GR psychologist offers advice as new year approaches

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As we near the end of 2020, many people are looking forward to the new year, but mental health experts are warning people to still pay attention to the red flags and take care of themselves.

“Be compassionate with yourself because you will need it,” said Dr. Valencia Agnew, a psychologist with Adolescent & Family Behavioral Health Services in Grand Rapids.

During a year of isolation, civil unrest and a pandemic, Agnew says it’s important to prioritize our mental health as we head into the new year.

“I would say one of the biggest things is being aware that this year, while there are many things that are the same with hopes going into the year, that there are some things that won’t change and with that can come this sinking feeling,” said Agnew.

That sinking feeling is what Agnew says people need to work to avoid. She says you can do so by taking care of yourself and your loved ones daily.

“We have to realize that this is different than any previous years for us because the pandemic won’t be over,” said Agnew. “We have to look within and ask ourselves every day, check-in, how am I doing, and what do I need from me?”

Agnew says we can do this by remembering to be appreciative and not being afraid to reach out for help.

“I’m sure if we want to, we could all pull out this long scroll of things that we are not grateful for from 2020 or that we don’t appreciate, and spend some time looking at what you are grateful for, what you do have,” said Agnew. “The one thing that I say we have is each other.”

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