Person with lights overhead, representing mental illness

As we begin 2021, many people are looking to get off to a good start, especially after 2020 was filled with problems that plagued so many people including illness, job loss, isolation, addiction and more. While there are organizations that run luxury rehabilitation programs available to help with some of these problems, if you are hoping to make big changes this new year that will help you improve, it is vital that you ensure that you are in the right place mentally. 

While many people’s new year’s resolutions are filled with things like exercising more, running every day, or stop eating junk food, many do not realize how big the role their mental health plays into everything is. If you are trying to improve your mental health to here are a few new year’s resolutions  you can make to try and achieve this goal. 

  1. Meditate 

This one may seem a bit obvious, but meditation and mindfulness practices are key to improving your mental fortitude. When it comes to improving your mental health, there are few better ways than through meditation. Think of meditation as an exercise or workout routine for your brain. 

There are numerous forms of meditation and mindful exercises, but a commonplace among all of them is mindful breathing. For this, you will find a comfortable seated or laying down position. From there you will focus your entire attention on your inhales and exhales. From there you will continue to focus on your breathing but also recognize the way the body is moving during these actions, how the diaphragm moves up and down. This is just the starting point for meditative practices but doing this will help you relax, clear your mind, and become more in tune with how your body is feeling. 

  1. Cut Back on Substances 

Whether you are drinking alcohol, abusing prescription medication, or using an illicit substance – all of these things have problematic effects on not only your physical health but your mental ability as well, it can even lead or contribute to increased problems related to mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. If you want to ensure that you are starting off the new year right, try and cut back on using these substances, or maybe quit altogether. 

Quitting alcohol use or not taking opioids can be difficult if you’ve already made a habit of it. That said, there are resources to help you if you find yourself in a difficult spot. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and rehab programs are in place to help ensure that people always have access to professional help if they need it. 

  1. Get Active 

There is a reason exercise is normally on people’s new year’s resolution lists. Getting the body active and exercising semi-regularly will do wonders for you. Not only will it help with physical appearance, self-confidence, weight regulation, but it can help to improve your mental health – helping you relieve stress and mitigate problems like anxiety

Whether you decide to go on a run or walk, start lifting weights, swim, play sports, or more, getting up and getting off the couch will help you overcome certain mental health barriers and will go a long way toward dealing with the isolation that is brought on by Covid quarantining. 

These are three easy ways to improve your mental health and work to overcome issues such as depression. So, when you are setting your resolutions for the new year, it may be good to include something like “Dedicate 10 minutes to meditation each day” or “Only drink on the weekends”.  

While some of these may seem overwhelming at first, setting a stretch goal for yourself will allow you get started and work toward making that end goal a reality by the end of 2021.