New Year’s Resolutions for your mental health
New Year’s is a time that holds a lot of emotions that range from excitement for the new beginning to overwhelm with setting and sticking to new goals
Setting goals is a great way to focus on self-improvement and create new habits. However, it can lead to stress and feelings of overwhelm if we set goals that are not realistic. The majority of New Year’s resolutions are centered on losing weight and physical health and tend to neglect mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health, but setting resolutions to improve one’s mental health can be challenging. Here are some suggestions:
- Practice Self-care – Schedule self-care into your daily routine. Self-care can be going for a walk, seeking out therapy, or spending time with loved ones. There is no wrong way to do self-care as long it is something that helps you recharge.
- Make sleep a priority – Sleep is when the brain has a chance to recharge and process what we have experienced. Neglecting this can drastically impact our mood, energy levels, and the decisions we make.
- Get in more movement– There are numerous benefits of physical activity that range from improving sleep quality to assisting in coping with stress. Aim to have some form of physical movement each day. Easy ways to get in more movement include parking farther away, taking the stairs, and going for a walk.
- Make plans with friends/family- Nurturing good quality social relationships is an integral component of maintaining mental health throughout life. Being with others and interacting can help pull us out of our thoughts and back into the real world while improving our mood. Social support positively impacts all individuals in social interaction. So, set plans to see friends or family and if possible try and make it a standing event.
- Try something new – Trying new things can help improve self-esteem and confidence which can positively affect your mental health. Try something new or start a new hobby to add a little fun to your life.
- Keep a gratitude journal- Practicing gratitude can help improve your mental health in as little as a few minutes a day. Practicing gratitude helps train your brain to focus on things that invoke pleasant emotional states. Keep a gratitude journal where once a day you list three things you are grateful for.
- Drink less alcohol- Regardless if you are struggling with mental health issues, alcohol can worsen symptoms and can cause a range of negative emotions. For overall health, it is beneficial to reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Take a social media hiatus – Social media can be a positive experience, but more often than not, it can have a detrimental impact on our mental health through comparison to others, fear of missing out, and feeling dissatisfied with one’s life. Take time to reflect on how you feel when using social media. If you feel drained, lower mood, or have general dissatisfaction, consider taking a social media hiatus or set reasonable limits on your social media use.
- Be kinder to yourself- Regardless of whether you achieve your resolutions, it isn’t about perfection, but rather about consistent, positive changes over time. These small changes will add up and lead to self-improvement. Start talking to yourself as you would talk to a friend.
- Ask for help- This may seem like a simple resolution, but for many, it can be very challenging. Ask for help from your support system or if you feel that you need additional help, reach out to a professional.
As a reminder, when setting resolutions to help improve your mental health, start slow and make small changes that you can sustain over time. It is not about perfection but rather about the continual effort to make improvements.