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Countdown to the New Year: 10 Ways to Ring in Your Mental Health

People holding sparklers

As the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, let’s lift our mental health! With 29% of people having expected to make a mental health-related New Year’s resolution for 2023, you’re bound to be in good company. It’s the goal that can #BeTheDifference for you and your community.

Forbes reported that the top resolutions people make are improving mental health (45%), improving fitness (39%), losing weight (37%), improving diet (33%) and improving finances (30%). Whatever goal you choose, it ultimately plays a role in your mental wellness. Even if you decide not to make a resolution, that’s ok (and understandable), too!

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has brainstormed 10 ways you can focus on your mental health in the coming year. Some are tangible actions while some are more philosophical. Whether you pick one, a few or all, you’re taking a step toward fostering your overall wellbeing.

  1. Be sober curious. For some, drinking alcohol lowers inhibitions and temporarily numbs unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings. However, alcohol only masks problems. Prolonged usage can develop into alcohol use disorder, as well as heighten depression and anxiety. Limit alcohol or consider taking steps toward sobriety.
  2. Get moving. As reported in Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, physical activity greatly improves short- and long-term brain health. A single session – such as going for a walk or hitting the gym – can reduce short-term anxiety and improve sleep and some aspects of cognitive function. Long-term, regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety; boost executive functions, like organizing, controlling emotions and planning; and improve the quality of deep sleep.
  3. Make a reading goal. Studies show reading plays a role in reducing stress, improves the capacity to understand and empathize, and allows readers the opportunity to connect and relate to others with similar experiences.
  4. Take a break from social media. A growing number of studies are showing the harmful repercussions of social media on mental health. And, in 2023, the surgeon general issued an advisory about the effects on youth mental health. Consider setting time limits for social media usage, taking “vacations” from platforms or closing your accounts.
  5. Be kind to yourself. Self-acceptance and grace go a long way for your mental health. Write down daily affirmations. Reflect on things you’re proud of. Forgive yourself for mistakes.
  6. Get involved in the community. Interacting with people in your area builds comradery, trust and mutual feelings of joy. Whether you join a local club, or volunteer at an animal shelter, soup kitchen or other organization, giving back can better mental health.
  7. Take time to experience a change of scenery, whether in your own neighborhood and city, or on a grander scale like the country or globe.
  8. Seek therapy. Talking to a therapist, counselor or other professional is a healthy way to address your mental wellbeing and substance use challenges.
  9. Become a MHFA First Aider. Find a course near you to get certified as a MHFA First Aider. The course will teach you how to recognize and respond to people who may be experiencing mental health and substance use challenges.
  10. Become a MHFA Instructor. Already a First Aider? #BeTheDifference to more people by becoming an Instructor. Lead classes and equip others with the skills for navigating conversations surrounding mental wellbeing.

It’s easy to push your mental health needs off to the side. Make yourself a priority in the new year with these 10 ways to take care of your mind and body.


Alcohol Rehab Guide. (n.d.). Alcohol and depression.

American Psychiatric Association. (2023, January). American’s top 5 mental health-related New Year’s resolutions for 2023: Can apps help us keep them?

Davis, S. (2023, March). New Year’s resolutions statistics 2023. Forbes Health.

Mental Health First Aid. (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA. National Council for Behavioral Health d/b/a National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Why reading is good for mental health.

Sheppard, S. (2023, August 19). What does it mean to be sober curious? Verywell Mind.

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