If you haven’t made a New Year’s resolution yet, it isn’t too late to do it now. Set your sights on a resolution that will help you live happier and healthier this year and beyond. Make this your year to resolve to focus on your mental health. To approach this in a practical, achievable way, follow these 6 micro-resolutions that will add up to a much healthier you.
Stop beating yourself up.
We are often our own harshest critics, but that self-negativity can be draining. If you tend to find yourself stressing over things you did or said in the past, or you just never take a break to stop and acknowledge your own efforts in life, then it’s time to change up your thinking. Forgive yourself if things don’t go as planned—even if you slip up on these goals, remember that you’re human and allowed to make mistakes.
Start exercising because it feels good.
When you stop putting so much pressure on yourself, you can start participating in activities not because you feel like you have to, but because you enjoy them and feel good when you do them. Exercise may be cast in a whole new light if you start doing it because you like it, not to meet weight loss goals or keep up with friends and others. Of course, that also means spending time figuring out what type of exercise you really do enjoy and which workouts you can skip.
Volunteer in your community.
One of the best ways to boost your own mental health is to get out of your own head for a while. Socializing with friends is a great place to start, but an even better habit is to volunteer in your community. Doing something good for others will always have a positive impact on your mood, and it doesn’t take a lot to start. A simple act like donating blood or participating in a school fundraising event can have you feeling great. But you can keep the good mood going if you make a regular commitment to volunteer. There are tons of ways to give back, so start exploring at places like VolunteerMatch or with your local church or school district to find the right fit.
Go outside more often.
Connecting with nature is a reliable stress reliever. Whether you read under your favorite tree in the park, go for a strenuous hike, or sit and watch waves on the beach, absorbing the sights and sounds of nature will help you reconnect to your roots and wash away the burden of your stress—and that will only help you manage your overall mood better.
Develop a new hobby.
Making time for yourself is essential, but that time shouldn’t be wasted on the couch. In your free time, indulge in a hobby—either something new or something you haven’t spent time doing in a while. Not only will you immerse yourself into an activity that is far removed from your daily stresses, but you will gain confidence as you get better at a new skill.
Spend less time with your phone.
Wondering where you’ll find the time for your new hobby and exercise routine? One step to take is to put down your smartphone. One study in 2017 indicated that the average American spends almost 3 hours per day on a smartphone, and most of that time is spent idly checking emails and social media—activities that can themselves generate stress. Do give yourself time to check in on your phone but remember to put it down more often (or even turn it off) for the sake of your mental health.
You don’t have to go at it alone with these or any New Years resolutions. MeMD can help you connect with a licensed therapist in less than 24 hours so you can find the support and mental healthcare you need without a physician’s referral or a long waitlist for an appointment.