The New Year and Your Mental Health – A Guide

The New Year is here, and for most, that means it’s time to start thinking about making positive changes. Whether you’re part of the 45% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, or you just want to take small steps towards improving your life, there’s no time like the present to focus on your mental health.

Need some inspiration? Here are some mental health resolutions to consider in 2021.

Get More Sleep

In a world where we’re always pushing to get more done in less time, it’s no surprise that most of us are sleep deprived. However, not getting enough sleep can contribute to symptoms of depression.

If you’re an anxious person, you may also struggle to fall (and stay) asleep. Try setting a resolution to go to bed earlier each night, avoiding caffeine late in the day, or taking a relaxing bath or shower before your bedtime. If this doesn’t work, research some other natural methods to improve sleep and keep trying until you find a combination that works.

Step Away from Your Phone

Did you know your social media feeds are likely damaging your mental health? It’s true! Seeing the highlight reels of all your contacts can make you feel like your life is inadequate.

Constantly staring at your phone also prevents you from having meaningful human interactions. In fact, this is one of the most common complaints that come up in couples therapy. This year, resolve to put down your phone and spend more in-person time with the people who mean the most.

Get More Active

Another negative side effect of modern-day lifestyles is a lack of activity. Make a resolution to get up and move every day. Don’t overdo it, though.

If you try to spend hours in the gym each day, you’ll quickly burn out. Instead, start slowly. Consider taking a brisk 15-minute walk after dinner or on your lunch break.

Even this little bit of exercise can have an antidepressant effect. It can also help you sleep better!

Stand Up to the Stigma

There’s no shame in struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. You may worry about having to face a stigma when considering seeking therapy, but this is mostly unfounded.

In fact, more people are seeking therapy now than ever before. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, 23% of 18 to 24-year-olds in the U.S. have sought counseling. This is thanks, in part, to the rise of online and teletherapy, which has made it easier than it ever has been to access mental health support.

If you’re still concerned about the opinions of others, simply don’t tell them. Just as it’s nobody’s business what medications you take, the steps you take to care for your mental health are also none of their concern.

Pick Up a Hobby

Learning how to do something new or sharpening a skill you already have can boost your confidence and provide a much-needed break from the daily grind. If you have the time, consider taking up a hobby or returning to one you’ve let slide.

Take a Break

It’s easy to work yourself to the bone. Many of us avoid taking time off from work because we’re afraid we’ll fall behind. Especially now, when money is tight and travel is restricted, you might consider skipping your vacation this year.

This is a mistake! You need to rest and recharge, even if that means taking a short stay-cation. Even re-claiming your weekends can go a long way towards relieving stress and allowing you to decompress.

Start Journaling

Taking some time to journal every day can do wonders for your mental health. This allows you to create a safe, private space where you can write down your thoughts instead of letting them fester in your mind.

When you write, you’ll often discover problems you didn’t realize were bothering you and, if you keep at it, there’ a good chance the solutions are in your mind as well.

You don’t have to be a great writer to keep a journal. Just set aside some time each day to put pen to paper and watch the magic happen.

Help Others

One of the best ways to get out of your head is to focus on helping others. There are many ways to get involved. Consider volunteering at your local food bank, walking dogs at the animal shelter, or even doing random acts of kindness for strangers.

Not only will this make you feel good, but it will also improve your sense of connection with the rest of the world.

Practice Gratitude

Taking a moment each day to be thankful for what you have is another easy way to make yourself feel happier. Consider keeping a simple gratitude journal and writing down five things you’re thankful for each day or simply say something you’re grateful for out loud each night before you go to bed. It doesn’t take much effort but can have a huge impact on your overall attitude.

Be Kinder to Yourself

Many times, we are our own toughest critic. If you do nothing else this year, make a resolution to be kinder to yourself. This includes giving yourself a break when it comes to making resolutions.

If what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, look for ways to tweak what you’re doing. Try this for a couple of weeks, and make more changes if needed. The key is to keep trying new ways, instead of giving up on yourself.

Take Control of Your Mental Health in 2021

These simple resolutions can have a major impact on your mental health. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Start by choosing one or two of these tips. Commit to them and see how it feels. Then, if you feel like you can add a bit more, do it one resolution at a time.

If you find that you’re struggling, there’s no reason to try to suffer on your own. Help is just a click away!

Explore some of the benefits of psychotherapy, then download our app. If you sign up now, you can enjoy your first week of therapy for just $20, so don’t wait get started today!