While the new year technically starts on January 1st, many people choose to make New Year’s resolutions in order to get a fresh start on the upcoming year and set themselves up for success. These are usually things that people want to improve about themselves or their lives, such as eating healthier or exercising more often. But why not also set some goals for your mental health? There are many things you can do every day, in small ways and large, that can improve your mental health, both physically and mentally. Here are some habits to try out in 2023!
Commit to doing things you love every day
Doing things you love every day is beneficial for your mental health. We all know how much we need breaks from work and the hustle and bustle of life. But we also need to take time for ourselves, indulge a little, and do things that make us happy. Start this year by committing to doing something you love every day. Why not try making it a tradition? Maybe it’s going for a walk or meditating for 10 minutes. Maybe it’s listening to a favorite song. Maybe it’s cooking your favorite meal (or baking!). Whatever it is, find what makes you feel good and then do that thing – at least once a day! The benefits of doing things you love will be amazing for your physical health but also for your mental health as well.
Spend more time with people who make you happy
Spending time with people who make us happy is good for our mental health. Research shows that interacting with people we’re close to boosts our mood and makes us feel more connected. It also decreases our levels of depression and anxiety. The happiest people are those who spend the most time socializing with friends and family. Additionally, being around people stimulates the production of endorphins–feel-good chemicals which increase happiness, reduce pain, and can even combat addiction. So why not try spending some time with people you love on a regular basis?
Start a gratitude journal
Start your morning with a gratitude journal. Or make it part of your bedtime routine. Write down at least five things you’re grateful for and then reflect on why those things are important to you. It might be difficult at first, but the more you do it the easier it will become. You’ll find yourself feeling happier and more optimistic about life.
Mindfulness is a technique that involves focusing on the present moment and being aware of what’s happening around you. Mindfulness has been shown to improve mental health and make people feel more grounded. To practice mindfulness, find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and close your eyes. Notice the sounds around you or put on some music if it helps you stay focused. Take deep breaths from your diaphragm for five minutes or until you feel calm.
Observe how your body feels as you breathe in and out. When your thoughts wander off, bring them back gently to the sensations of breathing. If you start feeling bored or restless, stand up and stretch for a few seconds before sitting down again. Try this once or twice a day for 10-15 minutes. The benefits of mindfulness include improved mood, decreased stress levels and better sleep quality. You don’t need any equipment either except for your phone or computer if you are using an app.
Start an exercise routine
We all know exercise is good for our health, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But with a little creativity and some tricks of the trade, it can be as easy as taking a walk or going for a bike ride. If you need help getting started, try enlisting your significant other, friend, or co-worker to go on a walk together during a lunch break or in the evening. Walking is one of the most accessible exercises there is. Whether you prefer to exercise alone or with someone, the benefits will be worthwhile. Exercising alone can help clear your mind and exercising with a friend or family member can increase your quality time together.
Check out these five mental health benefits of regular exercise:
- It boosts mood
- It reduces stress levels
- It promotes sleep
- It improves self esteem
- It relieves depression
Go outside everyday (even if it’s cold!)
Taking a walk outside is a good habit for your mental health, even if it’s cold outside! But why is this the case? First, going outside on a daily basis may help you avoid feelings of loneliness that can come from being indoors all day long. For those that work from home, it provides different scenery than the four walls of your home office. You’ll be able to interact with other people more often and get more exposure to natural light. Additionally, going outside every day may help increase your vitamin D levels which has been linked to mood improvements.
The most important thing you can do for your mental health is to eat well. This means not only eating food that provides the nutrients your body needs but also food that will make you feel great. One way to do this is by eating healthy fats and whole foods like nuts, avocados, and oily fish. A diet high in processed carbs, sugar and dairy products has been linked to higher rates of depression so if these are some of the things you eat regularly, it’s time to re-evaluate your habits. As an added bonus, following a diet high in plant-based foods has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Meal planning is a great way to incorporate healthy foods and feel less stressed at dinner time. Plan out what you want to eat for the week ahead and buy groceries accordingly. It’s a lot easier to stick with healthy eating when you know what’s coming up in your menu plan!
Incorporating these small changes or habits into your daily routine will positively impact your mental health. Over time, these small changes will become habits and before you know it, it’s second nature. If something is too overwhelming, take is slow!
If you are struggling to get motivated to incorporate some of these positive changes, reach out to a counselor for assistance on identifying these roadblocks and making plan to work through them.
What are your mental health goals for the new year? Comment below with one habit that you plan on incorporating into your routine that will have a positive impact on your overall well-being.
Receive Support For Your Mental Wellness in North Carolina
Incorporating new mental health habits into your schedule is much easier said than done. Our team of caring therapists understands the difficulties you may have, and we would be honored to support you in creating lasting positive change. We are happy to offer support from our New Bern, NC-based practice. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:
1. Fill out this consult form.
2. Read about our skilled therapists.
3. Begin cultivating lasting change
Other Services Offered With Renewed Wellness Counseling
We are happy to offer a variety of services in support of your mental wellness from our New Bern, NC-based practice. Our therapists specialize specifically in therapy for military families, chronic illness counseling, and addiction counseling. We are also happy to offer life transition counseling, anxiety treatment, and trauma therapy. In fact, we can help you wherever you are in the state with online therapy in North Carolina and South Carolina. Feel free to learn more about us by visiting our blog or FAQ today.