The New Year means making resolutions. Three of the most popular resolutions for 2017, according to NBC News, were eating healthier, getting organized and learning a new hobby. The ones for 2018 will most likely be similar. However, having a healthy state of mind is an important aspect that should be acknowledged too, as it links to these top three resolutions and many other parts of one’s well-being. The holidays can be a stressful time of year, and the New Year offers the chance to start anew. Here are some ways to take charge of your mental health:
Do an early spring cleaning.
In most places, a change of seasons means colder weather and bringing out the heavier clothing. This can make for cramped closets and drawers and make it stressful to organize and find outfits. Take an afternoon to go through all your clothes and donate those you don’t want or wear anymore. The same action can be done for other items, such as books, DVDs, kitchenware and more. Studies show that cleaner areas can improve your state of mind and help form other healthy habits. It will also help you make room for any items you may have received as presents during the holidays.
Meditation is a practice that is becoming more popular and is shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. There are different ways to meditate (not just sitting in complete quiet in a darkened room) and ways to integrate it into your daily routine. Not sure where to start? Apps like Headspace guide you through the process of calming your thoughts and becoming more mindful of your surroundings. Sessions can be done in the morning, during your lunch break or in the evening to help you relax.
Cold weather can bring feelings of restlessness and cabin fever, especially after the busy holiday season. Look for opportunities to volunteer in your neighborhood, at local shelters, churches and other facilities. Volunteering gives you the chance to get out of the house, help others and meet new people. Helping others is linked to reduced stress, a sense of purpose and other positive attributes.
Modern technology has led to most communication being electronic, including writing. However, typing doesn’t create the same mental stimulation and concentration that writing by hand does. So take a break from the screen and pick up a pen (or pencil) and paper. It doesn’t matter what you write about. It can be any subject. Write about how your day is going to channel any feelings you might be experiencing. Make a to-do list to help you organize your thoughts and goals. If you want to get more creative, mind mapping is another way to figure out what is going on inside your head.
Talk to a professional.
If you’ve been putting off seeking someone to talk to, the New Year is the time to do it. Start exploring different options available in your area. Information on this can usually be found through your health care provider.
Finding a mental health professional isn’t limited to physical proximity. Telehealth uses modern technology to connect patients to a network of providers across the country and offers convenience and flexibility for both parties. Inpathy “offers a wide range of psychiatric, behavioral and mental telehealth services.” Patients can communicate with mental health professionals through video calls on a desktop or laptop, tablet, or a smartphone and an Internet connection.
Happy New Year!