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20 Mental Health Hacks to Try for Your New Year’s Resolutions

Crystalyn Hori-Wilson
Crystalyn Hori-Wilson

Hi, I've been working in mental health for 11 years and have worked with people of all ages, families, couples, and individuals. I'm currently focusing on women's issues and anxiety disorders.

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So you want to improve your mental health and prioritize self-care to get off to a good start in 2024? That’s an admirable objective. Setting goals for the new year that will improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and make you feel better overall is a great idea. The good news is that you can improve your mental health, happiness, and overall wellness by doing a few easy things each day. To help you have the greatest, most balanced year yet, we’ve compiled a list of 20 of the best mental health tips that you can put into practice right now. These goals may be accommodated into even the busiest schedules and are sustainable and achievable. Are you prepared to begin? Here are 20 quick tips to improve your mental well-being in 2024.

Reflect on Your Mental Health and Set Goals 

One of the best ways to kick out the new year with a positive outlook is to reflect on your mental health and make goals related to self-care. Spend some time reflecting on your current state of mind and considering minor adjustments you may make to better support your mental and emotional well-being in the coming months. 

Review the past year 

Remember the difficulties and pressures you encountered, along with the useful coping mechanisms. What did you find to be effective? What would you like to see well? Journaling, upping your exercise, or cutting back on social media improved your mood. Or maybe you want to give something new a shot in the upcoming year, like therapy or meditation.

Check-in on yourself 

What is your current state of mind? Do you wish to talk about any mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression? Getting the help you require frequently starts with having a conversation with a physician or mental health specialist. They can also assist in determining if you would benefit from any therapies or adjustments to your way of life. 

Set specific and realistic goals 

Make more than just the resolution to “be happier” or “less stressed.” Establish measurable objectives, such as working out three times a week, writing in your notebook every night before bed, going to support groups twice a month, or making a weekly phone call to a friend. Select two or three objectives to work toward each month and adjust as necessary. Appreciate little victories along the road!

Practice self-care 

Remember to schedule time for yourself so that you may decompress and recharge. Engage in individually gratifying activities every day, such as gardening, knitting, reading, or anything else you enjoy. Limit your interactions with those who deplete your energy and maintain social connections with people who uplift you. Treat yourself with kindness; you deserve to be content and at ease! 

Get More Sleep to Improve Your Mental Health 

One of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health is to get enough sleep. In order to perform at their best, most individuals require 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Here are some suggestions to enhance your mental well-being and help you sleep better:

Stick to a sleep schedule 

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help you better manage your body’s internal clock. Even on the weekends, try to maintain a decent bedtime that permits 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Another crucial habit is waking up at the same time every day. 

Practice relaxation techniques 

Before going to bed, relax with some gentle stretches, a book, or meditation. Progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and a warm bath can all be incredibly calming and helpful in calming your body and mind, which will facilitate falling asleep. 

Limit screen time and blue light exposure 

It is more difficult to fall asleep due to the suppression of melatonin production caused by bright overhead lights and devices. Give up using bright displays an hour before going to bed. When possible, work in dark lighting or consider using blue light-blocking eyewear. 

Avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine 

Refrain from indulging in food or beverages too soon to bedtime, which throws off your sleep schedule. Steer clear of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine after mid-afternoon, and abstain from food and liquids two to three hours before bed. 

Make your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet 

Don’t use your phone, laptop, or TV when you’re sleeping in bed. Ensure that your sleeping space is conducive to restful sleep. If required, wear an eye mask or blackout curtains. Earplugs or white noise can also be used to drown out distracting noises.

See a doctor if needed 

See your doctor if you have trouble falling or staying asleep and have attempted to improve your sleep hygiene but have not been successful. There may be an underlying medical issue that has to be diagnosed and treated, such as depression, anxiety, or sleeplessness. Learning relaxation techniques and treating problematic sleep habits are two more areas where cognitive behavioural therapy can be highly beneficial. 

Exercise and Move Your Body for Better Mental Health 

Exercise is crucial for your mental health in addition to its physical benefits. Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, which serve as organic stress relievers and mood enhancers. Even simple things like going for a stroll for thirty minutes will help you decompress and feel better. 

Find activities you enjoy 

Exercise that you will consistently perform is the greatest kind. Try cycling, yoga, jogging, walking, or anything else you find interesting and enjoyable. To prevent boredom, mix things up. Going for a stroll or a jog outside when you can might also help your mental health. 

Start small and build up slowly 

Don’t start a hard exercise regimen just because you feel overwhelmed. Start small, averaging 15 to 20 minutes a day, a few times a week, to ease yourself into exercise. As your endurance increases over the next few weeks and months, you can increase the time and frequency. Making it a routine and habit is the important thing. 

Exercise with others 

On days when you don’t feel like working out, exercising with a friend or family member might help keep you motivated and make it more enjoyable. Seek out neighbourhood gyms, meetups, or recreational sports leagues. Alternatively, organize group activities like hiking, dancing, or kayaking to get your friends and family moving. Other people’s support and social engagement are also beneficial to your mental health. 

Try high-intensity interval training 

In high-intensity interval training (HIIT), brief bursts of vigorous exercise are interspersed with rest intervals. Dopamine, which is released during HIIT, elevates your mood and functions as a natural antidepressant. Prioritizing physical activity and exercise can have a positive impact on your emotional and physical well-being. Maintaining an active lifestyle increases feel-good hormones, lessens anxiety and depressive symptoms, and facilitates mental clarity. Put on your sneakers and take a block walk to get started right now. Your body and mind will appreciate it! 

Practice Gratitude and Positivity 

Gratitude and an optimistic outlook can do wonders for your mental well-being. Develop the daily habit of appreciating the positive aspects of your life. 

Keep a gratitude journal 

Every day, no matter how tiny, write down the things for which you are thankful. It might be a warm cup of coffee, a lovely sunrise, or a supportive remark from a friend. Research indicates that keeping a gratitude notebook increases happiness and life satisfaction. 

Spread kindness 

Engage in tiny deeds of kindness every day, such as offering a stranger praise, offering your time, or lending a hand to a needy neighbour. Having a positive influence on other people increases your pleasure and well-being.

Limit negative influences 

Limit your exposure to depressing social media posts and bad news. While keeping up with current events is crucial, receiving too much bad news can negatively impact your attitude and mood. 

Positive self-talk 

Talk positively and encouragingly to oneself. Swap out your negative thoughts for more positive ones. Remind yourself that you can overcome obstacles and concentrate on your abilities, skills, and prior accomplishments. Your confidence and self-image are shaped by the words you use to speak to yourself. 

Spend time with positive people 

Keep yourself surrounded by positive and encouraging individuals. Their upbeat attitude and energy can assist you in improving your state of mind. Spend time interacting with those that inspire and motivate you. 

Practice mindfulness 

Reducing anxious and negative thoughts can be achieved by setting aside a short period each day to concentrate on your breathing or the here and now. Try doing some yoga, meditation, or just sitting still and taking in your environment. Being mindful fosters awareness and inner peace. 

Eat a Nutritious Diet to Support Your Mental Health 

One of the best ways to promote your physical and mental health is to eat a balanced diet. Give priority to whole foods such as lean meats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. Cut back on sugar, processed meals, and harmful fats. 

Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Essential fats, known as omega-3s, are critical for mood management and brain health. You can find them in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines or take an omega-3 supplement. Try to get 500–1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids each day to improve your mood and combat depression. 

Stay Hydrated

Remaining hydrated is essential for mental wellness since your brain needs water to function correctly. Stay hydrated throughout the day to prevent dehydration, which can have a detrimental effect on your mood and mental clarity. Drink lots of water and unsweetened beverages. Try to consume six to eight glasses of water each day as a general guideline.

Get Enough B Vitamins

B vitamins, including B6, B9 (folate), and B12, aid in the brain’s synthesis of neurotransmitters that control mood. Consume extra leafy greens, fish, poultry, and eggs, as these foods are great providers of B vitamins. Additionally, you can take a B-complex vitamin supplement to make sure you’re getting enough of these vital elements.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

While most adults can tolerate moderate levels of alcohol and caffeine, consuming excessive amounts of either can be harmful to your mental health. One drink of alcohol and coffee per day is the limit. Both can cause excessive hormone levels, sleep disturbances, and mood swings.

Practice Mindful Eating

When you eat with awareness and without interruptions, you may more thoroughly appreciate the flavours, textures, and aromas of your meal. It can lessen emotional eating and make you feel fuller after eating less. Switch off the TV, put your phone away, and concentrate on savouring your food. It will benefit your body and mind.

Connect With Others to Boost Your Mood

Your drive and mental well-being benefit from making connections with those who share your objectives and challenges. According to studies, social contact and other people’s support can lessen stress, fight anxiety and depression, and promote a longer, better life.

Join an online community

Seek for video chats, forums, and online groups that are relevant to your objectives. Having connections with people who share your values can keep you inspired and offer guidance and understanding. Many of these groups provide for anonymity, allowing you to address difficulties in an honest and nonjudgmental manner.

Find an accountability partner

Seek out an accountability partner who is a friend or family member. Communicate often to share accomplishments and obstacles, offer encouragement, and develop a strategy for getting back on track. It might be encouraging to know that someone else is as committed to your success when you need that extra push.

Consider professional support

Consulting with a mental health expert, such as a counsellor or therapist, can provide you with growth-oriented tactics and insights. If access or affordability are issues, search online or in your community for free or inexpensive alternatives. A specialist can offer advice specific to your needs and circumstances.

Find Healthy Coping Strategies That Work for You

Developing effective coping mechanisms is essential to enhancing your mental well-being. Although everyone handles stress and negative emotions in different ways, try a few of these strategies to create your self-care arsenal:

Connect with others

Make a phone call to a loved one, sign up for an internet support group, or visit a therapist. Speaking with people who can relate to your situation might improve your attitude and open your eyes to fresh ideas.

Practice mindfulness

You can help your mind move away from unpleasant ideas by dedicating a short period each day to practising mindfulness or attention to your breathing. Try doing yoga, going for a stroll outside, or even meditation. Pay attention to the small elements in your environment.

Limit unhealthy habits

Lowering or staying away from substances like alcohol, coffee, and nicotine can help elevate your mood and reduce anxiety. Avoiding processed foods and excessive sugar can also provide your body and mind with the nutrition they require to perform at their peak.

Get some exercise

Get outside for some fresh air and vitamin D, for a jog or walk, work out at home, or simply spend time with your pets. Feel-good hormones released during exercise can assist in fighting stress and bad emotions. A couple of times a week of even modest exercise makes an impact.

Take a break

When you have too much on your plate, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Schedule time for hobbies, you are interacting with others, and resting. Engage in your favourite pastimes, such as crafting, gaming, reading, or anything else that lets you relax. Allowing oneself time to relax will make you feel better able to face obstacles.

Conclusion

Here are 20 easy strategies to improve your mental health and get off to a positive start in the new year. Select the item on the list that most speaks to you first. Try not to feel overwhelmed if you complete them all at once. Introducing just two or three new routines can have a significant impact. The most crucial thing is to prioritize your mental well-being. You have the right to happiness and well-being. So start by making that initial move, no matter how tiny. This is something you can handle! Your brilliance awaits the new year. Now go forth and conquer the world!

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