We all know that 2020 left a huge change in our lives; lockdowns, canceled flights, postponed events, shifting on-ground classrooms to online classrooms, working in the office to WFH, etc. These all gave us stress, anxiety, and perhaps depression. Although the pandemic seems won’t end at the end of 2020, it is important to keep your mind always positive and the New Year can be a great time for a fresh start and a chance to begin the year with a healthier mindset.
You may already have some ideas for the New Year’s Resolutions, you may also be writing for the list you want to do next year in which you can improve your mental well-being. Here, we provide you some ways to help improve your mental health and to prepare for the upcoming 2021 which we hope would be resulting in a long-lasting benefit.
- Discover what makes you happy
Try to make a list of self-care activities that makes you happy and make them part of your daily or weekly routine. You can start taking detailed notes when you feel really happy, on your phone notes, for instance.
This can be a simple example. If you want to write a more detailed list, you can write and set a goal if it fits:
- Exploring the world: I should save money for traveling or join an activity that would allow me to travel for free. I want to explore 5 countries before I turn 25
- Reading one self-help book per week
- Learning Turkish 5 minutes daily on an app, 3 hours weekly with a group
- Write a gratitude journal/art journal
You can also take a test on What Makes You Happy from Psychologies.co.uk, by answering nine questions, you will know what kind of activities can help you to pursue your happiness.
- Consider taking a social media break
It is no doubt that social media can bring people together and can be an engaging platform to meet a new friend. However, it has become out of control and studies are now showing that social media use can lead to depression, low self-esteem, body image issues, anxiety, social isolation, and the list goes on.
There are some ways in which you can take a break from social media.
Firstly, set limits by tracking your social media time using an app that can track your social media time and help monitor and control how much time you spend on it.
Secondly, turn off all social media notifications and set virtual boundaries so you don’t feel triggered to check your Instagram or Facebook whenever you receive a new notification.
Last but not least, you can schedule “social media free days”. Perhaps it is every Sunday or the entire weekend where you actively decided not to check or engage in your social media accounts.
In these ways, you can spend more time socializing with others, engaging in hobbies, and being productive.
- Give back to the community
Giving back to support a cause you are passionate about is something you will never regret. It will enrich your life experience, and connect you to people and ideas that will positively impact your perspective for the rest of your life. Helping your community is an opportunity for you to grow as a person, to better understand how you fit into the world around you.
There are some simple and meaningful ways to give back to the community include donating your time at places like local non-profit organizations, schools, homeless shelters, animal shelters, etc., participating in fundraisers and charity events, helping children in need such as being their english teacher.
Or, if you want to volunteer online this website can be an option.
UN Online volunteering allows organizations and volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world, from any device.
- Make sleep a priority
“We spend about a third of our lives asleep. Sleep is essential – It is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing, and is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health. Sleeping helps us to recover from mental as well as physical exertion.”
Sleep and health are strongly related – poor sleep can increase the risk of having poor health, and poor health can make it harder to sleep. Sleep disturbances can be one of the first signs of distress. Common mental health problems like anxiety and depression can often underpin sleep problems. Therefore, getting enough sleep can be beneficial for your immune system, supercharge cognition, and reduce stress. Make sleep your top priority and get at least seven hours of quality sleep per day.
- Exercise more
Exercise is good for your body and increases your overall health as well as your sense of well-being. Engaged in physical activity or exercise such as walking, bicycling, swimming, dancing, etc. can help reduce anxiety and stress.
Surprisingly, exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits such as pumping up your endorphins, reducing negative effects of stress, and it improves your mood.
Meditation is a practice that uses a technique such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity. The medication helped people to manage their negative emotions and to train attention as well as awareness to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
- Keep a journal
Journaling is one of many ways to deal with any overwhelming emotions. In other words, it is a healthy way to express yourself. To begin with, keep a journal and simply write down your thoughts and feelings. That way, it can help you to understand them more clearly and help you gain control of your emotions, and improve your mental health.
- Be kind to yourself
When things don’t go as planned, times get tough. Allow yourself to forgive your own mistake; it is okay if your plans don’t happen, it is okay to make mistakes. You are doing your best and that is what matters.
Bargen, S. (2020, June 10). How To Figure Out What Makes You Happy (so you can do more of it) –. Yes and Yes. https://www.yesandyes.org/2016/05/how-to-figure-out-what-makes-you-happy.html
Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. (2020, August 18). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469#:%7E:text=Exercise%20increases%20your%20overall%20health,%2Dgood%20neurotransmitters%2C%20called%20endorphins.
Fuller, K. (2019, July 1). Social Media Breaks and Why They Are Necessary. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-is-state-mind/201907/social-media-breaks-and-why-they-are-necessary
The importance of sleep. (2016, October 14). Mental Health Foundation. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/importance-sleep
Together We Rise. (2020, August 20). 7 Ways to Give Back to the Community. https://www.togetherwerise.org/blog/7-ways-give-back-community/