January is Mental Wellness Month, and it marks a really great time of the year to be focusing on your mental health. January is all about slowing down after the holidays, settling into a new year that’s full of possibilities, and turning your attention towards bettering yourself and making the coming twelve months the best that they can be. If you’re making New Year’s resolutions for 2024, taking a more active approach to your mental wellbeing might be just the thing you need to reduce stress and cope with anxiety! Here are five ways to do so.
Build a Toolbox of Coping Skills
No matter how mentally healthy and well-adjusted you are on a good day, life can sometimes throw a curveball at you, and the ways that you handle the emotions and stresses of a bad day have an enormous impact on what your mental health is like across the board. Building a set of skills to fall back on in these moments, like journaling, art, meditation, exercise, or other healthy coping mechanisms, can help make it easier to ride out the waves of negative emotions and get through difficult times.
Take Care of Your Body
At this point, you’re probably tired of hearing how important it is for your mental health for you to be looking after your body, but it really does make a huge impact! The real basics of self-care– eating well, getting physical activity, sleeping enough, staying clean, and looking after your health by seeing a doctor on a regular basis– can make a very noticeable difference on how upbeat and positive you feel from day to day. Give it a shot and see for yourself!
Talk About Mental Health
Despite amazing progress that’s been made when it comes to destigmatizing mental health, a lot of people are still nervous and embarrassed to talk about it openly, even to friends and family that they love. However, once you push past that barrier, it can be very freeing to have an honest discussion with someone you trust about mental health. You can gain valuable advice and support, and you might even find that they have the same struggles that you do, making you feel less alone!
Mindfulness, the practice of focusing fully on the present moment without giving attention or energy to external pressures and stresses, can be really transformative for mental health, and while it’s not for everyone, many people have great success with it. If you’ve never tried to incorporate a mindfulness practice into your daily routine before, it’s worth a shot to do so! Try taking a few minutes out of every day to focus on nothing but the present moment– the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations, the way you feel physically in your body and the way you feel emotionally, what’s running through your brain and whether or not those thoughts are beneficial to you at that moment. Doing this can help you to cut out the fat and turn your attention away from the things that are eating up your time and effort without helping you!
Seek Out Treatment If You Need It
Sometimes, your mental health gets difficult to control, and while things like building healthy habits and developing coping skills can help, it takes a little more than that to get you really feeling better again. In these cases, it’s an act of kindness to yourself to seek out the help you need, whether that be therapy, medication, or an alternate treatment like transcranial magnetic stimulation. It’s the very basis of self-care: you’re taking care of yourself and getting the help that you need and deserve!
Whether you use these methods or different ones, take the opportunity this January to focus a little more on your mental wellbeing. You might just make some positive changes that will affect your whole year!