San Mateo County Pride Center’s Mental Health Clinician, Verna Barrientos, shares her approach towards new year’s resolutions.
Gratitude for the New Year
January 7, 2021
by Verna Barrientos
As we ring in a new year many people think about new year’s resolutions. I used to do resolutions until a few years ago. I never really stuck to my resolutions for very long (mainly because they were big and kind of scary). So now instead of a new year’s resolution I tend to focus on gratitude. Gratitude, for me, is giving time and energy to recognize the things, large and small, that I am grateful for.
At this moment, while I am writing this blog post, I am feeling grateful for the basics: I have a home where I feel safe, I have a stable job that I like, and I have food in the fridge and pantry. Keeping my gratitudes simple keeps me grounded. It serves as a reminder that while my life is not perfect I do have a lot of little things that add up to me living the life that I want.
For a long time I was not living the life that I wanted to. This was due to my mental health not being stable. I have lived with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. For many years of my life I felt stuck with no meaning, purpose, nor fulfillment. For the last several years I have been in a maintenance period in my mental health recovery (thanks to medication, therapy, and practicing my coping skills). Because of this, I am able to work toward the things that seemed out of reach for so long – like graduating from San Jose State with my Master of Social Work degree, and working toward my licensure. Graduate school was very difficult for me. I felt an immense amount of stress on a daily basis. Looking back, I am so proud of myself for accomplishing one of my life goals. I am grateful that I am able to learn and grow from the difficult parts of my life, and serve as a guide to others who may be struggling like I once was.
There are many ways to be grateful. We can have gratitude for the big things (like the privilege of obtaining a college degree), or the everyday things (like having running water and electricity in our home). Either way, gratitude serves as a reminder that there are many things – some that we may not think about very often – we have going well for us in life. I wish you all a happy new year. Stay safe, and be well.
Check out the San Mateo County Pride Center’s website for more blogs from program staff! Visit www.sanmateopride.org.