Most new year’s resolutions are about physical health—exercising more, eating healthier, quitting tobacco, or drinking less.
These are great goals. But what about your mental health? It is just as important, but we often forget it. In 2023, make a point of focusing on your mental wellness.
Whatever your goals, make sure they are manageable. Research shows only about 40% of people who make new year’s resolutions remain committed to them six months later. So, rather than enacting sweeping changes on Jan. 1, try making small changes throughout the year. You will be more likely to make your new habits stick. Plus, you will be less likely to feel stressed or anxious about the changes.
Not sure where to start? Try adding these nine mental health resolutions into your routine in 2023:
1. GET SOME SUNSHINE EVERY DAY.
Sunlight has a positive effect on mood and behavior, according to numerous studies that have found a link between less sunlight and greater rates of anxiety disorders and depression. The exact reasons remain unclear, but scientists believe sunlight increases serotonin (a feel-good chemical) production in the body and helps regulate the circadian rhythm (your natural awake-sleep cycle). If you cannot get time in the sun each day, try light therapy.
2. SCHEDULE AROUND SLEEP.
Another daily task essential to your mental well-being is getting plenty of restful, restorative sleep. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, according to the Sleep Foundation. Be sure to leave enough room in your schedule each day to complete a bedtime ritual—such as brushing your teeth, washing your face and quietly reading—and get a full night’s rest. Try going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night until you reach your optimal bedtime.
3. SWAP SCREEN TIME FOR FACE-TO-FACE.
Technologies such as Zoom and FaceTime can help people stay connected when getting together is not possible. But real, face-to-face interactions are important for our mental health. Make it a goal to replace one digital interaction with an in-person visit per week.
4. CLICK "UNFOLLOW."
Update your social media accounts to encourage and inspire. Take some time to unfollow contacts whose posts make you feel sad, scared or anxious. Fill your feed with joy and positivity.
5. CHANGE YOUR WORDS.
It is easy to focus on what you do not like about yourself or things you want to change. This year, flip the script. When you hear yourself saying, “I hate my … ,” remind yourself you would not say that to a friend. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you love. Another strategy is to write out a list of things you are proud of and read it anytime you are feeling unsure of yourself.
6. MOVE YOUR BODY.
Exercise for 30 minutes a day—not to look good, but to feel good.
7. ACKNOWLEDGE SOMETHING GOOD EVERY DAY.
Practicing gratitude can do wonders for your mood. Consider keeping a gratitude journal, or simply take time each day to acknowledge at least one thing for which you are grateful.
8. LEARN A NEW RELAXATION TECHNIQUE.
Even when you take good care of your mental health, there will be times when feelings of anxiety and depression overwhelm you. Having a plan for when big feelings arise can help you deal with them more quickly. Learn these relaxation techniques for the next time you are feeling overwhelmed.
8. ASK FOR HELP.
It’s okay to not be okay. When you need help, MIND 24-7 is here for you. Our North Central Phoenix location near Metrocenter now serves both children and adults and is here for you any time of the day or night. At our North Central Phoenix clinic and our other Phoenix area locations, a mental health provider will see you within 20 minutes of arrival. Most people are on their way—with a care plan in hand—in less than two hours.