Every year, people make resolutions, some they keep and others they don’t. Whilst the New Year can be a good time to work out what you can improve, don’t be too hard on yourself and make the changes that are right for you.
If you do choose resolutions this year, make them manageable. Small positive changes are easier to stick to, boosting your confidence and increasing the likelihood of longer-term positive changes.
Here are a few changes that everyone can make to help improve their mental wellbeing in the year ahead.
Limit your time on social media: Research has shown that time on social media can negatively impact our mental health. Anxiety can come from trying to keep up with others, or feeling guilty about not doing specific things. It can be hard to not compare our lives with others online, but often these are just small snippets and don’t reflect reality.
Too much phone use can also impact our relationships, why not set some simple rules such as no phones at mealtimes, or turn off before bed and read a book or practice mindfulness.
Get more sleep: Lack of sleep can heighten feelings of anxiety, as well as lower your energy levels, going to bed earlier and turning your phone off an hour before bed can help with a more restful night’s sleep. Use the hour to unwind and relax.
If you suffer with poor sleep, our guide ‘a better night’s sleep’ has some tips and advice to help you get a good night’s rest.
Cut down on drinking: You may not sign up to dry January, but cutting down on the amount that you drink, can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health.
According to Happiful, alcohol can lower our inhibitions, disrupt us from being able to rest and create an overwhelming sense if anxiety, depression and shame.
Exercise more: Exercise releases endorphins, improving both your mood and sense of wellbeing. You don’t have to join the gym or sign up to multiple classes, which can put extra pressure on you.
Make some small changes each day, such as a walk at lunchtime or going for a swim.
Whilst exercise isn’t a solution to all of our mental health struggles, it will make you feel better and improve your physical health.
- Practise self-care: This can mean different things for people, but self-care is about taking time out to do something for you, this could be a long bath, reading a book, doing exercise or just being better at saying ‘no’ to things. Self-care isn't being ‘selfish’, taking time for yourself is one of the best things that you can do for your mental wellbeing.
- Embrace friends and family: If you are having a difficult time, trust your friends and family, talk to them and seek support. It can be all too easy to isolate yourself when dealing with anxiety or depression, but talking to someone you trust, can help you feel less alone.
- Improve your diet: It can be easy to set unrealistic food and weight loss goals. Eating healthily is not about counting calories or losing weight, but being more mindful of the foods that we eat, and work towards a healthy, balanced diet.
Get into good food habits that keep your sugar levels steady, such as eating breakfast, eating smaller portions spaced throughout the day and avoiding high sugar drinks and snacks. Ensuring you eat a balanced, nutrient rich diet can increase energy levels and boost your mood.
Mind has more tips for food and mood.
- Track your mood: Tracking your mood can help identify events that make you more anxious, stressed or worried, as well as making a note of the things that have made you feel happy or thankful. Writing things down, can help to clear your head of worries and act as a reminder of the things that make you happy.
- Find a new hobby: January is a good time to start something new from joining a club or volunteering. This will help to get you out of the house, meet new people and boost your confidence, which all add to improving your mental health and wellbeing.
- Seek help: If you are struggling ask for help. You can call our free support line on 0333 212 4409 to talk to a professional counsellor at any time of the day or night. .