Before you know it, the start of the New Year will be here, and that means it is time to think about the improvements you want to make in your life. When envisioning what your 2020 “best self” will look like, perhaps think beyond some of the same old resolutions. You probably, in the past, have gotten sucked in to wanting to lose weight, cutting down on alcohol, or eating healthier. But you may have been overlooking something that actually could make a bigger difference for you and your family: mental health.

What if this year, your New Year’s resolution was to improve your mental health? Mental health is central to every part of our lives: how productive we are at work, how we feel when we are alone and how we interact with loved ones. Research has shown that partaking in certain self-initiated activities can be very beneficial for mental health. These activities can pay off in all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.

If you are wondering what New Year’s resolutions for mental health might look like, here are some examples:

Exercise
There is no denying that exercise has a positive impact on one’s mental health. Exercise has been shown to help improve sleep, reduce stress, and increase your body’s production of endorphins, which can improve your mood. So if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or stress, exercise can play an important role. You can start by looking for small ways to add exercise to your daily routine. Take the stairs at work or go for a walk outside at lunch. Gradually you will want to aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week to get the most benefit from it.

Sleep
Getting enough sleep is not something Americans are necessarily good at. Being sleep deprived is sometimes seen as a badge of honor…but having poor sleep habits has a negative impact on our mental health. If you are sleep deprived, you will have a harder time managing your mood and you may experience depression and anxiety. A few ways to improve your sleep habits are to stop using electronics 30 minutes prior to bed, set a consistent bed time, and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Social Media
A lot of research has been conducted regarding the effects of social media on our mental health. A good suggestion is to take a step back and look at how you are using social media. Do you notice that social media makes you feel unhappy or anxious? Do you check your accounts often, especially right before you go to bed or when you wake up? If so, make an effort to cut back. Try only checking your feeds every couple of hours and stop altogether after 6pm. Turn off push notifications or move the apps to a different folder. Remember that social media is not a reflection of reality, and that you don’t need to constantly compare yourself to others.

Meditation
Learning how to meditate can help your mental health in a variety of ways. Research suggests that meditation reduces stress and increases focus. It also allows you to slow down and recognize what is truly important. Getting started is easy as there are plenty of mindfulness apps to download that offer guided meditation lessons in a little as 10 minutes. Another option is to attend classes through a meditation center. These are usually centered around specific topics, so pick something that appeals to you.

Remember that whatever resolution route you decide to go, a healthier you is a happier you!

Elev8 MD Wellness Center offers a wide variety of treatments for those suffering from high stress, anxiety and depression. In addition to ketamine infusions, we also offer reiki, acupuncture, massage therapy, and IV hydration therapy, and can even help you establish a vitamin regimen to best support your mind-body needs. Contact our Charlotte, NC wellness center today and let us know how we can meet your health and wellness needs.