Most of us like to make a list of New Year resolutions before welcoming the year. We like to prepare a list of ‘Things to Do’ or a list of goals. We like to set new goals such as spending more time with the family, joining a gym, cutting back on junk food, getting a new job, or kicking that cigarette butt. But sometimes, the list gets too long, becomes unviable and unrealistic, and the failure to achieve these goals often leads to stress that disrupts our mental health. While the process of goal setting can make us feel ecstatic and give us a sense of temporary high, their non-implementation makes us feel like a failure. For new year resolutions to be achievable, they must be simple and realistic. While most of the goals are centered around physical health, in truth, they should be focusing on mental health. So, what kind of new year resolutions must you take to ensure good mental health?
Let us look at 10 new year’s resolutions that focus on self-healing and mindfulness that can sustain a state of good mental health in the months to come.
1. Beating the Intoxication Game
While the party season entails drinking more than usual and indulging in drugs, substance abuse harms physical and mental health. Alcohol is a well-known depressant and affects our mood negatively, making us feel anxious and, at times, low. Depending upon the drugs we ingest, the effects can range from euphoria, anxiety, depression, and long-term psychosis, delusions, and hallucinations. Let us pledge to reduce our psychological dependence on drinking, taking drugs, or any kind of intoxication. Taking measures to cut back on substance abuse improves our mental well-being.
2. Look After the Physical Self to Feel Ensure Good Mental Health
We all know that good mental health is related to excellent physical health. Making positive changes in our physical well-being can improve our mental well-being. Exercising is known to boost ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain, resulting in an improved mood and a profound sense of well-being. Some form of physical engagement every day will make us feel better in all respects.
3. Eat Healthy
When we are stressed, it is quite easy to fall back upon junk food. It is time to change it. As a new year resolution, make a conscious decision of eating healthy by including lots of nutrient-rich food items in your diet. Such a diet full of nutrients such as omega-3 acids, vitamins and folic acids can elevate mood and lower one’s stress levels. Negative feelings also reduce when a person eats healthily.
4. Sleep Well
An average adult must sleep at least eight hours to be fully rested, and our modern, busy lives often disallow us from sleeping for such an extended period. Sleeping well helps us recuperate from physical and mental exhaustion, resulting in a positive mood and increased alertness. Try hitting the bed and waking up at the same hour every day to establish a healthy, consistent sleep routine. Avoid an afternoon nap to avoid struggling to fall asleep at night. Limit sugar, alcohol, and caffeine intake before hitting the bed. Limit screen time at least an hour before your target bedtime. The blue light emitted by devices are quite stimulating and prevent you from getting quality sleep.
5. Get Yourself Out There
The duration of Christmas and New Year implies wintery, dark days, further implying that one must stay restricted inside the house. But did you know that staying indoors or isolating yourself can impact your mental health negatively? Make a new year resolution this year to actively look for ways to get yourself out of the house. Join a group or a book club. Volunteer, or join a sports team to tackle your January blues. This will ensure you end up striking more conversations, forge new friendships, and end up with good mental health.
6. Practice Self-Care
Very often, we find ourselves focusing on the needs and desires of others at our own expense, often undermining how beneficial it is to dedicate a small amount of time to our psychological health. Plan some time for yourself to enjoy doing small things such as reading a magazine, taking a hot bath, cooking your favorite dish, or listening to music that can help improve your mood or help you re-charge. Practice self-care. Discover what makes you happy. It could be striking conversations with people, traveling to places, or engaging in activities. When you feel low, thinking about positive things will lift your mood. Avoid negative self-talk and stop being hard on yourself, which negatively impacts your sense of self-esteem, resilience, and well-being. Self-therapy is the best form of therapy.
7. Consider Taking a Social Media Break
The world is connected through social media, but there is also a dark side to its adverse effects on mental health. Social media sites often force us to have unrealistic expectations and compare our lives with others. When you see the seemingly ‘perfect’ lives of other people, it can lead you to feel inadequate as you may not be able to match theirs. As a new way of beginning the year, try taking a break from your social media accounts so you can assess the impact the absence of social media has on your mental health. You will find yourself much happier without having to constantly know about other people’s lives. Without having to scroll continuously through your tablet or smartphone, you will be able to spend a considerable amount of leisure time with your family.
8. Make Time for Some Peace and Quiet
Meditate, read, go for a walk or journal. Spend a small amount of time with yourself without any sound or electronics. Let your mind relax, and let the peace soothe your system so that you can be present in the moment.
9. Practice Mindful Breathing
Engage in mindful breathing. Let the air into your lungs and then blow it out. It slows down your heart, reduces blood pressure, and helps your body and mind calm down. And the more you practice, the more it becomes a way of life.
10. Practice the Art of Gratitude
We must count our blessings. No matter how bad our day goes, there is always something positive that we must express our gratitude for. Using the language of gratitude and positivity regularly helps us recognize that we do not need to chase material possessions or people’s attention so much because we have so much to be grateful for. As a new year resolution, jot down something you are grateful for and put it in the ‘gratitude jar’. So, when you pull them out at the end of the month or year, it will bring new feelings of gratitude.
If you are struggling to be in good mental health or have mental health issues, you must get help. You must understand that help is available in all forms. You can improve your mood or condition your brain in a certain way with techniques designed by expert psychologists guiding you on a mental health app. Or you can reach out to a professional in person to overcome your challenges.