9 Tips For Improving Your Mental Health In 2020
Slowly but surely, awareness of mental health issues is increasing. Where before the suffering of many would have been put down to frivolous reasons, now we understand that people have been suffering from depression, anxiety, and a host of other undiagnosed conditions. That’s a great start, but there’s still plenty of work for us to do. We need to recognise that to help people improve their mental health, we must create a support network around them. Here are 9 ways that you can improve your mental health in 2020.
Try something new
One of the best ways to help yourself with mental health is to get out and try something new. Whether or not you’re motivated enough to do this will, of course, vary with the severity of your condition. You don’t need to leave the house to give something new a try, though. Why not get in touch with your spiritual side and seek out your tarot horoscope? How about taking up a new indoor hobby? There are plenty of ways to try a new thing without breaking the bank or leaving your house.
This won’t come easily, and it will probably take you a fairly long amount of time to learn to love yourself, but it’s definitely worth it. Self-loathing can come from unexpected places, but once it settles in, it can be very hard to get rid of it. Try writing down something you like about yourself every day. If you can’t manage this, then try blocking your negative thoughts with neutral ones. Replace “I hate myself” with “I need to work on X about myself”.
We understand that looking after yourself isn’t always easy when you’re suffering from mental health conditions. That said, one of the most effective ways to help your mental health is to go outside. Leaving the house reduces your anxiety and depression, helps with physical fitness and helps you to feel more like you’re part of the world. Even if it feels difficult, try getting out of the house for just a few minutes at a time; this small amount will help immeasurably.
Get away from tech – for a while
Don’t worry – we’re not telling you to completely ditch your smartphone or laptop. All we’re saying is that spending some time away from technology can seriously help you to feel better. Putting your phone down may actually extend your lifespan, but moving away from the social media timeline and the constant demands of your notifications will make you feel better too. Try allocating a certain amount of time each day to talk to family, take a walk, or do something else that doesn’t involve your phone.
Use tech for good
If you absolutely can’t stand to be away from your phone, then try using it for something other than browsing social media. Checking out new YouTube channels with interesting content is a great idea, for example, as is downloading new apps or using your phone for creative purposes. You should also consider using your phone to get in touch with family members you’ve not spoken to for a while or to check in with friends that have moved away.
Research suggests that eating well – that is, eating food rich in nutrients as part of a balanced diet – can have a positive impact on feelings of wellbeing. It stands to reason; if your body is getting the nutrition it needs, you’re bound to feel better, but if you’re not looking after it then everything will feel worse. If you can’t bring yourself to cook your own meals, see if family members or friends would be willing to help. Even store-bought healthy ready meals can be great alternatives to fast food.
Hang out with your friends
When you’re in the throes of depression or anxiety, the last thing you want to do is hang out with your friends; you can feel like a burden to them or simply not want to see them. Socialising has been proven to help with mental health, though, so it’s actually one of the best things you can do when you’re down. Call up friends and make plans to hang out with them. If they’re good friends, it shouldn’t feel like work to be with them and they should understand what you’re going through.
Set goals for the year
Before setting yourself goals, it’s important to distinguish between goals that are realistic and those that you won’t be able to attain. The aim here isn’t to punish yourself for failure, but to give yourself something to work towards as the year goes on. Have you been meaning to learn a musical instrument or complete a short story? These can be excellent goals to give yourself. Whatever your personal goals might be, make sure you’re lenient with yourself and don’t be overly harsh on yourself if you don’t meet them. Speaking of which…
Don’t be hard on yourself
If you’re pursuing an exercise program that isn’t working for you or you’ve taken up a new hobby you’re not enjoying, you’re under no obligation to stick with them. Make sure that you’re doing things you enjoy and not forcing yourself to persevere. The point of taking up new hobbies or starting an exercise program is to make yourself happier. While you will, of course, run into difficulties with new hobbies occasionally, they’re supposed to improve your mood overall, so cut them out if they’re not working!