As we enter into a new year, it’s an ideal time to reflect back and assess what worked for you in the past, and move forward with new goals for an even healthier and happier year ahead. One goal we should all add to our list is to give our emotional, mental and physical health the priority it deserves. Sometimes that may mean adding new strategies to your routine; while other times it means simply sticking with the methods that are already working for you.
Here are some ideas to incorporate into your mental health support plan:
1. Lean on your support people. Identify the positive influences in your life and lean on those people. Having a strong, solid support system and staying connected to your support system, especially during stressful times or situations, can be key to strengthening your mental health.
2. Focus your energy on what you can control. It can be a tough lesson to learn, but if you focus on things out of your control, you will find yourself frequently stressed and feeling out of sorts. Focusing on what you CAN control- your decisions, interactions with others, taking care of yourself, etc. can help give you the power to become the best version of yourself.
3. Learn to ask for help when you need it. Asking for help when you need it is brave and can make a huge difference in your mental health. Your loved ones want to help; giving them the opportunity to do so can make a world of difference.
4. Identify your triggers. Knowing the things or situations that make you feel stressed, upset, angry, uncomfortable or anxious can allow you to avoid where you can and cope when you need to. Being prepared and understanding which circumstances bring on negative emotions can help you work through those feelings in a positive way.
5. Practice gratitude. Take some time everyday to reflect on all the good in your life and let those things fill you with happiness and joy. There have been many studies exploring the connection between gratitude and greater well-being, and that’s because when you consciously focus on positive aspects of your life, we have the power to change our brains by changing our attitudes.
6. Be kind to yourself. Practice keeping your inner voice positive. Be purposeful about giving yourself grace and treating yourself well. Mistakes are inevitable, but you can grow and learn from those, all while being patient and kind to yourself.
What are your tried-and-true ways to take care of your own mental health? May this be your happiest and healthiest year yet!