In a year of many ups and downs (quite a lot of downs in 2020, if we’re honest), the idea of a new year being right around the corner sounds so good to us. We’re sure many of you are also looking forward to what this new year brings. I mean, it can only go up from here, right? 2020 was filled with events that made us nervous, anxious, scared, hopeless, hopeful, cheerful, reassured, inspired, and so on. Any reasonable person would find themselves with bits of bruised mental health by the time this year ends.
As a result, we need to make sure we’re keeping our mental health in check just as much as our physical health. After-all, that’s what we normally chat about here with you. From causes of incontinence to the changes that come with menopause, we think breaking the stigma on mental health is necessary too. As we enter this new year, it is perfectly normal to find yourself a bit anxious or upset. Here are a few mental health tips that we’re practicing as we slide into a brand new year.
#1 Get More Sleep
I know what you’re thinking. ‘Is hitting the pillow really supposed to solve all our problems?’ Not necessarily. But, it has been clinically proven that lack of sleep can lead to more depression and anxiety. So if you’re having trouble with insomnia, make getting good sleep a resolution for this new year.
Put the phone away, so you’re not tempted to go on a scrolling spree. And, don’t treat lack of sleep like it’s something honorable. For some reason, bragging rights often go up when sleep hours go down, but let’s change that. In this new year, we are putting our health first. We’re getting the recommended seven to eight hours of snooze time that we deserve.
#2 Practicing Gratitude Boosts Mental Health
If this year has taught us anything, it’s to be grateful for all the good things in our lives, no matter how big or small. Practicing gratitude is easier said than done though, as we often forget after a day or two. Reflecting on things to be grateful for can establish a sense of well-being, which can obviously do wonders for our mental health.
Whether it’s taking a moment at the end of each day to name three things you’re grateful for or keeping a gratitude journal, practicing gratitude can help to center you and focus on the now.
#3 Eat Well
Did you know that eating well wasn’t just about maintaining your physical health? While it’s great to strive to eat a balanced diet, we should consider too how what we eat impacts our mental health.
For example, did you know foods with the amino acid tryptophan, can help prevent mood swings? You can actually find tryptophan in some of your favorite foods, such as eggs, cheese, pineapple, tofu, and turkey, to name a few. Who knew that simply picking nutrient-dense foods could potentially lead to better mental health? Being mindful of what you eat can be as easy as looking up the nutrient benefits of certain foods and adding them into your everyday meals.
#4 Log Out Of Social Media For Your Mental Health
I don’t know about you, but many of us found ourselves checking social media every day in 2020 like it was a job! Whether it was looking for news on the pandemic, the election, or looking at anything to distract themselves, the allure of social media swooped in plenty of times.
One mental health tip you could consider practicing this new year is cutting back your time spent on social media. What may seem like a good distraction can leave you in about the same lousy mood you started with, or worse. Social media platforms are actually designed to be addictive and can make us more anxious, depressed, and even physically ill!
#5 Declutter Your Space
This year found us all spending quite a lot of time at home. It’s entirely possible we found our spaces a little more cluttered. Clutter can negatively affect your health by causing high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can cause unwanted symptoms like rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, and muscle weakness.
Therefore, if your space got a little messy this year, make a point to declutter your space so that you can declutter your mind, too. You could go all out and completely redo your space. Or, just clean out some stuff you may have accumulated this year. The simple act of decluttering and letting go of things can improve your mindset a lot more than you realize.
#6 Get A Hobby
You might be saying to yourself, “wait, another hobby?” After all, this year gave a lot of people time to start various hobbies. However, for most individuals, those new hobbies came and went fast. In the haze of the unknown, it seemed hard to focus on one particular hobby and make it really stick. Therefore, this new year, aim to be more intentional with your time. Focus on one specific hobby that lets you unwind and focus your energies on something fulfilling that brings you joy.
Start The New Year Right Working On Your Mental Health
I don’t know about you, but we’re ready to ring in the new year. This year has definitely taught us a lot, as I’m sure it has for many of you. For this new year, let’s aim to practice mindful habits that can help strengthen our mental health as we enter another year around the sun. Let’s anticipate a new year filled with good things, hope, inspiration, and so much more.
We have new and exciting things coming in the New Year. You won’t want to miss any of it, so give Lily Bird a try today and we’ll make sure you always have the inside scoop.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH