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Life & Progress

Every year, people make New Year’s resolutions, most of which do not tend to last longer than a couple of months. With the year 2020 not being the year we expected this year we need to focus on ourselves. While many people are able to make resolutions and stick to them, for lots of us the goals we set are unachievable, therefore setting us up to fail before we have even got started.

So why not make resolutions that focus on your mental wellbeing instead?

We’ve come up with 10 resolutions for 2021 that are easy to stick to and important when it comes to improving your mental health.

  1. Digital Detox – Limit your time on social media

It should come as no surprise that we have been spending a lot more time on social media this past year than ever before. Research has shown that social media can negatively impact our mental health, so it might be worth limiting time on apps or even cutting them out of your life completely in 2021.

Social media can heighten anxiety by increasing your ability to keep up to date with the activities of other people, which may cause you to develop Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). This in turn can make you obsess about what other people are doing – or even make yourself feel bad because you’re not doing that specific thing. Apps like Instagram only paint a small picture of someone’s life, many of whom only post the good things and never the bad, but try not to compare your life with others online. It might be healthier to take a step back from this false sense of reality next year.

  1. Get an early night

Going to sleep a little earlier than normal each night will help you feel rested the following day – which is more beneficial to your mental health, as a lack of sleep can heighten anxiety and irritability. Try turning off your phone an hour before bedtime and not watching anything on Netflix. Instead, use this hour to relax in your bed without any distractions.

Other ways to help you fall asleep include exercising, avoiding tea and coffee and not drinking alcohol before bed, as well as only using your bed for sleep – so that you associate it with these things. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that lets you unwind and sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep.

  1. Lay off the booze

Many people drink more during the holiday season. These substances can be harmful to both your physical and mental health; alcohol is a depressant which can negatively affect your mood, and according to Drink Aware, can increase anxiety and stress.

Giving up or cutting down on alcohol could help you sleep better, improve your mood and save you money. What’s not to love? You could challenge yourself to complete Dry January – where you cut out alcohol for an entire month.

  1. Get your body moving

Try to exercise more as it helps boosts ‘happy hormones’ in the brain known as endorphins, which will improve your mood and sense of wellbeing. With the new government guidelines and gyms being closed there are plenty of other ways to stay active. A walk or run in the morning, or a simple yoga session as home to keep those muscles moving.

Engaging in some form of exercise every day, even if it is just going for a short walk outside, is likely to make you feel better both physically and mentally.

  1. I like me

Self-care comes in many forms. For some, it’s a nice long bubble bath with a lit candle and relaxing music. For others, it’s a face mask, chocolate and their favourite comedy movie. But self-care isn’t just about pampering. It can also be reading a book, meditating, going for a run or even just saying no to things that you don’t want to do. Whatever self-care means to you, know that it is not selfish. It’s important to look after your mental wellbeing in the best way you know how, so make time for yourself next year.

  1. Be more trusting

People who suffer from loneliness or mental health problems such as depression and anxiety can often isolate themselves from friends and family, according to research by the Mental Health Foundation. If you’re having a bad time, seek support. Try to be more trusting and know that there are people who love you and will be there for you. A phone call with a friend can do wonders for your mental health, and can make you feel less alone. You may even discover that things aren’t as bad as they seem, and even if they are, at least you have someone to talk to about it, who will hopefully understand and try to help.

  1. Improve your diet

Try to make an effort to eat better in the New Year. We’re not talking about counting calories, but rather getting more nutrients such as vitamins, healthy fats, magnesium – all things that our bodies need and may have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing. Research has shown that foods which are rich in folic acid like avocado and spinach and omega-3 acids such as salmon and tuna, can lower stress. This doesn’t mean that you have to restrict yourself – just make a conscious effort to eat a healthy balanced diet every day.

  1. Keep a diary

Keeping a diary can help reduce anxiety. Whether it’s jotting down your thoughts and feelings to get them out of your head or to track your mood daily, this can provide an outlet to clear your head. Even if you write everything down and then throw the paper away, it may still help you make sense of things that have been troubling you.

  1. Be more selfish

This isn’t to say that you should make everything about yourself, but next year, be more selfish by saying no to things you don’t want to do. Tell your friends and family when they have upset you, tell people when they are being hurtful. Be honest with people about what your feelings and try not to feel guilty about the fact you might be letting others down.

  1. Seek help If you’re struggling with your mental health, ask for help.

See your GP if you are having a hard time, and if you believe there is something more going on below the surface, ask to be referred to a mental health professional. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking for help. Mental illness can be lonely and overwhelming, and it can be hard to cope with it on your own. If you find yourself struggling and your local GP surgery isn’t open, you can call 111 for advice or go down to A&E, who may be able to refer you to an on-duty psychiatrist to help you then and there.

Seek help If you’re struggling with your mental health, ask for help.

See your GP if you are having a hard time, and if you believe there is something more going on below the surface, ask to be referred to a mental health professional. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking for help. Mental illness can be lonely and overwhelming, and it can be hard to cope with it on your own. If you find yourself struggling and your local GP surgery isn’t open, you can call 111 for advice or go down to A&E, who may be able to refer you to an on-duty psychiatrist to help you then and there.

If your organisation has an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in-place, you will be eligible to access EAP support. An EAP is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it is free to the service-user and the service is totally confidential. Qualified Counsellors are on-hand to offer psychological and emotional support.

 

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