Make Your Mental Health a Priority this New Year
With the year winding down and the holidays over, people are swiftly preparing themselves for the start of a new year. People often take the new year as a time to proverbially “start over.” We aren’t saying they intend on beginning a brand-new life, but they set goals for themselves to accomplish within the new year. New Year’s Resolutions are incredibly popular for millions of people across the globe. Some of the most popular resolutions are based on physical health, such as exercising and eating right, but the new year can also be a time to work on your mental health.
If you do struggle with mental illness, it’s important to remember that the new year doesn’t mean your life is completely different than it was the year before. Thinking that a new year is a time to start over can be counterintuitive, placing an unnecessary burden on individuals to make huge lifestyle changes.
While the new year is not a clean start, it can be a time to inspire you to make changes and create resolutions for yourself that work to improve your mental health. However, it’s important to be realistic in your goals, or you may put your mental health at more of a risk.
Lifeworks Counseling Center understands how difficult living with a mental illness can be. We also understand how winter can affect your mood. That’s why we have dedicated this blog to help you take the right steps this new year to improve your mental health.
How New Year’s Can Undermine Your Mental Health
As we said before, there is an unfair and unrealistic idea that the beginning of the year is a chance to “start over.” That simply isn’t true. Your life is still the same, but the year has changed. The beginning of the year is, however, a moment that encourages you to make beneficial changes to your life.
These New Year’s Resolutions can be detrimental if you aren’t careful. There is no harm in setting goals for yourself in the new year. The real issues arise when your goals are too difficult to reach. Falling short of your resolutions can be demoralizing and set you down a path of self-deprecation. Your mental health will pay the price.
If you do set New Year’s Resolutions for yourself in 2020, make sure these goals are attainable. Make sure they are goals that you truly want for yourself, as well, and not just you conforming to the ideals of the world. If you have goals that you are truly motivated towards and are attainable, you will feel much happier and more accomplished throughout the year.
Helpful Resolutions for Your Mental Health
There are several resolutions that people make that help improve their overall health and well-being, but many of these also improve your mental health as well. There are countless popular resolutions that many people engage in every year that are proven to help boost your mood.
Arguably the most common New Year’s Resolution, people use the new year as an opportunity to get back in the gym and work on their fitness. The first two weeks of the year are some of the busiest for gyms across the country. People are constantly signing up for new gym memberships. While exercising is wonderful for your physical health, it is just as helpful to your mental health as well.
However, as we mentioned earlier, if your fitness goals are too lofty, it can set you back. Set easy goals for yourself. Don’t set goals about losing weight or lifting heavy. Simply set the goal of being active every day. Start slow, and then make your way up.
Another popular resolution for people is to eat healthier. This includes not eating junk food, not overeating, and consuming the appropriate amount of nutrients your body requires. Eating better provides you with countless health benefits, but it also has a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. There are several foods you can consume that boost your mental health. These foods boost your mood, lower stress and anxiety levels, and improve depression symptoms.
Start a New Hobby
Mental illnesses tend to remove any fun and joy out of the world. It can make life dull and boring. It can make getting out of the comfort of your home seem like a daunting task. In the new year, try to make it a goal of yours to try a new hobby or jump back into an old hobby you once loved. Staying indoors isolated from the world can impact your mental health negatively.
Take the new year as an opportunity to try something new. Join a new club about a topic you enjoy, join a sports team or gym, or go out and volunteer. Volunteering and helping others has proven to not only help others but yourself as well. Try these new things in small doses until you become more comfortable. Once you are, you will see how beneficial getting yourself out there can be.
Engage in Mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply allowing yourself to live in the present moment. You aren’t thinking about what you could or couldn’t do in the past, nor are you thinking about your goals in the future. You are just enjoying the moment. There is nothing wrong with looking to the future and your plans for improvement, but if you spend too much time doing this, you’ll miss out on all of life’s wonderful moments.
In times of frustration or anxiety, take the time to just be in the moment. Look around your life and acknowledge the little things that bring you joy. Don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.
In all honesty, this may be the most difficult goal of them all. Many resolutions focus on improving yourself, but this often implies that there is something about you that needs fixing. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight or things along those lines, it shouldn’t come from a place of negativity.
Engaging in self-care is not selfish. It is necessary to improve your mental wellbeing. Try your best to engage in some act of self-love every day. Find something small about yourself that you truly enjoy. Engage in one act of self-care at least once a day. Start small, then work your way up into larger and longer acts of self-love.
The new year is a wonderful time to make your mental health a priority. While many resolutions are focused on improving yourself physically, many goals can also help your mental health. It’s best not to think of the new year as a “fresh start,” but as an invitation to work on yourself. If you need help finding ways to improve your mental health in the new year, contact Lifeworks Counseling Center today.