Hoping to be a better, healthier you in 2020? Just like physical health, good mental health is the result of many small actions and decisions. Here’s a list of simple things you can try this year to help improve your mental health!
January: Write Regularly! It doesn’t matter if it’s a journal, a short story, or song lyrics! Just get your creative energies flowing and get your thoughts and feelings committed to paper. Writing about your emotions can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression!
February: Get Enough Sleep! This one’s tough, especially for parents. For anyone with lots of things to do, sleep is usually the first thing sacrificed in the name of productivity. For one month only, practice making sleep a priority…even if it just means choosing to take a nap instead of working on your To-Do list. Sufficient sleep can decrease depression and anxiety as well as blood pressure!
March: Hang With Friends! Make it a point to spend a few nights with friends this month. Socializing with loved ones helps reduce stress and anxiety. It can also improve your memory function!
April: Visit a Therapist! We visit doctors and dentists annually, why not get a mental health check-up as well? Find a new therapist (like Quietude Counseling 😉 ) or call your old one!
May: 10 Minute Walks! Walking washes the “stress hormone” cortisol from your system. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that a brisk 10-minute walk can reduce anxiety and depression as much as a 45-minute workout. Make an effort to take a few 10-minute walks each week this month to help reduce stress and improve your mood.
June: Spend Time in Nature! Unless you’re very lucky, you probably don’t get to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. For this month, try to find a few times to immerse yourself in nature. It’s been found to improve psychological well-being and can decrease levels of stress, anxiety, and especially depression.
July: Make Your Bed! It’s a simple thing, but it will set the tone for your day. As Admiral William H. McRaven, author of Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, said, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
August: Drink More Water! Staying hydrated is always a good idea. If you want to go the extra mile, try switching from caffeinated and sugary drinks to water and tea for a month. While caffeine and sugar can provide temporary relief from stress, it actually increases overall levels of anxiety.
September: Less Screen Time! Increased screen time is linked with increased depression, anxiety, and stress, especially for children and adolescents. Protect your mental health by setting a specific time to unplug each day. Dedicate this time to other pursuits and enjoy!
October: Pick a Hobby! Pick something you’ve always wanted to try and spend some quality time on it this month. It doesn’t matter if it’s puzzles, banjos, or origami – having an engaging hobby can significantly improve your well-being. Not only does it provide you with a sense of accomplishment but it can also be a tool to use when depression and anxiety flair up.
November: Try a Morning Routine! Having a simple, achievable morning routine can jump start each day with feelings of positivity and productivity. Pick a few things you’d like to do every morning, such as shower, eat breakfast, meditate, or stretch. Practice this routine every morning this month and see how it feels!
December: Practice Saying No! Whether it’s to yourself or to someone else, say “No” to that one extra commitment or that one thing you just don’t have energy for. Saying “No” is crucial skill for mental health!
Wishing your A Very Emotionally Healthy 2020!
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