Caring for your mental health in 2021 is more important than ever considering how collectively detrimental 2020 was on our physical, mental and societal health. Here are some mental health tips to help you take charge during this year and beyond:
Take time for yourself
The world moves rather quickly around us, whether or not we’re able to keep up with it. The combination of work, school, home, social and personal responsibilities can create a massive mental load all at once.
Get moving every day
As little as 10 to 15 minutes of physical exercise has been found to improve mental health. If you do not currently have an exercise routine, start small with a quick walk around the block at lunch, or park a little farther away from the entrance at the store. Once you become more comfortable with moving around and finding your preferred methods of exercise, you can establish a routine that fits in some physical activity every day.
Call a friend
As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world, many of us have been sheltering-in-place, working and attending school from home, socially distancing and self-isolating. 2020 has been a very lonely year. When you need a friend to lean on or are just in a social mood, call or video chat with one of your nearest and dearest.
Take a break from screen time
Between social media, constant news alerts and texts and calls from friends to keep up with, our phones can quickly become a source of anxiety. Commit to turning off your phone for at least five minutes per day, and if you find that it is helpful, continue to reduce your screen time.
Integrate mindfulness into your daily life
Being mindful of your feelings and emotions can help pinpoint sources of stress while recognizing everything you are grateful for. Whether this comes in the form of meditation, journaling or breathwork, practice mindfulness during your challenges and successes alike.
This goes hand-in-hand with getting comfortable with your feelings. Take the time to learn how to appreciate and express your emotions, even negative ones, rather than suppressing them.
Set realistic goals for yourself
There is such a thing as being overly ambitious. It can be tempting to make a long to-do list to cover all of your tasks for the week, but this is often a setup for disappointment. Break up your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks so that you feel accomplished with each item you check off.
Be in nature
Fresh crisp air and lush green trees can help mental health in a most extraordinary way. Our world’s natural beauty can inspire in us a sense of wonder and tranquility. Spend some time in your favorite peaceful outdoor spot, soak up some vitamin D, and appreciate the life of the natural world around you.
Establish a healthy routine
Having a routine every day will bring about a sense of stability in your life. In addition to daily responsibilities like school, work, home life and childcare, make room for any other rituals that are important for you. Mindfulness, meditation, exercise, regular mealtime and socialization are all important enough for your mental health that they warrant a slot on your calendar. Start slowly, and don’t be afraid to add or remove items based on whether or not they are helping your mental health.
Limit your use of alcohol and substance use
If you’re finding that you are using drugs or alcohol during periods of stress, anxiety or depression, consider taking a break or seeking professional help if you are worried about developing an addiction. While a glass or two of wine may help you wind down, it is also an addictive substance that can have adverse side effects, like heightened anxiety the day after drinking.
Be kind to yourself
Think of yourself as your own friend. You wouldn’t berate your friend for making small mistakes, so why would you do it to yourself? You wouldn’t call your friend lazy when they are experiencing depression and having trouble caring for their mental health, so why would you say it to yourself? When you feel negative thoughts coming on, reframe your thinking in such a way that would support a healthy relationship with yourself.
Ask for help when you need it
Silvermist Recovery is here to help you navigate how to improve mental health in the face of events beyond your control. Reach out today at 724-268-4858 to learn how to take charge of your mental health in 2021.