Even with all the joy and festivity, the holidays can be a stressful time of year. After ringing in the new year, you’re probably ready to get back into a routine but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
The new year is a time for change and, for many, it provides the ideal opportunity to recommit to health and fitness goals. Before you start making resolutions, however, turn your thoughts inward for a moment and consider what changes you might make to improve your mental health. After enduring a difficult year and surviving a season of modified holiday activities, you may be feeling the strain of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Now is the perfect time to start prioritizing your mental health to enjoy a healthier and happier new year. Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Work on your relationships.
The most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself, but it’s also important to foster healthy relationships with friends, family, and coworkers. Studies have shown that people who have a higher degree of social connection are generally happier than others. You don’t necessarily need to spend every waking moment with other people, but try to put in a little extra effort to stay connected with the people you care about.
Not only is it important to foster healthy relationships with the people close to you, but you may want to take the extra step to start distancing yourself from people who have a negative impact on your mental health. Toxic relationships can be draining, and you don’t need that in your life.
2. Take time to do something good for yourself.
We live in a society that often seems to value productivity over personal wellness, so the idea of taking a little time for yourself may seem selfish. The truth is there’s nothing selfish about self-care. In fact, taking a step back to relax and focus on yourself, if only for a few hours, can help you relieve stress and come back with renewed energy and vigor.
There are no rules when it comes to self-care – just do what feels right to you. If you’re feeling overworked and overwhelmed, maybe a relaxing massage will do the trick. If you’re feeling tightly wound, a little exercise might be just what you need.
3. Practice mindfulness meditation.
Even if you don’t have the time or freedom to take an extended leave from work or go on vacation, you can give yourself a mental break with a little mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a practice that involves quietly observing your own thoughts and feelings with no judgment. It’s simple to do and it can help you gain insight into your emotions, improve focus and concentration, and even improve your relationships. You can find videos online or smartphone apps to help you get started.
4. Take a break from social media.
Modern technology has made it possible to keep in touch with loved ones even in the age of social distancing, but it comes at a cost. Social media can be a drain on your emotional and mental state, often doing more harm than good. If you’re feeling the strain, try limiting the amount of time you spend on social media each day or do a total digital detox for 24 to 48 hours.
5. Ask for help when you need it.
Mental health issues can be persistent and difficult to deal with, especially if you’re trying to do it on your own. If you find your symptoms are negatively impacting your daily life, it may be time to seek help. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support or find a licensed counselor to talk to. You can even get the help you need from home with online psychiatry consultations or online therapy services.
There’s nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions focused on fitness, but mental health is just as important as physical health. If you don’t take the time to check in with yourself and work on your mental health, you may find it much more difficult to succeed in reaching other goals. Try some of the tips provided above to improve your mental health and build toward a stronger and healthier you.