The inevitable discussion of New Year's resolutions came up yesterday, on entering the room I was asked what mine were.

It's not something I've put too much thought into as I don't really like making such grand gestures — I prefer my goals to be a bit more organic. Still, I said that I want to get more exercise in 2022.

Which is true.

Whether it's just from walking the dog more often or actually using the equipment we have in the garage, I do want, and need, to get fitter and healthier, especially now that I'm 50.

One should not, however, target physical health and ignore mental health — something I have previously done to my detriment. Yes, exercise is good for mental health but there also needs to be more targeted action.

Brian G Fay wrote in his post "Enlightenment in Ninety-Three Lines?" of his wonder at finishing his morning pages each day: 93 lines, 3 pages of 31 lines each:

"How do I finish writing ninety-three lines each morning?

That led to wondering, how do I finish even one line?

Spiraling, as I do, I asked, how do I complete one word or even one letter?"

How indeed.

His answer? "I just do. I begin through one kind of miracle, continue through another, and arrive at the end almost as a matter of course."

The words just have to be, not be amazing, and that's the mindset I want to get back to. While I have written in the Journal for 380 consecutive days I've hardly ever really written. The Journal is like the blog: micro posts, snippets, done lists. Although each of those is perfectly valid, there is little in depth writing, little exploratory analysis, little true reflection.

If there is one resolution I want to make (and succeed with) from a mental health perspective it is to write in more depth, with more passion and meaning, both in the Journal and on the blog. The former should feed the latter. The Journal should, in parts, be like a rehearsal for the main event, the public show.

This will also, no doubt, entail a lot more reading and note-taking, a slowing down to digest and consider.

I want to rebuild a 'morning pages' habit but digitally, in the Journal. I suppose, in a way, I have been leading up to it for a while, trying to write more overall, but I want to resume the daily habit as one of the first things I do each morning. This will likely mean getting up earlier to fit it in — not such a bad thing — and giving myself more time to ease into the day.

I need to write more of my thoughts rather than an itemised account of activities. That still has a place, of course, I will still be creating a daily 'done list' as it helps me to look back at what I achieved and when — memory triggers — but the morning pages style writing should have a bigger focus.

2022 is now only two days away so I need to get into that frame of mind. It shouldn't be hard but it is, it can be a struggle to sit down and concentrate, letting the words flow when you haven't got anything to say. It is as Brian explores when he questions how he does it: how does he finish the three pages? How does he even start? He just does, and that should be the lesson I learn from his example.

 Today is World Mental Health Day.

If you are struggling don't feel ashamed to admit it and, please, speak to someone. It is not weakness to admit that you're not okay — it's the opposite, it's the strongest thing you can do.

If you're not struggling then please listen, without judgement, without preconceptions. It can be tough but it's the best thing you could do and might just save a life.

 This week (10th - 16th May) is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK and the theme is nature.

It's good that the conversation about mental health has taken the position it needs and deserves over the past year but it's disappointing that it has taken a global pandemic to truly make that happen.

We are approaching the next phase of restrictions being eased in England and, as we approach normality, I fear that the focus on mental health will be reduced as though being able to go to the pub means that you're okay again. That's not how it works.

This past year has caused more people to experience issues and given a lot more still an insight into the problems faced by those who suffer from mental health problems. I can only hope that this insight changes things on a long term basis.

There should now be no reason for any kind of stigma attached to any mental health issues after what everyone has been living through (not that there should have been anyway) so there is no excuse for the conversation to recede and be a taboo subject again. We cannot afford for short-termism with people thinking that once the pandemic has passed it's no longer something they need to worry about.

 It rolls around every year, the third Monday of January (Blue Monday) is supposed to be the most depressing day on the calendar - in the Northern hemisphere at least.

It is based on a formula calculating the impact of weather, time since Christmas, time since those failed new year's resolutions, and debt.

But it's nonsense and has been debunked and derided so many times but keeps reappearing.

The term (and formula) was created back in 2005 as part of an advertising campaign for a travel company. Hey! You're blue, book a holiday and cheer yourself up.

Yeah, right.

It may be complete rubbish but it can serve as a reminder to check in with ourselves, and others, to ensure that we are taking steps to improve our mental health or to just let someone know that we're there for them.

Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog