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Healthy Ways to Improve Your Mental Well-Being in 2018

Now that we’ve rung in 2018, it’s time to say goodbye to negativity from the previous year and refocus on setting healthy goals for the new year. We know it can be easy to neglect your own well-being because of other responsibilities you may prioritize—like family, friends and careers. This year, don’t overlook your mental health. Resolve to take steps toward a healthier, happier you in 2018.

Here are five ways to incorporate mental health into your resolutions this year:

  1. Practice self-acceptance. A common theme of New Year’s resolutions is to change some part of who we are, and too often those goals include changing our physical appearance in some way, whether it’s through weight loss, a new makeup routine or a new way of dressing. But focusing too much on the parts of ourselves we dislike can be toxic to our mental health. In 2018, pledge to practice self-acceptance by focusing on the parts of yourself that you love, and learning to love the parts of yourself you have struggled to accept.
  2. Blossom into a social butterfly! Get your social on. As humans, attachment begins in the womb and fosters our development all the way into adulthood. Forging close relationships makes us happier, healthier beings and is crucial to our well-being. Commit to a new group, event or activity you’ve never tried before. Join that weekend book club you’ve always wanted to go to!
  3. Work on your fitness. Exercise to improve your mental health, not just your physical health. You don’t have to push yourself to your limit to be fit. Getting even 10 more minutes of exercise a day will help ease stress, reduce anxiety and increase relaxation.
  4. Be more like Sleeping Beauty. Do you sleep enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to nine hours of rest per night. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to normal functioning, yet one third of Americans don’t get enough. Turning off electronics and putting away phone and television screens before bed is one way to achieve better sleep. If you regularly have trouble staying or falling asleep, you may want to consult a professional who can help with potential sleep disorders.
  5. Put yourself first. Too often, we put others’ needs before our own. This year, remember that self-care isn’t selfish. Have a clear vision in mind for yourself in 2018. Define your limits and hold steadfast. This may mean removing toxic people and unhealthy relationships from your life. And don’t forget to take the time to do something nice for yourself. Treat yourself to a movie, listen to your favorite song, enjoy a hot bath —whatever helps you relax, re-charge and flourish.

No matter what your resolutions are for the new year, remember that they don’t need to be set in stone. Listen to what your heart, mind and body are telling you that you need, and be flexible with your goals. Celebrate little milestones, like getting a good night’s sleep or taking 20 minutes out of a busy day for yourself. You can #BeTheDifference you want to see in your mental health this year.

To learn about more strategies for self-care and wellness, find a Mental Health First Aid course near you.

Happy New Year!