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Resolve to Put Your Mental Health First this New Year

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — December 19, 2019 — 3 min read
Every year, we do it – we look in the mirror and say this is the year everything changes. That’s a lot of pressure and can be difficult for those living with mental illness.

Instead of resolutions to lose weight or hit the gym five times a week, make a pledge to yourself to put your mental health first this year. Here’s what you can do in the new year to improve your mental wellbeing:

Get more sleep – Better sleep can lead to improved mental health. About 50% to 80% of individuals treated at a psychiatric practice have chronic sleep problems compared with 10% to 18% of adults in the general U.S. population, according to Harvard Medical School. Improving sleep, can improve mental health. Tips on how to sleep better.

Take more walksExercise can improve depression and anxiety symptoms. Just 30 minutes of exercise three to five days a week can make a difference, according to the Mayo Clinic, but even 10 to 15 minutes of activity helps. Extra points for exercising outside, which can help reduce repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions, according to Harvard Medical School.

Listen to/play music – A 2006 study of 60 adults with chronic pain found that music reduced pain, depression, and disability, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Unplug – Having time away from the computer and social media can help improve our mental health, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Start small with unplugging for an hour a day and try to increase the time you spend away from your devices. Whether you spend the time reading, talking to a friend or working on a hobby, this time away from your screen can start to improve your mental health.

Communicate your needs – Having a support system of people you trust is important when you have depression or other mental illnesses. Practice telling the people in your circle what you need. NAMI suggests making a list of what you may need in different circumstances.

Be realistic and patient – Make small, task-specific changes that you know you can do. Give yourself the gift of time to accomplish those tasks one at a time.

Practice positive self-talk and affirmations – Seeking to bring the positive out of the negative can help you do better, go further, or even just keep moving forward. 

Find the things that make you happy and do them – Working to find things that bring you joy can help the perspective you may have and expressing gratitude.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Medical Services Liaison and licensed counselor Amy Mock, LPC, LPCS, CEDS, with the Cardinal Innovations’ Medial Department contributed to this article.
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