New year. A new list of resolutions. Most common resolutions are a composition of ‘lose weight’ or ‘work out more’. However, do we take the time to look at the foundation of resolutions, the mind.
Research suggests that 83% new years’ resolutions are more successful when incorporated with a healthy mind. This is could be due to undetected depression causing you to comfort eat, or high functioning anxiety causing you to be so exhausted that working out seems an impossible mountain to climb. These lead to self-critical thoughts of failure, resulting in abandoning resolutions or goals. This enters you into a self-destructive and dysfunctional cycle of behaviour, where your best intentions turn into avoidance and self-abuse. If we take a moment to think back to the last goal you didn’t reach; how did you communicate with yourself? Most of the time we communicate with ourselves with harsher words and insults that we wouldn’t say to our worst enemy.
So the question still remains, how do you take care of our mental health alongside our physical health.
3 simple tips to improve mental health
10 minutes of mindfulness in the morning and evening.
The brain is a beautiful thing. It controls our thoughts, emotions and bodily functions, however, what happens when our brains become cluttered with information and over processing? Have you ever lay down in bed at night and felt like you were on a ride you couldn’t get off? Mindfulness is the answer to information overload. If we were to hold a glass of water for five minutes, our arm wouldn’t hurt. But if we were asked to hold it for 3 weeks, do you think you would be tired? A brain is a muscle that needs a rest, mindfulness is that rest. Mindfulness exercises can be found on the headspace app. This app is free of charge and available on apple and android.
Self-care, self-care, self-care.
I often say to clients, you spend time caring for your spouse, children, friends, but how much time do you spend caring for YOU. By not feeding into yourself, you will not be able to feed into other people. Simple. Self-care allows us to mentally refuel. This can be obtained by asking yourself, what do I actually like to do? This can range from taking a bath, reading a book with a cup of something hot, going on a walk. Do yourself a favour, and take 10 minutes for yourself each day and trust me, you’ll see the difference.
Accept who you are. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.
“Being happy with who I am now means I enjoy living in the moment.”
Be proud of who you are. Recognize and accept what you are not good at, but focus on what you can do well. Work out if there’s anything about yourself that you still want to change. Are your expectations realistic? If they are, work towards the change in small steps. Counselling can be so much more than addressing ‘problems’. It can facilitate a process of self-discovery and exploration.
I wish you the happiest of New Years.