Every year we go through the ritual of making goals for the upcoming year. But the pressure that comes with New Year’s resolutions can be counterproductive to making you feel good about starting fresh. Many of us make big intentions of losing weight, getting our finances in order, or quitting a bad habit that we’re addicted to only to find ourselves discouraged after a couple of days. The key is to go easy on yourself and set daily goals that are doable instead of overwhelming yourself with unachievable targets. This year, choose to make mental health resolutions.
The long and stressful three years since the pandemic has taught us that above all, our mental health and nourishment should hold priority as we go forward. Our mental health dictates everything we do, including our social and emotional well-being. Being intentional with our mental health can help us connect deeper with ourselves; with our minds, bodies and souls. If you’re looking for some positive and achievable habits to inculcate in your routine, here are our top 5 New Year resolutions to look after your mental health in 2023.
5 New Year Resolutions For Your Mental Health
1. I will make relaxation a part of my routine.
Life is extremely unpredictable. There will be times when you are stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling out of touch with reality. It’s inevitable to go through these motions but what you can control is how you respond to the stress. Relaxation techniques can help you manage your emotions and thoughts better. One of the most significant ways to relax your mind and body is through meditation as it can help you reach a state of calm, decrease your stress levels, and improve your mood. Apart from meditation, you can also practice deep breathing exercises, take a bubble bath once a week, or read your favourite book to calm down and unwind.
2. I will actively connect with others.
Meaningful relationships and soul-fulfilling connections are vital for our mental health. After disconnecting for two years and trying to virtually build a connection due to a pandemic, humans need to revive their relationships with others to improve their physical and emotional well-being. It could be a chat over coffee or a hug from your partner after a long day or a day spent fishing with your dad. Connecting can also happen over silence. Spending time together is more important to share a bonding experience.
3. I will prioritise restful sleep.
Your mental health is highly influenced by the amount and quality of sleep you get. Lack of sleep forces your brain to remain in a state of unrest and imbalance. It also makes it difficult for your brain to regulate emotions and cope with stress, which can trigger symptoms of mental illnesses. A good sleep routine will not only help you unwind from the stressors of the day but will also prepare you for the day ahead. Simple steps like switching off your devices an hour before bed, changing into comfortable pyjamas, doing gentle stretching or yoga, or reading one chapter every night can help you prepare for a restful sleep.
4. I will nourish my body with good food.
Good health is a condition of optimal well-being. This means keeping the body and the mind in harmony. A healthy diet promotes a healthy gut, which is known as our second brain. The gut is responsible for sending chemical messages to the brain to regulate sleep, pain, appetite, mood, and emotion. Support your gut and your mental health by increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and dairy products.
5. I will monitor my social media intake.
Just as you monitor your dietary intake to nourish your body and mind, you need to monitor your social intake to nourish your mental health. Most of the time, our phones are attached to our hands, almost acting as our lifelines. Our whole world is in our phones, keeping us connected to the outside world through calls, texts, and social media. However, an overdose of social media use can lead to anxiety and depression. Limit your social media intake to a couple hours every day. Make sure to not start and end your day with social media and use that time to do something meaningful or relaxing instead.
Improving your mental health is a journey; it doesn’t always happen in a straight line. There are ups and there are downs, but these are the motions of life that you need to embrace to come up stronger. These simple habits can significantly change your well-being if done with conscious intention.