New Year’s Resolutions for Mental Health
There is magic in new beginnings, and the upcoming new year presents all of us with an opportunity to start again. Of course, we all make resolutions and set goals for ourselves. For example, some people might resolve to eat healthier, cut back on spending money or lose 15 pounds. But what about mental health? For 2022, we challenge you to set a New Year’s resolution that your future self will thank you for – one that benefits your mental well-being.
You can choose any resolution that you think will help alleviate your stress, tension, depression or anxiety. Some popular choices to kick off your new year may include the following:
One way to improve your mental health is through meditation. Meditation isn’t always what you think it is. For example, you don’t have to sit up straight, close your eyes and say “om” for 20 minutes (although you totally can). There are countless ways to bring meditation and mindfulness into your life. Some examples include:
- Focusing on your breathing: breath in for four seconds, hold for one second, breath out for four seconds
- Practicing visualization exercises: seeing yourself where you want to be in 5 years, 5 weeks or even 5 days from today
- Rehearsing positive affirmations: telling yourself things that make you feel good and encourage you to be better (I am enough; I release all negative emotions that do not serve me; I can get through anything)
Whether you simply want to create a habit of meditation or establish it as an essential part of your mental health regimen, we believe that making time for yourself and taking the necessary steps is key.
Find a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Another resolution for mental health is finding a healthy work-life balance. We all know that you can’t be on top of your game if you’re not getting enough sleep, eating well or taking time to relax and recharge. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that these things are priorities for you in the year ahead.
For example, if working around the clock is typical for you and affects your mental health, resolve to work smarter rather than harder. Figure out how much sleep you need every night (that would be different for everyone), plan healthy meals during the week, and take breaks to do things you enjoy throughout the day. Even if it’s just for five minutes, these little moments can make a world of difference.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs outlines this perfectly. It explains that for humans to reach their full potential, they must meet certain needs in a specific order. The first two are physiological needs (food, water, sleep) and safety (having a place to live and being safe from physical harm). Once those are met, people can focus on meeting their social needs (belongingness and love). Next up are esteem needs (self-esteem and confidence) and self-actualization.
When you’re not meeting your basic needs, it’s incredibly difficult to focus on maximizing yourself in other ways. That’s why we advocate for taking care of the basics first!
Exercise (even just a little bit)
Whether working out at the gym, taking a jog around the park or doing yoga stretches in your bedroom (yes, that counts), exercise is another way to improve mental health. Exercise has countless benefits for our bodies and brains – like increasing endorphins to make you feel better about yourself!
When we’re feeling low on energy, stressed out or just down in the dumps, working out is one of the last things we want to do. But trust us, it’s worth it! And you don’t have to spend hours at the gym – even a little bit of exercise can help.
Cut Back on Drinking
When we drink alcohol, it can often lead to negative emotions and behaviors. We might say or do things that we regret, make poor decisions or just feel crappy the next day. Alcohol is a depressant and can worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. Having the occasional glass of wine with dinner or one cocktail out with friends is totally fine. But if you’re finding that you’re drinking more than usual or that alcohol is causing more harm than good, it might be time to cut back.
Know When It’s Time to Seek Help
Lastly, one of the most important resolutions for mental health is knowing when to seek help. This can be especially difficult if you’ve been struggling with depression or anxiety, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope! Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much yoga you practice or how many positive affirmations you say, depression and anxiety can creep back in.
If you’re struggling with a mental illness, know that there is no shame in asking for help. So make 2022 the year you commit to doing what’s best for your mental health.
Mile High Psychiatry provides a unique telepsychiatry experience for our patients. You can connect with a provider from the safety and comfort of home and receive mental health care in the privacy of your own environment. To learn more, request an appointment online today.