if you’ve endured a toothache, make a dentist appointment. If you’re feeling irritable, take a moment and engage in a small, pleasurable activity. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, say “no” to something that does not benefit you. Consider the phrase, “reject anything that is not interesting, humorous, or beautiful.”

Amidst the complications and unforeseen circumstances of the past year, we have realized what really matters: our health, our voice and the people who color our lives. There is only so much within your control, however, in the end you have the power. Tap into the power within you.


Alana Brooks, AMFT, is a Clinical Therapist at The Guidance Center’s San Pedro Clinic where she helps guide children and families struggling with mental health conditions or abuse toward positive and productive futures. She is especially passionate about racial socialization, implicit bias impact and collaborating with children and their families to identify effective skills to create the life they want to live. Before joining The Guidance Center team as a trainee in 2018, then full-time in 2019, Brooks worked with City Year, an education non-profit as an Impact Manager. Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from USC.