It’s a new year, and those resolutions that start strong during the month of January start fizzling out after the first few weeks. It’s understandable as we get busy after the holidays and forget to put ourselves first.
Before that happens, we want to give you some simple things to focus on this year to give your mental health a boost.
At My Winnipeg Therapist, we work with people of all ages from children and teens to adults over 50 and beyond. It’s never too early or too late to make your mental health a priority.
Here are 7 simple tips to improve your mental health this year:
Tip 1 | A Healthy Mind Starts with the Right Foods
There is no one-size-fits-all remedy, but some things to consider as you navigate the foods that help you feel well are:
- Proteins for Breakfast
- Complex Carbohydrates
- Limited Caffeine, Alcohol, and Food Dyes and Simple Carbs
- A Variety of Fruits and Veggies
- Probiotics: Gut Health Improves Brain Health
Tip 2 | Make Exercise a Priority
Exercise not only helps battle against depression and anxiety by regulating important brain chemicals, but studies also show that exercise helps improve self-esteem, enhances interpersonal connection, and helps regulate behaviors in children with ADHD and other executive functioning deficits.
This can look as mild as walking or light yoga, all the way up through interval and endurance training, bicycling, or running. You should check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen, but even as little as 15 minutes of cardio activity a day can have positive benefits for your mental health.
Tip 3 | Connect with People
In our social media versions of reality and our remote working world, it’s sometimes hard to recognize when we may be isolating ourselves without real, face-to-face connections with others.
People who have strong relationships with others report having a stronger sense of wellbeing. Looking for ways to connect with people? Consider one or more of these options:
- Join a club, collective hobby, or sport
- Visit a friend or family member who could use the company
- Have a game night or movie night with friends or family
- Look for local social meetups online
- Start a conversation with somebody new
- Reach out to a colleague or social media friend for lunch
Tip 4 | Take A Break
Sometimes we just need to turn a part of us off so we can regenerate a sense of wellbeing. Too much of anything can be toxic to our mental health. If you feel like you have over consumed, overworked, or overstimulated yourself, take a break. This can be a small change or a larger one, depending on your habits and the resources available. Here are a few common options.
- Taking a social media hiatus
- Taking a personal day off from work
- Taking a leave of absence
- Getting a babysitter for the night, even if it’s just to get some alone time
- Going on a retreat or spa weekend
- Hiring a house cleaner to help with chores
- Saying NO to social engagements you feel you’re obligated to attend
You can’t run off a drained battery. If you need to let go of some things to help you feel better, there should be no guilt or obligation around it. Find something that speaks to your values and sense of happiness.
Tip 5 | Meditate, Journal, Reflect
These are small changes that have a big impact on your mental health. When you integrate one or more of these on a regular basis, you will increase your:
Memory and focus
You may also decrease or regulate your:
- Brain Clutter
- Stress and Anxiety
- Physical Pain
- Negative Emotions
Tip 6 | Good Sleep is Critical.
All stages of sleep are important for overall brain health, memory, focus, and cognition. But during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) or deep sleep, your brain has the opportunity to process the emotions you felt during the day.
A lack of sleep can contribute to mood and mental health disorders and increase emotional reactivity.
Here are some ways to improve your sleep and improve your mental wellbeing:
- Have the same bedtime and routine every night
- Turn off electronics and screens long before you go to bed
- Invest in an eye mask to block out ambient light
- Avoid substances like alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco at night
- Get regular exercise during the day
- Get natural light exposure during the day
- Integrate Meditation, ASMR, or other relaxation techniques
Tip 7 | Find Purpose and Meaning
Following your purpose and calling makes you feel in touch with yourself as whole and worthy. What makes for purpose and meaning is different for everyone. You might try one of the following to find yours:
- Engage in work that makes you feel useful
- Invest in relationships and spend quality time with people who matter to you
- Volunteer, which can help enrich your life and make you happier
- Care for others, which can be as rewarding and meaningful as it is challenging
If you are interested in improving your mental health in 2022 and could use some extra professional support, reach out for help from our team of therapists. Let’s get you on the path to wellness in 2022!