Home » How to Make your Mental Health a Priority This Year
Happy New Year! Chances you have already sat down and decided on your resolutions and written down the goals that you would like to accomplish this year – I know I have! It’s typical for the new year to inspire change in our lives, but sometimes it can be tough to know where to begin or which areas of our lives to focus on. Often times, the areas of desired growth or change include wanting to increase financial wealth, improve relationships, or focus on mental health and wellness, like losing weight or eating healthier. Do these goals sound familiar?
Having goals to better ourselves is fantastic! Yet one area of life that can sometimes be put on the back burner or completely missed is our mental health. Although many people acknowledge that mental and emotional health is highly important because of the connection between mental well-being and many other areas of our lives, there can also be some mystery around mental health or even misunderstandings about what we can do to take care of our emotional well-being.
If you are scratching your head wondering how you can start taking better care of your mental well-being, here are some steps to take:
Read about mental health
Through trustworthy blogs, books from the library, or mental health websites for information about emotional well-being. You might start by searching for keywords that relate to concerns you have been experiencing such as anxiety, depression or addiction, or just browse the resources to start. Building knowledge around mental health can be really powerful as this is something we all experience but may not know a lot about.
Listen to your inner thoughts.
We all experience something called ‘self-talk’ which is basically a running narrative in our minds about ourselves. Consider your own thoughts about yourself. Is your inner voice primarily sharing positive thoughts or are is this self-talk negative and judgemental? It can be helpful to consider changing any negative self-talk by promoting self-compassion which mean recognizing any suffering we are experiencing and providing understanding and care for ourselves in difficult situations.
Write down any thoughts, feelings, fears or worries.
Keeping an account of your daily worries can help put these worries into perspective. If you are constantly feeling anxious or having fears and doubts about the future, it can be important to see how extreme these worries are for you. Record your thoughts by using the braindump method which literally means writing everything in your mind down on paper while not worrying about proper spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Or you might consider being more thoughtful by going through the process of reflective journaling.
Ask for support.
Everyone needs help once in a while, and it’s okay, and even courageous, to put up your hand and let someone know that things aren’t going well for you at the moment. This might mean talking to your doctor about how you have been feeling, asking a friend for some time to talk through your concerns, or having some ongoing support from a professional such as a therapist or other helping professional. Consider the help that would be most helpful for you right now and take the step that makes sense for your situation.
Offer to be there for others.
Once you have focused on learning more about your own mental health and have support in place, consider being there for others in your life. It can be as simple as asking a friend or family member ‘How are things for you?’ and encouraging them to reach out for more help if things aren’t okay. This simple act of kindness can go a long way in letting someone in your life know that you care and that they’re not alone in feeling down or needing help.
The key to taking care of your mental health is just to get started. By reading this article, you have already taken a big step in this process. Keep it going and be kind to yourself in the process!