As 2022 draws to a close, it’s a great time to give our mental health the reset it needs and to embrace the brand new year armed with healthy coping skills, a positive mindset, and gentle reminders for self-care.
The great news is that to achieve mental wellness and stability, you don’t need a lot of strategies. You just need to choose a few of the right ones for you – and then practice them with consistency and commitment.
Here are our 12 top mental health tips to help you create a game plan to keep you calmer, happier and healthier for a great 2023.
No matter your life goals for the year ahead, we recommend making ‘boosting your mental health’ a top priority.
1. Practice finding your inner calm
Inner calm, or inner peace, is a state of mind. It’s about how you feel inside, regardless of what’s happening around you – and it only takes a bit of practice.
There are plenty of ways to find more inner calm throughout your day and allow your mind to find moments of stillness and harmony, for example:
- Spending time in nature
- Being creative through art, music, or dance
If you’re unsure where to begin, there are countless videos on YouTube that you can try out, or look up local classes in your area where you can learn the basics. Finding the best method for you might take a few weeks, but then you can start making it a daily habit. Your mind will thank you for it.
2. Start a gratitude journal
Research shows that gratitude journaling can reduce stress and improve mental and physical health. Consciously counting your blessings – for example, by writing ‘three good things’ that have happened each day – is shown to help people be more optimistic, increase self-esteem, sleep better, improve their relationships and ease depression.
Read our recent blog for five effective ways to start practising gratitude in 2023.
3. Move your body
Studies consistently show the benefits for our mental state of getting outdoors and moving our bodies.
Physical exercise – whether taking a workout or yoga class, cycling, jogging, swimming, dancing, or simply enjoying a walk around the park – helps our bodies release negative energy and tension and boosts our overall mood. Over time, it relieves stress, improves sleep, and can have a significant positive impact on reducing depression and anxiety.
Get your 2023 off to a flying start by finding activities you enjoy doing, and then aim to get outside and move your body for at least 20 minutes each day.
4. Connect with nature
Connecting with nature has been linked to numerous benefits, including better mood, improved attention, and reduced risk of mental health disorders. It’s a great habit to establish, to boost your mental health – and it can be completely free. Ideas include:
- A stroll through your local park/beach/countryside/community gardens
- An afternoon hiking in the wilderness
- Volunteer for a conservation project in your area
- Grow flowers, plants and herbs at home – even in a window box if space is limited
- Watch TV Programs or films about nature
- Rent an allotment with a group of friends or family
- Combine nature with creativity by taking photos or painting outdoors – flex those artistic muscles!
- Exercise outdoors – weather permitting – and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature around you.
The Mental Health Foundation has top tips on connecting with nature to help improve your mental health in 2023.
5. Establish a healthy sleep routine
We all know our day is negatively affected if we haven’t had a decent night’s sleep – we feel tired, irritable, and can have difficulty concentrating. In the longer term, sleep deprivation can lead to more severe problems, with links established between poor sleep and anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, reduced immune system function, and other disorders.
So it makes sense to establish a healthy sleep routine if you want to improve your physical, emotional and mental health in 2023. It’s one of the easiest steps you can take to help clear your mind of the day’s stressors and find the deep relaxation your brain needs to switch off and enjoy whole nights of restorative sleep.
6. Set (and maintain) your boundaries
Putting ourselves first and setting healthy boundaries that allow us to feel comfortable, safe and respected can be challenging. Of course, we don’t want to feel that we’re letting other people down or for them to see us as unkind or ‘high maintenance’.
However, setting boundaries is vital to protecting our emotional well-being, maintaining healthy relationships, and reminding us of our values and goals. They can also help us to start prioritizing the things that bring us true fulfilment as we head into the new year, build our self-esteem, and enhance our mental health.
Think about any unhealthy boundaries you’ve let slide in recent years, and take this opportunity to reset the balance and set new, healthy ones for a great 2023.
7. Be around people who want the best for you
It’s said that we become the average of the five people we spend most of our time with. ‘We are who we hang out with’! The people around us shape our perspective, influence our moods and encourage us toward certain behaviours and patterns.
Think about how you feel after spending time with different friends, colleagues, and family members to identify who is good for you and who isn’t.
The start of a new year is as good a time as any to reevaluate our relationships with others and identify who brings out the best in us – supporting our dreams, inspiring us, and helping us grow. These are the people you want to be around the most in 2023.
8. Take a daily digital detox
Constant exposure to depressing news, social media, video games, and TV can take its toll on our mental health, so taking regular breaks – to disconnect from technology entirely – is essential for our mental well-being.
This is a challenging new habit to adopt – intentionally abstaining from all electronic devices for a while – but just 30 minutes a day can significantly improve your mental health. Research shows it can reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, increase productivity and focus, and help us regain interest in activities that bring greater joy.
Identify a time during the day – for example, when you first wake up, are out for a walk in nature or relaxing in a hot bath after a long day – when you will take a digital detox. The more you do it, the easier it will get!
9. Take time out to do the things you love
For many of us, being constantly busy is closely connected to our self-worth, or it can become a way to numb or avoid painful situations or feelings. But unfortunately, when we’re busy all the time, our work-life balance is thrown off and can easily lead to exhaustion, disconnection, chronic stress, and burnout.
Our tip for 2023 is to avoid overscheduling and reduce your to-lists so that you can make time each week to commit to simply slowing down and doing something you love.
To begin, it may feel difficult to shift your priorities, but everyone deserves time to themselves and time for self-care. This will not only help to recharge your batteries and enhance your relationships over time but will also help to reduce anxiety, stress and overwhelm.
If you realize you’ve been using busyness as a coping strategy to avoid other issues, reach out to a therapist who can support you as you make the necessary changes to improve the quality of your life.
10. Be kind to yourself (and others)
No one enjoys being criticized by other people, and yet the harshest judgments we frequently receive are from ourselves. Internal self-judgments from our inner critic can be the most significant source of mental stress, anxiety and tension.
As you set goals and plans for 2023, focus on self-compassion over self-improvement. Strive for progress, not perfection.
The first step to eliminating the negative inner dialogues is to pay attention to your thinking patterns and habits. Being aware of them means you can begin to replace them with more positive thoughts, understanding, encouragement, and forgiveness. Self-compassion includes talking to yourself in a gentle way and being as kind to yourself as you are to others – and will yield great mental health benefits in 2023.
11. Devote time daily to your mental health practices
Life will always present us with problems and unexpected hurdles, so it’s unlikely any of us will reach an end goal where our mental health is 100%, and no more work is required!
Whatever mental health tips you choose to follow for a great 2023, work towards making them daily habits that will put you in a strong position to tackle anything life throws at you without being knocked off course.
Managing your mental health should always be your top priority every day of the week.
12. Reach out for help if you need it
While our tips for a great 2023 can be powerful tools for mental and physical wellness, they aren’t a substitute for mental health treatment for anyone suffering from a severe mental health disorder.
If your mental health is interfering with your daily life, it’s essential to reach out for help and find a licensed therapist who can support you step-by-step through the things you need to do to improve your mental health. This is the best gift you can give yourself as we start a brand new year.
As you begin working towards new goals and creating healthy mental health habits in 2023, remember to embrace and be proud of who you are and how far you have already come. You’re a survivor, so be sure to celebrate your successes, big and small, believe in yourself, and take it one day at a time.
If you’d like to find out how our Programs and therapies at White River Manor can help you improve your mental health in 2023, please get in touch today.