Mental Health for the New Year

The new year often brings changes and resolutions. The most common resolutions include financial practices, diet, weight loss, and exercise. Are we leaving something out? Do we consider our mental health as often as we should? Mental health is important to a healthy individual and is also closely linked to one's physical health.

Just as physical health includes many aspects, mental health has a wide range of practices. For example, think about sleeping habits. We all know sleep plays an important role in our overall health. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, irritability, and anxiety. As you can see, even the most basic daily demands have the ability to make life seem even more difficult.

Adding exercise to your daily routine is a powerful way to improve mental health. Exercise improves sleep quality, assists with coping with stress, and aids in managing difficult and traumatic memories. It will also make you physically healthy! Combine the exercise with the outdoors and you get an even bigger advantage. Spending time outside can improve your memory, attention span, and build a sense of belonging.

Leaving negativity out of your vocabulary is another huge factor in mental health. We often put ourselves down over insignificant things. Overwhelming pressure comes from absorbing social media. Although social media is an excellent way to connect with others, it can also be detrimental to mental health. Too much screen time will lead to comparing yourself to others or making you think there are things you are missing out on in life. This can lead to a general dissatisfaction with your own life. Negative thinking and comparing yourself to others will only have a negative impact on you. Instead, try to focus on positive self-talk, which can lead to a much improved quality of life. Also, consider limiting screen time while connecting with those around you that add joy to your life.

Finally, learning the right time to say "yes" or "no" are critical to a healthy state of mental health. Nothing holds us back quite like fear. Start to say yes more and allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone and discover a whole new side of you. This doesn't mean you are agreeing to do things you don't want to do, but about not letting fear stop you from trying new things. Learning to say "no" is just as important as learning to say "yes". Boundaries are often difficult to establish. Committing yourself to too many obligations can cause a feeling of being out of control. Don't agree to things because you feel you will be letting someone down. Overextending yourself leads to anxiety and depression. Choose yourself first!

Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness and it does not mean you have a mental illness. An unbiased person is equipped with skills and knowledge to help you maneuver through everyday challenges. Therapy provides you with a confidential and safe space to work through your past, relationships, set boundaries, and develop healthy coping strategies to manage stress. In this new year, surround yourself with people and things that support you and recognize that mental health is as important as physical health.

It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age or disability. The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

3/9/2021 5:32:58 PM
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