Top 5 New Year's resolutions to improve your mental health
After the busy festive period, the New Year can be a perfect time to make a fresh start, implement a better routine and set goals for yourself, all to achieve a healthy mind-set. You may be planning on joining a gym, eating healthier or even taking part in Dry January.
All of which are great resolutions to help you feel physcially healthier. However, you might also want to look at how you can improve your mental health in the New Year. Here are our five top tips:
1. Look after yourself physically
Keeping active isn't all about burning calories or gaining muscle. Your physical health and mental health are linked. Exercise boosts the ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain, known as endorphins, which ultimately improve your mood and sense of wellbeing. Try and make the effort to engage in some form of exercise every day, even if this is just going for a short walk, and it’s likely that you’ll feel better as a result, both physically and mentally.
2. Fuel your body
You want to make sure you are fuelling your body with the right nutrients and minerals. Eating healthy isn't about 'being on a diet', 'cutting carbs' or 'going keto' to lose all the weight we might have put on over the festive season. Having a balanced diet is vital to ensure your body can function properly. Our bodies need carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and a certain amount of calories (varying person to person) and eating too much or too less will negatively impact not only your physical health, but mental health too. Research suggests that foods rich in folic acid (such as avocado and spinach), and omega-3 acids (such as salmon and tuna), can improve your mood and lower stress, and anxiety. You should also aim to drink 2-3L of water a day.
3. Get enough sleep
Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information. Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. It can be hard to get the right amount of sleep every night, particularly for those who suffer with PTSD, work shifts, or for those with young children. However, the act of sleeping helps us to recuperate both physically and mentally. The average adult needs around 7-9 hours of sleep a night to be fully rested.
4. Practice self-care
Try and plan some time for yourself as often as you can. Even the small things that you enjoy such as having a bath, reading a book, or listening to your favourite music can help you to ‘re-charge’ and improve your mood. Set time aside in your schedules for this each day or a few times a week, so these activities are something that you can look forward to. Life is full of obligations and responsibilities, but it’s important to carve out time to do things that bring you pleasure.
5. Ask for help if you need it
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking about your feelings isn't a sign of weakness. It's part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. If you find that you are struggling with a mental health problem, it is important to talk about it with someone you trust or a professional.
There are plenty more New Year’s resolutions you can make, and maybe you’ve thought of some that are completely different to ours! Whatever they might be, always remember to be kind to your mind.