[Image description: A man is wearing a mask as he hikes. He is looking at the camera.]
It’s not always easy to take care of your mental health. Perhaps you’re caught up in a lot of commitments or have developed a habit of doing things for other people without taking much time for yourself. During 2020 especially, you might have found yourself facing unique challenges and feeling more stressed than usual — all the more reason to enter 2021 prioritizing your mental health!
How to prioritize your mental health
Here are a few tips to consider this year:
Keep it simple. Taking a walk or spending a few minutes meditating throughout the day might not seem like a huge change but it can impact your overall well-being. Also, try to take note of which activities are fulfilling and aim to do more of that this year.
Consider your physical health. Are you working at an ergonomic workstation? How’s your posture? Are you exercising and eating healthy? All these aspects of physical health can also affect your mental health — the two go hand-in-hand!
Find a daily activity that works for you. Can you set aside a little time for yourself each day? You might enjoy journaling or sitting outside (bundled up, if you live somewhere cold!) with a cup of coffee for a few minutes. Small rituals may help you connect, reflect, and get grounded.
Say no if you need to. It’s okay to turn down social engagements! Also, try to remember you don’t have to do it all — you can ask for help. Make compromises with your partner or other household members about chores, grocery shopping, and whatever else lands on your to-do list each week. That way you can have a little time alone to reset.
Monitor how you’re feeling. You may find mindfulness — being present and aware — helps you process your emotions. Try to be present while eating, conversing, or taking a walk and see if your mindset shifts. If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, or having uncomfortable thoughts, it can be helpful to label them either as “thinking” or “feeling” to differentiate the two and create distance.
Practice gratitude. Noting what you’re grateful for can help you reflect and may lead to more positive emotions. Jot down a few things you’re grateful for each day and see if you notice any differences in your feelings and outlook.
Try something new. Step out of your comfort zone and explore a new activity this year. Who knows, you might discover a hobby you enjoy! Or perhaps, if you like resolutions, you can set goals for taking care of your mental health.
Take that first step! If you find yourself working through difficult emotions, or simply could use some unbiased support, schedule an appointment with a therapist on Amwell. Providers are here to listen and help you prioritize your mental health anytime.