6 New Years Resolutions That Will Benefit Your Mental Health

6 New Years Resolutions That Will Benefit Your Mental Health
At the start of every new year, we think about what we can do better in the year to come. Some of the most common new year resolutions include exercising, losing weight, getting organized, and learning a new skill. However, this year, think about what you can do on a regular basis to better your mental health.

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At the start of every new year, we think about what we can do better in the year to come. Some of the most common new year resolutions include exercising, losing weight, getting organized, and learning a new skill. However this year, think about what you can do on a regular basis to better your mental health.

Here are some of our top suggestions for New Years Resolutions to help better your mental health: 

1. Look After Yourself Physically

Your physical health and mental wellbeing are linked and there are lots of positive changes you can make to improve your physical wellbeing that will also result in psychological benefits.

Eat Nourishing Foods

Dietary changes can bring about changes in your brain structure, both chemically and physiologically. Those changes can help improve mood.

To do this, try making a conscious effort to eat more healthily in the New Year. Research suggests that foods that are 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. Not only does this have physical health benefits, but a healthy diet that’s full of vitamins and nutrients can also have positive effects on your mental wellbeing.

Stay Hydrated

Did you know that about 80% of people don’t drink enough water? That’s a big problem becasue our bodies are about 60% water and our brains are made up of 70% water.

Water impacts our energy levels, the ability to focus properly, the intensity of our emotions, and our overall happiness.

The best plan of action to stay hydrated is to drink water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty all the time. Another tip is to start your morning with a glass of water because we get dehydrated as we sleep (bonus points if you drink a glass before your coffee). Most experts suggest that drinking between 64 and 80 ounces of water can boost your energy, focus, and happiness.

Get Enough Sleep

Sufficient sleep, especially REM sleep, helps your brain process emotions. For teenagers, it is recommended to get between 8-10 hours of sleep while adults should be getting 7 to 9 hours.

During sleep, your brain also works to evaluate your thoughts and lack of sleep makes it harder for your brain to gather positive emotions. This can influence your mood and emotional reactivity and is tied to mental health disorders and their severity, including the risk of suicidal ideas or behaviors.

A common cause of sleeping problems is poor sleep hygiene. Here are some habits that can lead to healthier sleep hygiene:

  • Having a set bedtime and maintaining a steady sleep schedule
  • Finding ways to wind-down, such as with relaxation techniques, as part of a standard routine before bedtime
  • Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine in the evening
  • Dimming lights and putting away electronic devices for an hour or more before bed
  • Getting regular exercise and natural light exposure during the daytime
  • Maximizing comfort and support from your mattress, pillows, and bedding
  • Blocking out excess light and sound that could disrupt sleep

Moving Your Body

Exercise boosts the ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain, known as endorphins, which ultimately improve your mood and sense of wellbeing. This makes it important to engage in some form of exercise every day. It could be as simple as even going for a short walk and it’s likely that you’ll feel better both physically and mentally.

The challenging part is finding the motivation, time, and effort to do these things. One way to start is by creating a simple routine. Have set times during the week for your prefered physical activity. Starting is the hardest part, but it will get easier once you get used to the routine!

Here are some physical activities you can try:

  • Walking/Jogging/Sprints
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Lifting Weights
  • Yoga
  • Sports
  • Standing while working

2. Make Time for Self Care

Self-care is an important activity to do every day and can lead toward improved overall health and wellness. Here are a few ways to incorporate self care.

Find Time For Yourself

Try and plan some time for yourself as often as possible. Even the small things that you enjoy such as having a hot bath, reading a magazine or book, or listening to your favorite music, can help improve your mood. Set time aside for this each day, or a few times a week, so these activities are something that you can look forward to!

If you’re not sure how to fit self-care into your busy routine, read this article for more tips.

Do Something You Love Daily

This goes hand-in-hand with finding time for yourself. Take some time to recognize the people, places, and activities that make you the happiest. Then, make a plan to include as many of these things into your daily life as possible. You can even make a list of these things and refer to it when you are feeling especially low, anxious, or stressed out. Doing things that you truly love can help boost your mood and overall wellbeing!

Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

Change can be hard and often takes time so it is important forgive yourself for mistakes. You are here and doing your best, and that’s what counts!

If you find that you beat yourself up over small things, try to re-frame your negative thoughts so they’re helpful and conducive to positive mental health.

3. Learn More About Mental Health

Learning about mental health is one of the best ways to improve it. It is important not only to understand mental health but also to stand up against mental health stigmas!

Understanding Mental Health

One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to understand it. There are online resources available that provide information about common mental health and substance use conditions or you can talk to a medical professional to learn more about specific situations.

You can also take a Mental Health First Aid course that teaches people how to understand, identify, and respond to signs and symptoms of common mental health and substance use challenges.

Standing Up To Stigma

Feeling ashamed and at fault for something that is out of your control is a weight that no one should have to carry. Stigma can be incredibly challenging to bear. A few people who responded to a Facebook survey feel that living with mental health stigma is worse than living with a mental health condition. It shouldn’t be this way, and you can help to change society’s way of thinking about mental health.

If someone is using language that you find offensive and improper, let him or her know. Inspire them to join our stigma-free movement, and make a commitment to learning more about mental health. We all need to see the person, not the illness.

4. Keep A Journal

Journaling is proven to have several benefits. There are a ton of ways you can journal and keeping a daily journal and practicing gratitude are two of our favorites.

Daily Journal

Journals can be a great tool to help you reflect and organize your thoughts and emotions. Studies have also shown that keeping a daily journal or diary can help reduce stress, improve immune function, keep your memory sharp, strengthen emotional function, and boost your mood.

However, journaling can be a bit intimidating and difficult to make into a habit. If this is the case for you, try to start where you are and not judge yourself for what you are writing. f you need to initially just write a single line, or detail the specifics of what you had for breakfast, do it. Don’t preoccupy yourself with managing perfect punctuation, grammar, or spelling. Just write and don’t censor yourself. This is for you.

Practicing Gratitude

One popular form of journaling is gratitude journaling. One way to gratitude journal is to make a list of the people, places, activities, and things you are grateful for that day.

Researchers have found that expressing gratitude in a journal can have many different positive effects, helping you with sleep, depression and even pain tolerance.

5. Unplug

In an era of new and expanding technology, it is important to unplug and take a break from our screens and social media when we can.

Screen Time & Blue Light

Taking a break from your screens and blue light in particular can be extremely beneficial to both your physical and mental health.

That’s because your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and TV all give off blue light. While the evidence is growing that shows blue light can be helpful during the day, nighttime exposure has been linked to health issues like sleeplessness and mood disorders. 

If you do need to be looking at a screen during the evening or night, try turning your device on night mode or using blue light filtering glasses.

Social Media

Social media has done a great job of connecting the world and can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. However, social media can also have negative consequences on our mental health.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can increase stress levels and have a negative impact on mood due to the fact that they encourage us to compare our lives to the lives of other people. Therefore, when you see others’ seemingly ‘perfect’ day-to-day lives, this can lead you to feel inadequate that you’re not able to match them.

To start off the New Year on a positive note, try deleting social media apps or logging out of your profiles. You might find that you’re much happier without having a constant insight into other people’s lives. This can also be able to find more time to spend quality time with friends and family or other activities that you never seemed to have time for.

6. Stay Connected

Pandemics can make it hard to stay connected but it is important to find save ways to do it because completely isolating yourself can have a negative impact on your mental health.

Friends and Family

It is important to spend time with other people and not to isolate yourself. This is especially difficult in the middle of a pandemic but finding safe ways to confide in a trusted friend or relative about your feelings is important!

Here are some ways you can safely connect with people when face to face communication is not an option

  • Text / Video Chat
  • Watch A Show Together with Netflix Party
  • Virtual Book Club
  • Online Games
  • Virtual Dinner / Cooking Class
  • Virtual Yoga
  • Virtual Concerts
  • Create a Spotify Playlist

Share Your Story

Expressing yourself and opening up about your experiences is not only personally uplifting, but it also helps other people who can relate to you. Click here if you are interested in sharing your story with Oasis!


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