Mental Health in The New Year
Resolve to Be Healthy: Mind and Body
People make lots of resolutions at the start of the New Year. We have heard them all: go to the gym every day; lose weight; improve our eating habits or drink less alcohol. They are all excellent goals but are very broad and can set up an individual to feel worse than better if they fall short. Focusing on physical well-being is very common. Emotional health is just as important. Working towards achieving balance in physical and emotional health is an excellent target for 2019. Take the time to stop ask yourself if you are too hard on yourself, rush through the moments in your life, miss time with family and friends or hibernate with singular focus on tasks and responsibilities.
Below are some ways to think about helping yourself feel more relaxed, supported and happy in your daily life. Just like any other resolution, these activities require some commitment and focus. See if you can picture yourself making some small changes to positively impact your life.
- LET GO OF PERFECTION: Setting a goal of being perfect can lead to acute disappointment. Mistakes are normal. Forgiving oneself for falling short of your own, other’s or society’s expectations is hard but very important to avoid a toxic level of perfectionism that can lead to emotional issues like anxiety, depression, or more serious things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you recognize this trait in yourself. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323323.php
- BE MORE PRESENT: If you spend every day thinking about what you need to do or what you want for tomorrow and the future, you may miss a moment in the time you are in that makes you happy or helps you to feel content. Try to appreciate the place you are in and the people you are with. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and planning for the future, but if you focus solely on that you may miss a moment or encounter in the present that would make you smile and feel good. This is a part of learning to be mindful. Practicing mindfulness takes practice. Some people choose meditation, deep breathing, walking, yoga or a host of other calming activities to help them achieve it. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201801/five-new-year-s-resolutions-improve-your-mental
- SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Isolation can be very harmful to an individual. Certainly it is fine to want to spend time alone but being alone without regular contact with others can be damaging to your emotional heath and lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and other issues. Spending time with family and friends can be very nourishing. Though potentially hard to initiate, making the effort to reconnect with friends and family can pay off in a very significant way. Greet your New Year and phone a friend. Here are some tips of navigating the process: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-man-cave/201808/5-proven-steps-reconnect-family-and-friends
- SELF-CARE: Make an effort to turn off and tune out from social media and relax. Find some time every day to do something that makes you happy. Walk your dog, take a class, go for a walk alone, soak in the tub or sit quietly and read for 10 minutes. Find something to add into your routine that can give you that special “me time”. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201801/five-new-year-s-resolutions-improve-your-mental
- GO OUTSIDE AND GET SOME FRESH AIR: Take the time to appreciate nature. Take a walk around the block. It can be as simple as seeing a blooming tree next to your bus stop and coming to appreciate its’ presence every day when you get there. Perhaps a small bird sits outside your office window and you look forward to seeing it. It is important to your emotional health to find a way to see things outside of your daily life and feel good about them. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-new-resilience/201801/why-connecting-nature-elevates-your-mental-health
BONUS TIP: Adopt a couple of small plants. Place them on your windowsill. Care for them and watch them grow. You will be surprised at the improvement in your mood when you find yourself caring for a living thing. You may have an awesome green thumb!
While making your resolutions for this New Year don’t forget your brain and your emotional health. Taking small steps to improve your mental health can help reduce your risk for many physical problems like heart disease and muscle soreness.