Ways to improve your mental health this year

Ways to improve your mental health this year

Struggling with your mental health is challenging at any time. However, with the constant bad news currently being reported from all directions, it may feel overwhelming. While we can’t change a lot of the things going on around us, we can find ways of looking after our own mental health. Here are some suggestions of how to do that in 2021.

Stay connected

Whether or not you’re able to see friends and family in person, it’s important to use other ways to stay in touch. This could be regular emails, telephone calls, video calls or good old-fashioned letters. Letters may seem outdated, but they have a more personal touch than emails, as well as giving you something to look forward to receiving in the mail.

You can also talk to a professional to help you work through deeper issues, particularly if you find it difficult to share them with those closest to you. It can be easier talking to someone outside of your family or social circle. Relief Seeker has online counseling reviews, so you can find the right one for you.

Looking after your body

When you’re struggling with poor mental health, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overeating, drinking too much and staying indoors. That can be counterproductive, making us feel worse and more likely to continue doing those things. Taking the first step in getting outside for a walk, cutting back on alcohol or switching certain types of food for healthier options isn’t easy. However, it can help to improve your state of mind. Fruit and vegetables are much better for you than sugary foods, which provide a quick burst of energy but can leave you feeling anxious and affect your sleep pattern if you consume too much. Drinking water is essential throughout the day.

Getting enough sleep is crucial to looking after your body and mind. You will feel more motivated and ready to go out for a walk or take part in other exercise if you’re physically and mentally refreshed. Exercise can release endorphins in the brain and improve your mood. Eventually, you’ll build up a positive habit of fitting exercise into your routine.

Looking after your mind

Listening to upbeat music can make you feel better. If it inspires you to move around and dance, then even better. Other things you might consider are keeping your mind active with crossword puzzles, taking up knitting and following a specific pattern to create something, writing a poem or story, or learning a new skill.

The feeling of achievement you get from any of these things, beats the feeling you might get after spending your day in front of the television. Whether binge-watching the latest series or being bombarded with the latest bad news, too much of this can have a negative effect on our mental health. It’s much better to find things to challenge us and get the mind working.

Try new things

While many people make New Year’s resolutions, these rarely last beyond January, and lead to feeling like we have failed. So instead of making resolutions, try making a list of all the things you want to try and a rough date of when you might attempt them by. Go easy on yourself and allow for any changes. You may find something isn’t as enjoyable as you thought, or you want to spend more time on something else from your list. Focus on the things you get enjoyment from doing. Don’t see quitting something as failing. Instead, see it as trying new things and seeing what works for you. You could end up with a new hobby or even a potential side business. 

Helping others

Sometimes the best way to forget our own worries for a while is to focus on helping others. You could use something you enjoy or have a strong interest in, to volunteer and use your existing skills to support a cause close to your heart or gain new skills. Lots of voluntary work can be done online at a time to suit you. For example, if you love connecting with people on social media, and are a big supporter of animal welfare, you could look for voluntary work sharing posts and relevant information for an animal welfare charity. You’ll be connecting with people, supporting a cause and gaining valuable experience. This could also help your own mental health.

It may take some willpower and motivation to take the first steps, but you can improve your mental health in 2021, and make positive changes for yourself and even help others at the same time.

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