A Different Kind of New Year’s Health Resolution

No matter who you are, a health resolution likely appears on your 2018 to-do list. We’ve all made resolutions like going on a diet, joining a gym or drinking more water.  Why not give the diet and exercise resolutions a rest this new year and focus instead on mental health?

Mental health is central to every part of our lives—it affects our interactions with friends and loved ones, our productivity levels, and how we feel about ourselves. The new year is a great time to focus on mental health, here are proven tips to help you improve your mental health in 2018:

Get Some Physical Activity Daily

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways of reducing depression or anxiety, improving sexual function, and maintaining cognitive function. Keep in mind that when mental health is the goal, your exercise routine doesn’t need to be fancy, long, or boring. The best exercise activity is the one you enjoy the most and can see yourself continuing. Whether its playing with your kids, walking around the backyard, dancing, taking the stairs, or chopping wood, it all counts.

Get Enough Sleep

One-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, but sleep is essential to good mental health. People who have impaired sleep are significantly more likely to develop clinical depression. Follow good “sleep hygiene habits” and if you have trouble sleeping, find a provider who specializes in insomnia.

Join a Group

Social isolation is a better predictor of early death than either diet or exercise, and as strong a predictor as cigarette smoking. Making new social connections and being involved with multiple positive social groups improves mental health, helps us deal with stress, and is linked to reduced depression and anxiety. You can find hundreds of groups to join on apps like meetup.

Reduce Screen Time

Excessive screen time is linked to poor sleep quality and depression. Remember that screen time should be a part of a happy life, not a substitute for it. Besides, turning off your devices will give you more free time to get active, get out there and socialize, and get some sleep.

Get Help If You Need It

Remember that everyone needs help sometimes and you shouldn’t be afraid to seek it. Visit your doctor and get on a mental health plan or call a lifeline if you need to.