Most of our New Year’s resolutions include things like eating healthier and incorporating more exercise into our daily routine. However, it’s likely you’ll also want to boost your mental health in 2023. About 50 million Americans experienced mental illness in 2022. The youth mental health crisis also made headlines last year. Alarm bells are ringing everywhere, leaving people with one major question at the start of 2023. What can we actually do to curb mental health struggles on a daily basis?
You’ve probably heard it all before: get plenty of sleep, be active, develop connections with others, journal, meditate. It’s entirely true that taking care of your body is the first step to boosting your mental health. Forming a routine that includes positive habits can also be helpful, and a support system can make all the difference in the world. However, implementing these things is often harder than it seems on paper. Moreover, they may not give you results you’ll see right away. To boost your mental health in 2023, it’s important to pinpoint simple, realistic changes you can make that work for you individually.
What works for one person, be it meditating or taking medication, might be counterintuitive for someone else. Similarly, those in underrepresented communities (neurodivergent individuals, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ-identifying individuals) may not see themselves in oversimplified suggestions. This year, we suggest giving these things a try:
Change Up the Way You Define Self-Care
The word “self-care” is a popular term, and as such its meaning has been watered down over the years. As well-intentioned as the original concept is, many businesses have latched onto the idea and used it for marketing purposes. Remember that companies aim to sell products, and protecting the consumer’s mental health comes second if it’s prioritized at all. If treating yourself to retail therapy causes feelings of guilt or financial security after the fact, it isn’t long-term self-care.
Self-care is also narrowly associated with a few activities like meditation and yoga. These things certainly work for some, but when you think of self-care, consider what works for you. What helps you re-charge and ease your thoughts? Maybe you like to go to a quiet room and listen to music, work on something creative, have a long talk with a mentor, or take a walk with your dog. Maybe self-care means limiting screentime before bed or reducing habits like procrastination. Whatever you choose, you should feel refreshed or enriched in some way after. So, take notice and ask yourself: what things revive you when you’re feeling anxious or down? Think beyond self-gratifying habits that can leave you feeling hollow in the long run, such as going on a spending spree or drinking alcohol.
Write Yourself a Letter
When you’re having a bad day, it’s easy to forget that negative feelings dissipate in time. While many mental health struggles are a constant battle, every day still presents new opportunities. Maybe you go to bed one night feeling low. It’s raining outside, your partner recently broke up with you, and you’re feeling unsure about your future goals. The next day, the sun is out and you discover that a movie you wanted to see is in theaters. Maybe you witness an act of kindness that inspires you to do something nice for a friend. These things might sound insignificant, but they can alter your perspective.
On good days, write yourself a caring letter that you can open on a bad day. Remind yourself that, chances are, the next day won’t be as bad as the one before. The smallest things can change your mood and put you in a better place: list those things.
Commit to Searching for the Right Therapist
The best way to boost your mental health in 2023 is by taking it seriously. If you already have a supportive therapist, that’s great! Others often wrestle with the idea of finding a therapist. Maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking about for years, but misconceptions about therapy have held you back. Some might not have health insurance, which can make it more difficult (but not impossible) to find care. Perhaps you’ve tried therapy once, but it didn’t work for you and you’re afraid to try again. This year, commit to finding the right therapist and acknowledge that it may take time. Be patient with yourself and take the process one day at a time.
Our Staff at Lead4Life, Inc. Can Help You Boost Your Mental Health in 2023
At Lead4Life, we strive to empower every participant in our programs so that they may find their purpose, achieve their goals, and become poised, productive members of their community. We advocate for those in need and assist each and every individual by providing compassionate education and valuable resources like mental health tips so that they can make the very best decisions and develop important life, social, and competency skills. Visit our website or contact us at 240-499-8949 to boost your mental health in 2023.