When the new year rolls around, everyone likes to set new goals and aspirations. Whether it’s eating better, drinking less, or exercising more, you look for ways to be a better you. Of course, if we’re not taking care of our mental health, it can be difficult to reach any goal. That’s why taking care of our mental health should be a priority. It sets the foundation for building in other areas of our lives that may need more attention. Without a strong and balanced mental state, we can lose sight of daily tasks and commitments, let alone lofty New Year’s goals. It’s time to take a good look at how you handle self-care and determine what you can do over the next year to be a happier and healthier you. Here are a few ways to help you make your mental health a priority this year.
Start with Deep Reflection
We can easily make broad or vague statements about the areas of our lives that need fixing. We want to lose weight, we want to be more positive at work, we want to budget our money better, or maybe we want to create better social networks. If you’re suffering from either major or minor depression, handling stress poorly, or constantly dealing with self-doubt or low self-esteem, your chances of achieving these goals diminish drastically. When we’re in a depressive mental state, we’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods, have that extra cocktail to take the edge off, or spend the last of our cash on something frivolous. This is one of the main reasons why mental health should be a priority. First, take time out for self-reflection. Identify the moments over the last year when you could have handled a situation better, or when sadness or anger felt overwhelming. What was going on in your mind when you drank too much or started an unnecessary argument? Working with a therapist at this stage is incredibly helpful. In order to make mental health a priority, it’s necessary to have direction. Make your goals clear and specific. Begin with identifying the behaviors or thoughts that you feel you need to change.
Stop Mentally Beating Yourself Up
Another reason why your mental health should be a priority is that it leads to better conversations with yourself. We all have that little voice inside of us telling us to do something or not to do something. It also might tell us when we said or did something stupid. As the saying goes, we are our own worst critics. It’s important to learn to have more positive conversations with yourself. Remember to give yourself credit for the good things you’ve accomplished. Try not to beat yourself up for minor mistakes or errors. Many times, when we’re constantly criticizing ourselves, it can snowball into major self-assessments that are completely untrue. For instance, you forgot a friend’s birthday, but you sent a card two days later. This can easily mutate into “I’m a bad friend and I don’t deserve to have good people in my life.” It’s important to keep these sort of thoughts in check. Forgive yourself and move forward.
Take Time for Self-Care
Your mental health should be a priority because it helps you to be a better friend, mother, father, sister, brother, or spouse. Of course, you can’t be a solid support system for others unless you take time for self-care. Self-care can appear in a number of different ways, depending on our lifestyles and personalities. The point is to do something every day, even if it’s for five minutes, that can help us feel better. These should be positive, simple, and healthy activities that put your mind, body, and soul at ease. A walk through a garden, meditation, yoga, listening to music, or reading are all common pastimes that people will do to create a sense of calm. These activities can help us to detach from our everyday stressors. No one expects their problems to disappear after meditating once a day for five minutes. However, the way in which we handle our problems will soon begin to change if we can stay committed to our self-care. When you’re in a better mental state, your perspective on your reality becomes healthier and more positive.
More Information on Why Your Mental Health Should be a Priority
If you’ve been considering seeing a mental health counselor this year, there’s no better time than right now. The sooner you start to experience a healthier mental state, the sooner your goals will be in reach. Remember that strong mental health is the foundation for better living in all aspects of our lives. Without it, we can easily feel stuck and stagnant in our own problems. Contact an experienced mental health counselor today to learn more about how you can start to practice self-care.