Mental wellbeing is everything. It doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of life you have, if you don’t feel happy and fulfilled then you simply won’t enjoy yourself. Life isn’t always fun and easy, but it doesn’t have to constantly feel like an uphill battle either. If you take care of your mental wellbeing you’ll be able to appreciate the good times, and be better equipped to handle situations that aren’t so good too. Here are some of the ways you can improve your mental wellbeing this year.
Focus on your physical body
The mind and body are closely linked, if you look after your body then your mind will benefit too. This is a good place to start when you’re looking to improve your overall wellbeing, as we all know what it takes to take care of ourselves physically. Eat fresh, healthy foods. Get plenty of exercise and enough sleep. Stay hydrated, stretch- the list of things you can do to improve your body is endless. This certainly isn’t rocket science, but it is something we could all do with being reminded of every now and again. If you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle and feeling generally rubbish, then a few changes really can make a massive difference to the way that you feel. Find an exercise that you love, it could be anything from hiking to yoga to dance. Learn how to cook, so you can transform healthy ingredients into flavourful and interesting dishes. Make time for relaxation, and prioritise getting enough sleep- do this for as little as two weeks and you’ll be aware of how much better you feel within yourself.
Spend time on your appearance
Looking good isn’t about being shallow or vain. It’s about taking pride in your appearance, about giving yourself the confidence to show up to any occasion with your head held high, and not be held back due to insecurity. It doesn’t mean you need to be glammed up to the nines every day, but do spend some time on yourself. Come up with a skincare regime that suits you, and go through it each morning and evening. Have the hairdresser give you a cut and colour that suits you while being easy to maintain. Buy clothes that flatter you and look good and you feel good about yourself wearing- it’s so easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our own priority lists but remember: you matter too! A little time and money spent on yourself to feel good every now and again isn’t a waste.
Work on your relationships
Relationships in adulthood are always going to be complex. As humans we are complicated beings with all kinds of different needs, we’re not always able to express these needs to each other and since we cant read minds, it’s something we can get wrong. One friend might find texting every day a little full on, whereas another could get upset without a message every few days to ‘check in.’ People we once knew well can change, and we can grow apart from people we loved and were close too. It’s always going to be a juggling act, but good relationships are always worthwhile, people who can build us up when we’re down, cry with us when we’re sad and celebrate with us when we’re on top of the world. But keeping hold of people we’ve drifted from or forcing friendships isn’t worthwhile. Sometimes we go our separate ways in life and that’s fine. If you find that a relationship, friendship or even a connection with a family member has become toxic then it’s perfectly ok to walk away. You can’t change people, if they’re upsetting you and things are no longer right then tell yourself ‘my peace of mind is more important’ and walk away. It doesn’t have to be a huge argument or drama, just walk away with dignity and no longer involve yourself with that person.
Improve your finances
Being in trouble with your finances can be really stressful. Maybe you struggle making ends meet and are short on money every month, or perhaps you’re in debt and missing payments. Taking a look at your finances and making a few simple changes can be really helpful. First of all, reduce your bills- make the most of new customer deals and cut back on extra services such as additional tv channels that you can realistically live without. Switch to a pay and go sim like SMARTY at the end of your mobile phone contract, instead of taking out another expensive contract. Stop buying all branded foods when you do your shopping, and cook more at home rather than ordering takeaways and eating at restaurants.
Make time for fun
As adults, we’re very good at doing things we don’t want to do- because we have to. Going to work, cleaning the house, paying bills and running errands. We do these things on autopilot almost. Something we’re not quite as good at is making time for fun, just pure, joyful fun with no other purpose behind it. This is never a waste of time, it’s these moments that make life worth living, they reduce stress and make you feel good. Find a hobby that’s just for fun, run around with your kids in the garden, go to a theme park or book yourself a holiday! We all lead busy lives and doing things we don’t want to do is just part and parcel of being an independent adult. But when you do get the chance to relax, let your hair down and just have fun, enjoy every second.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone
Creating a comfort zone where you feel safe and understand your boundaries is great, but if you constantly live there then you never allow yourself the chance to grow. Every now and then, make the effort to push yourself out of your comfort zone. You can usually do this by trying something new, by doing something that excites you but makes you feel fearful. Maybe it’s learning a new skill, or joining a group to make new friends. It can be an uncomfortable feeling at the time, but you’ll always be glad you did afterwards. When it comes to making memories and looking back at the highlights of your year, it will often be these times that stand out in your mind. It will rarely be the times that you were tucked up in bed at home with a cup of tea that you remember (as nice and important as these moments are too!) but if you want to look back on the year with excitement then this is one way to go about it.
Recognise the signs of burnout
Finally, one of the best things we can do as adults is to notice the signs of when we’re working too hard. Working hard is of course important, but when you push it too far it can have serious effects on your mental and physical health. Are you constantly fatigued, making mistakes, experiencing brain fog or struggling to sleep? Have you found that you’re overwhelmed and emotional? It might be time to cut it back, book some holiday time from work even if it’s just to stay home, relax and recuperate. All of us reach our breaking point at times, knowing to spot the signs and put a stop to it before you cause yourself some damage is really important.
Taking care of your mental wellbeing means looking after yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Getting organised, deciding on what your priorities are and making a few simple changes can make a big difference overall.
What kinds of things will you be doing this year to improve your mental wellbeing?