How to Give Your Mental Health a Headstart in the New Year

March 28, 2022

With each year comes fresh choices to benefit mental health and wellness. In order to help you have the best start to 2022 possible, we’ve compiled some self care tips so you can be confident in your healthiest self, both mentally and physically. 

Pursue a hobby, new or old 

Often we spend our down time scrolling social media or not really doing anything productive. The next time you find yourself with free time, consider what it is you’d really enjoy doing in those hours — and we don’t mean getting all the laundry done; we’re talking about a hobby. 

Perhaps you’ve been crocheting the same blanket for five years and finally get the motivation to finish it. Maybe it’s revamping your backyard in order to install a firepit and plant a garden. Did you play a musical instrument as a kid? Consider dusting it off and giving it another go. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re into painting, mechanics, woodworking or baking — if it helps relax you and get your mind off your busy life, then pursuing a hobby is a crucial tip for mental health wellness.

Build an exercise regime you enjoy 

As we entered 2022, many people sought to boost their mental health through exercise tips and tricks. Yet, ladened with good intentions, many did not follow through. Sometimes exercising can be hard because life gets in the way, but other times it’s simply because you haven’t found an exercise regimen that you actually like.

If you want to continue exercising to benefit your mental health, one tip we suggest is finding a kind of exercise you enjoy. It might be yoga, Zumba, pilates or another kind of aerobics. If you love biking, but live somewhere where the weather isn’t in your favor, consider a cycling class. You could also work closely with a physical trainer to help you remain motivated and accountable.

No matter what it looks like for you, a solid self-care routine for your mental health is through exercise.

Prioritize being around friends 

Did you know that being around friends is one of the best tips for improving your mental health? Community offers a sense of belonging, minimizing feelings of isolation and depression, and allowing you to step outside your own head as you talk, laugh and process with friends. 

If the friends are people you trust, they can provide a safe place in which to talk about the challenges of life. You and your friends can become “sounding boards” for each other, discussing thoughts, plans, ideas and frustrations, and processing through them, gaining new perspectives and learning from each other’s experiences. 

Adopt a pet 

While there are many responsibilities that coincide with owning an animal, the routines of feeding, exercising and caring for a pet provides many mental health benefits for owners.

We’re not recommending you go out and adopt an animal if all it will do is increase stress in your life (as some high-energy dogs and bored cats can do). What we’re recommending is taking the time to consider if the routine care of and affection given by a pet could help. 

Pets offer love in a way few other creatures do, and simply having a little buddy to care for could significantly increase your mental health if you find yourself battling depression, anxiety or even loneliness. 

Volunteer 

Another potentially surprising mental health wellness tip is the benefit of volunteering. While some people might assume volunteering will drain energy instead of increasing it, volunteering has been proven to significantly increase feelings of joy and contentment in those who offer their time in the service of others. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the rebellious act of giving away our time without being paid for it; maybe it’s the impact helping those who need it most has on our minds and hearts. No matter what it is, or what impact it has on you, we’re pretty confident that you’ll find yourself more fulfilled after just one hour of volunteering than a whole week of salaried work. 

Get creative in the kitchen 

It’s becoming commonly known that what you eat directly impacts your mental health. However, many find themselves reluctant to embrace this truth out of fear of being stuck with a diet of tuna fish, celery and kale. We’re here to tell you that that is absolutely not what that means. 

Eating to increase your mental health can truly be fun, and a great opportunity to learn more about the specific mental health benefits of food, as well as expand your skills in the kitchen. 

So you know dark leafy greens are incredible for you, but have no idea how to cook them? It’s a great opportunity to peruse recipes and find something you might like. Instead of viewing cooking as a challenge or time-eater, consider cooking as the part of your day where you get to be intentional about increasing your mental health, as well as working on a new, productive skill. 

Consider counseling 

As incredible as good friends, good food and a great hobby are for increasing mental health, some things need to be handled by the wisdom of a counselor. The start of a new year is a great time to consider reaching out, as it may offer you numerous mental health benefits with which to begin 2022. 

To speak with a counselor today, call October Road at 888-201-5086.