Here we are again, standing at the start of a New Year.
If you are like most people, the end of one year and the start of a new one has driven you to reflect upon your lifestyle and wellbeing. Maybe you’ve already committed to making a change in 2020. Maybe you committed to making a change in 2019 and are currently promising yourself that THIS is the year you’re REALLY going to make that change…
Or maybe this is the year you stop promising to exercise daily or eat nothing but salads or commit to anything that you’ll look back on a year from now with regret and disappointment. Maybe this is the year you resolve, simply, to be more mindful of your mental health. After all, if you’re mentally more resilient, you’re more likely to want to exercise, eat healthier, and make better decisions about your daily life.
Attending your mental health is easier than it might sound. Really, it’s a matter of making small changes…over and over again. In the end, those small changes add up to something much more significant. Think of your mental health as a snowball: just keep nudging it forward and one day you’ll realize that your snowball has grown to massive proportions!
Here’s how to nudge that snowball forward in 2020:
1. Stay hydrated. It doesn’t get easier than this. When you’re hydrated, your brain doesn’t have to struggle against dehydration, allowing you to think more clearly.
2. Get enough sleep. Even partial sleep deprivation can have a huge impact on mental health. If you struggle to sleep, try to establish a bedtime routine: put down your devices at least an hour before bed, drink a cup of soothing tea, read a book, meditate…whatever calms you down and helps you get some quality shut-eye.
3. Be kind. Care for your relationships by showing kindness to the people in your life. Show kindness to people who aren’t in your life. Being kind will make you feel really good about yourself, and might even rub off on others!
4. Find a passion. What makes you smile? Do that thing often. If you can’t think of something that makes you smile, get out and try some new things: go for a hike, take a glassblowing class, enroll in an interesting course at the local university…
5. Get organized. Nothing can be as detrimental to your mental health as stress and overwhelm. Make lists, sort out your to-do list, your shopping list, your goals…whatever is taking up space in your head.
6. Check out. Take some time off from work and life and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, a peaceful afternoon walk, a weekend getaway. Go back to #4…do that!
7. Be patient with yourself. No one decides to make a change and does it perfectly, right out of the gates. Accept the little hiccups that happen along your journey—they’re not going to ruin your snowball…maybe just give it a little character!
8. Get help. If you do #1-7 regularly, but still feel like sadness or anxiety is interfering with your ability to be your best self, you may need to seek professional help. Talk therapy is a great holistic first step towards achieving good mental health, and medications such as antidepressants or ketamine infusions may be an option if talk therapy is ineffective.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving one’s mental health, but resolving to simply “feel better, inside and out,” is a good starting point for anyone. Here’s to finding what works for you in the New Year!