Are you someone who commits to New Year resolutions, and falls short of sticking to them? Don’t worry, most of us are. While the most common resolutions include eating healthy, losing weight, changing jobs, quitting smoking, and learning a new instrument or skill. We all know how overwhelming resolutions can be. “New Year resolutions can themselves cause a feeling of being overwhelmed if you set yourselves really complex and unrealistic goals. We often start feeling like failures in a month or so if we are not able to stick to our New Year resolutions. What we sometimes do not realise is that we are not able to stick to our resolutions but that we need to make New Year goals that are actionable and achievable,” explains Dr. Sapna Bangar, psychiatrist and head, Mpower – The Centre, Mumbai.
If you find yourself struggling, January is also observed as Mental Wellness Month and serves as a reminder to take charge of your mental wellbeing. “We regularly go for physical health or dental check-ups but fail to give the same priority to our mental health. Regular check-ins with a mental health professional to take care of your mental wellbeing is not only recommended but can help us to become a better version of ourselves,” adds Bangar. We’ve asked her to share 10 easy-to-follow and actionable resolutions you can adapt to aid your mental wellbeing.
Develop a humorous attitude and try not to be on an alert mode all the time. This lowers Blood pressure and helps with healthy heart functioning. Laughing reduces stress hormones and releases ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins along with boosting immunity.
Develop a new hobby or revisit an old one
Spending time doing something you love causes natural relaxation and gives a sense of fulfilment. Hobbies could be anything ranging from artistic activities like painting or drawing, or anything that helps you unwind, be it baking, knitting, or even gardening.
Be aware of your choices – You always have one!! And be clear in your communication. Learn the art of saying ‘no’ and setting boundaries both professional and personal. Compete with yourself, not others.
Acknowledge and express your feelings
It’s okay to feel confused, uncertain, and even overwhelmed at times. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and express them either by talking to family and friends or using creative ways like journaling or creative arts.
Contribute to society
Take up any social cause to give you a sense of purpose. Helping others in time of need even in a small way has shown to increase your self-worth and sense of wellbeing.
Take screen-free breaks
It is important to stay connected with people by socialising offline. Social media can heighten anxiety by increasing your ability to keep up to date with the activities of other people, which may cause you to develop Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). It is very important to spend time with children and not be distracted by calls or other social media activities. So every once in a while take screen free breaks with your loved ones.
Practise Niksen which “literally means to do nothing, to be idle or doing something without any use,” It is literally about carving out time to just be, even letting your mind wander rather than focusing on anything in particular. Research has shown that this helps prevent burnout, increasing happiness quotient, reducing stress as well as increasing problem solving and creative thinking.
Eat healthily, sleep well and exercise regularly
Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that lets you unwind as chronic lack of sleep can make you irritable and anxious. Engaging in some form of exercise every day, even if it is just going for a short walk outside, is likely to make you feel better both physically and mentally.
Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol may momentarily cause you to feel happy but in the long run, it is a depressant which can negatively affect your mood, and can increase anxiety and stress. Cutting down on alcohol can help with your mood as well as overall physical and mental health.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, ask for help. The earlier you intervene, the better the outcome. Bring awareness to your struggles, and remember a conscious effort of prioritising your mental health this year can go a long way in your healing journey.