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How to Take Better Care of your Mental Health this Year

The start of a new year often comes with new goals and obligations, but it also comes with its own set of challenges and obstacles that we must learn to overcome.

This past year has been difficult for many of us with more social isolation than normal; with increased isolation from others it is common for individuals to experience more loneliness, anxiety, have difficulty concentrating, lack motivation, become stressed, and have a profound apprehension about the future (1).

This can lead to poor mental and physical health. However, there are things that we can do for ourselves to help alleviate these feelings.

Today we are going to share with you some of our tips to remain mindful through difficult times and explain some of the best things to do to take some time for self-care.

 

People doing yoga on the beach

 

10 Tips for Self-Care

  1. Do something that makes you happy every day
  2. Eat fruit and vegetables every day
  3. Get outside and enjoy the benefits of being out in nature
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Prioritize your sleep schedule
  6. Talk regularly with a friend or family member
  7. Read a book for enjoyment
  8. Take time to stay organized by using a calendar or weekly planner
  9. Engage in daily journaling
  10. Practice meditation or mindfulness


It is important to be mindful of what you and your body need at a given time.

Are you feeling tired and burnt out?

Set a reminder for yourself to get to bed at a certain time.

Are you feeling stressed out and turning to unhealthy foods to cope?

Make it a priority to have a healthy meal. A great way to keep your nutrition on track and reduce anxiety around food is to pencil in some time in your schedule to do some meal prepping for the week. While most of us are working from home as well, it is important to focus on eating intuitively and fueling your body at the appropriate times.

Are you feeling anxious?

Go out for a long walk, run, or do some yoga to relax.

 

You got this written in chalk on the street



Instead of turning to habits that may not provide us with the best health benefits, once you feel the urge to engage in an unhealthy action that may negatively impact your mental health, distract yourself by engaging in a healthy self-care activity.

If you are lacking the motivation to engage in self-care, start with a small goal. For example, you could start walking 20 minutes a day 3 times per week. This could then progress into a more challenging goal to walk for an hour every day 5 times per week. Writing down your goals and making note of your progress through using a journal can help you stay mindful and accountable for your goals.

If you or a loved one has experienced poor mental health in the past year, we hope that you can take these tips with you to use in your daily lives.

Remember to always put yourself first! Only when we are taking steps to be the best version of ourselves can we truly help others and make a difference in the world around us.


References:
1) Hiremath, P., Suhas Kowshik, C., Manjunath, M., & Shettar, M. (2020, June). COVID 19: Impact of lock-down on mental health and tips to overcome. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151434 /

Author: Karli McCarthy
Cal Poly, SLO Nutrition Student
@kale_n_it_karli 

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