Simple habits to start for better mental health
Mental health is a key component to our overall well-being. It is essential to living a healthy and happy life. There are simple habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve your mental wellness. This can include relaxation techniques, journaling, expressing gratitude for the things in life that make us happy, staying hydrated and taking care of our physical health. These simple steps can help reduce anxiety and manage stress while helping us to reach the 2023 goals we have set for ourselves.
By making small improvements everyday towards improving our mental health, we can experience greater joy and satisfaction in life. It may take time but with consistent effort and practice, incorporating some of these simple habits into your daily routine could bring you more peace and satisfaction in your life.
Read on for some of the best ways to improve your mental health in 2023.
Prioritize yourself and your own needs
Time and time again we are pulled in a million different directions. Often, this leaves us feeling depleted, or like our gas tank is just running on fumes. Taking time for yourself, whatever that may look like for you, is an integral part of creating balance and boosting overall wellbeing in your life. Take time each week to plan your meals. Better yet, take time to actually ENJOY your meals. (If you’re like me, you’re always running, grabbing a quick bite to eat as you’re running out the door from place to place or even worse, maybe you even FORGET to eat.)
Make yourself a priority by finding the time to nourish your mind, body, and soul. Schedule a date with yourself. Get a massage. Get your nails done. Meditate. Practice mindfulness. Take a hot bath. Book that yoga class that always leaves you feeling So. Damn. Wholesome. Learn to play that instrument you always wanted. Read a good book. Get outside to breathe in some fresh air. Take breaks from work to avoid burnout. Truly just take some time for yourself to recharge. You are important and you deserve it. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Do One Small Thing a Day for Yourself
It is so easy to be constantly pulled in a million different directions, with all the demands that are expected of us on a daily basis. But taking even just a few moments a day to do something for yourself is SUPER important to help create the space to be a better human. Doing one small thing a day for yourself can help reduce stress in your life. It doesn’t have to be something big – it can be as simple as taking a few minutes to read a book or enjoying a cup of tea. Try going for a walk on your lunch break. Set aside 10 minutes for meditation, or listening to your favorite music or podcast.
By taking the time to do something that you enjoy, it will make it easier to relax and let go of any stress you may be feeling. This can leave you feeling refreshed and recharged. Set a timer to get up and stretch every 40 minutes throughout the day. Even if you don’t have much free time during the day, try to take some moments for yourself. It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself should always be a priority to avoid burnout. Doing one small thing each day will help reduce your stress levels and allow you to better handle whatever life throws at you.
Find things to work towards each day
Take the time to find a new hobby. Start a blog. Take a course. Learn a language. Perhaps try finding something creative—like painting or writing—that will let you express yourself and put your worries aside for a while. Doing the things you love is an important part of keeping yourself healthy and should be prioritized everyday. Finding new things you want to improve or to work towards will not only keeps your mind sharp, but creates a sense of purpose and joy in your life.
Spend more time with people who make you happy
Research shows that spending more time with people who make you happy can be beneficial for your mental health. It can increase your happiness and stimulate positive emotions, making it easier to get through difficult times. It can also improve your social skills. Maybe even try to make new friends. Spend time with those who make you laugh. The happiest people are those who surround themselves with those they love and care about the most. So if you want to work on achieving a better mental state, investing more time in relationships with the people who make you happy is key.
Start a gratitude journal
Journaling is a great tool to help increase your sense of appreciation and thankfulness for all the wonderful things in your life. Taking the time each day to focus on the positive aspects of your life, no matter how small, can have a big impact on your mood and outlook. This process can be as simple or elaborate as you like; it’s best to find something that works for you and your lifestyle.
Begin each day writing out a set number of things you’re grateful for. Then continue to write out a list of a few people you wish to send positive vibes to. Perhaps you’re not a morning person and would rather complete this task to wind down at night. Starting a bedtime routine with a gratitude journal can help you end each day on a positive note. Before going to sleep, take a few moments to write down three things that made you feel grateful that day. This could include anything from the sun shining, having a delicious meal, or spending time with loved ones. When you wake up in the morning, try to read over what you wrote before going about your day.
As you make writing in your journal part of your daily routine, you will slowly start to develop a more positive outlook and begin appreciating even the smallest things in life. With time, it will become easier and easier to push out negative thoughts. You’ll be surprised by how much more contentment and joy this little practice will bring into your life.
Start an exercise routine
Starting an exercise routine is one of the easiest things you can do to boost your mental health and reduce stress. Exercise is a great way to clear your mind and spend quality time with yourself. Working out can help relieve stress, improve sleep, and even increase your energy levels. You don’t need to have a strict routine or join a gym; simply taking some time each day to get up and move around can make all the difference. You may find that the most effective exercise for relieving stress is something that you enjoy doing, such as walking, running, biking, swimming, or playing a sport. Whatever you choose, focusing on regular physical activity can be a great way to boost your mental health and reduce stress. Whatever you do, just move your body everyday. Physical and mental health truly go hand in hand. Remember: Healthy body = healthy mind.
Eat foods that nourish your body
A healthy diet will give your body the nourishment it needs, as well as help stabilize your moods. Plan your meals ahead of time so you make better decisions throughout the day/week. When you don’t plan, you may often find you’re reaching for not so healthy, highly processed, greasy, sugary snacks. Without stable, balanced eating habits, you send your body on a hormonal roller coaster, wreaking havoc on mood, energy, metabolism etc. So try to opt for nourishing, nutrient dense and well balanced meals as often as possible. Your body will eventually crave these healthy foods after a while.
With that said, don’t be SOOO hard on yourself. Always incorporate the foods you want to eat, like that ice cream cone or yummy slice of birthday cake. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a punishment or “perfection”. 80/20, baby!
Lastly, don’t forget the importance of hydration! Your body will thank you!
Take Time to Reflect on Past Resolutions
Taking time to reflect on the past is an important part of the process of setting new goals. It allows us to measure our progress and identify areas for improvement. Reflecting on what we have accomplished, or not accomplished, in the past can help us create a better future. We can learn from our successes and failures and use them as motivation to become better versions of ourselves. Doing this helps us create more realistic steps that are achievable and will lead to lasting change. Taking the time to re-evaluate and reflect on what we have achieved in the past is essential if we want to be successful in the future. It allows us to look at how far we’ve come and pivot where necessary.
Set Goals, Not Resolutions
A resolution is a promise made to yourself. Every year, millions of people make new year’s resolutions only to fall back into old habits a week later. But if you really want to make a difference in your life and stay motivated, it’s better to set goals rather than resolutions. Goals are tangible and can be broken down into achievable steps that can help drive you forward and keep you focused. Whether your goal is to become healthier or something else entirely, setting goals will give you direction and clarity with regards to what you need to do to achieve it.
When setting goals, remember to be realistic – start small and build up as you go along. Check-in regularly with yourself and adjust your plan if needed. Don’t wait for the new year to try to be better. Every minute is a new opportunity to do and feel better. With hard work, dedication, and continuous reflection, you’ll be sure to reach the finish line of any goal!
This can mean a lot of different things. Can’t decide what to wear each morning before work, making you rush out the door? Lay out your clothes out the night before so you can minimize the stress that comes with decisions each morning. Meal prep, so you don’t have to ask the dreaded “what do you feel like having?” conversation a thousand times a week. Find one-pot or crock pot recipes to simplify clean up.
Find clever ways to be consistent.
Struggling to get your workouts in each week? Maybe create a “habit tracker” and make it easily visible to give yourself the sense of satisfaction of checking it off each day. (You can try searching for a free printable habit tracker or maybe even create your own!). Or (again) lay out your workout clothes the night before so it’s one less obstacle you have to overcome. Always forget to take your vitamins? Leave them next to the coffee machine so you see them every morning. Get creative with this one!
Focus on Better Sleep Hygiene
Better sleep hygiene is essential to overall health and wellbeing. It is important for people to learn how to prioritize sleep, as well as improve their quality of sleep. Individuals should focus on setting a consistent bedtime and wake up time. Additionally, having an environment that is conducive to restful sleep can be beneficial, such as turning off electronics before bedtime, keeping the temperature comfortable and reducing noise levels.
Furthermore, avoiding caffeine late in the day and creating a relaxing routine before bed can help relax the mind and body. Finally, limiting naps during the day will also help ensure better quality of sleep at night. Taking the time to practice these habits can help people get the rest they need and stay healthier overall.
Read books to help you grow
There are so many books (and podcasts, and blogs) out there with tips and tricks on ways to be a better human, improve your life, work on yourself etc. See my book list for some of my favorite books. I like to listen to these on Audible while I’m driving to work. (I also always check my library to see if the book is available for download to read on my Kindle.)
Don’t forget you don’t need to do it all at once. Progress, not perfection. Try adding just one of these things to your day. I love making small, attainable goals. I promise, baby steps are a lot easier than trying to do it all at once. Let me know what worked/what didn’t and any other mental health habits you’ve found helpful!
Can’t wait to hear from you all! xx
PS. This is not medical advice, just some things I’ve incorporated that I have found helpful! If you are struggling, please seek professional help.