As 2023 is rapidly approaching, are you promising yourself that this year will be the year that you pay attention to and boost your mental health?
Sometimes, when life is ultra-busy, and you’re pulled in numerous directions, it can be challenging to prioritize your emotional and mental health. And yet, if you broke your leg or arm, you would ensure you did everything necessary to heal and recover.
Our bodies and minds work together, so the physical effects of poor mental health can adversely affect our bodies, bringing us low or stopping us in our tracks. Some common issues are recurring tension headaches, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and insomnia.
Rather than resort to medication to paper over the cracks, why not make 2023 the year you prioritize your mental health – to benefit your mind, body, and soul.
Here are ten proven tips to boost your mental health in 2023
1. Make time for yourself
When juggling family and work commitments, it can be challenging to carve out time for yourself. As the saying goes, ‘life gets in the way,’ and putting yourself first can be a struggle. It may seem selfish when you could be helping those that need you and quietly putting up with the stresses and strains of caring for others.
The problem is that, over time, this can lead to resentment and mental and physical health issues. There’s likely to come a time when you cannot help others since your health has suffered so much.
Avoid this by paying attention to your own self-care needs.
The human body is not a machine; it’s essential to step back and take some time to yourself, however you choose. Whether physically taking time away from people or carving out time to do things that you really enjoy.
Make time for yourself in 2023, and know that self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.
2. Avoid toxic people
Beware of that person who completely steamrollers you with their negativity and makes you feel bad about yourself. They may be subtle, but the effects of being in their company can be devastating, especially if you are exposed to them for prolonged periods.
A toxic person can hold you back and damage your mental health, whether they’re a friend, family member, or work colleague.
There are many warning signs to watch out for, but here are some of the most common ones:
- Disrespectful of your time and boundaries
- In constant need of attention
- Changing their beliefs to fit whomever they’re with
- Difficulty managing anger
- Never apologize.
The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate our relationships with others and identify who brings out the best in us – inspiring us, supporting our dreams, and helping us grow. These are the people you want to be around the most in 2023.
3. Physical environment – clear the clutter
Your physical environment can have a significant impact on your mental health, in particular, untidiness or clutter.
It could be a garage space filled with clutter, old things that no longer have a use, or no longer work but aren’t thrown away. A desk that is gradually being buried under paperwork or a closet bursting at the seams with garments that are never worn.
The same can apply to digital clutter stored on a laptop or computer without order.
Existing in a state of mess or clutter can lead to procrastination and overwhelm as you struggle against constant chaos and disorder.
Being in control of your environment and keeping on top of clutter can boost your mood and will have a calming effect on your mindset and mental health.
Sleep is fundamental to our health and well-being, and we all need to sleep well to wake refreshed with our bodies healed and recovered. Lack of sleep, especially over a long period, can be more severe than simply making us tired and irritable.
Sleep and mental health are closely related; to lack of sleep, poor sleep affecting mental health, and a mental health condition affecting the ability to sleep.
Establishing a regular and relaxing bedtime routine is the first step to getting the restful night’s sleep that your mind and body need.
Some tips include:
- Create a calm, cool, and dark environment to promote relaxation.
- Allow sufficient time to wind down from work or other stimulating activities, such as disengaging from social media or video games. The light from tablets and phones can have a negative effect on sleep.
- Avoid caffeine as it blocks sleep-promoting receptors.
- Establish regular times to go to bed and wake up.
5. Comparing yourself to others
Fellow humans have likely been comparing themselves to their neighbors and friends since the beginning of civilization.
Perhaps larger or more lethal spears, more members in a tribe, more animals, and as civilization has evolved, it continues. Only today, we don’t just compare ourselves to our immediate neighbors but to the world at large.
At the touch of a button, thanks to social media, we know what’s going on in our lives around the globe. We can step inside the intimate world of strangers. So, what impact can this have on our mental health?
While comparison can sometimes be inspirational, the negative effect can be severely damaging as the inevitable conclusion you arrive at is you’re not good enough.
Studies show that people who frequently compare themselves to others are more likely to feel anxiety, envy, regret, guilt, and defensiveness.
Once you compare yourself with someone you believe is better, happier, wealthier, more successful, etc., your confidence and self-esteem take a nosedive. It’s a recipe for unhappiness, bringing about feelings of inferiority and self-doubt.
Comparing yourself to others can be damaging to your overall mental health.
It’s unrealistic to imagine you’ll never compare yourself to anyone again. Still, by practicing gratitude and taking time to be aware of what you are grateful for in your world, you can help yourself to keep the feelings of self-doubt and inferiority at bay.
This leads us to the power of practicing gratitude to boost your mental health.
6. Practicing gratitude
By being grateful for the good things in our lives, we can counter negative thoughts, increasing optimism and overall happiness. Thanks to improved optimism, the brain produces two of the ‘happy hormones’ – dopamine and serotonin – creating a feeling of well-being.
Have you ever wondered why when you enjoy a chocolate bar, you want another immediately after? That’s down to dopamine release.
As you build on your ability to notice what you are grateful for (hence the term ‘practice’), you will be better equipped to strengthen your resilience and improve your mental health.
7. Learn how to say ‘no’ to save yourself from increased stress
Such a short word, and yet saying ‘no’ can be a tricky thing to do for some people who are wired to ‘people please’.
Why do we say yes when we want to say no? Because we would feel bad about disappointing someone, or letting them down, or we prefer to avoid confrontation.
The problem is, every time we say yes to someone else, we’re saying no to ourselves and not considering our own needs. Our self-esteem suffers, and then the feelings of resentment come.
Why is your time any less valuable than that of other persons?
It’s OK to say no.
You have the right to say no and not feel guilty.
If the very thought of it makes you feel uncomfortable, why not buy yourself some time to think? Instead of automatically saying yes, I suggest you check your schedule and get back with an answer.
That way, you don’t have to deal with confrontation or pressure. Instead, you can go back in your own time with your answer, for example, ‘this doesn’t work for me right now… I hope you can find someone else’.
Like everything, it gets easier with practice but being comfortable about saying no will go a long way to keeping stress and anxiety at bay in 2023.
8. Tame the tech monsters and take a break
Sometimes, it feels like machines rule our lives rather than the other way around.
How much time do we spend each day attached to a smartphone, laptop, tablet, kindle, gaming, or computer? Devouring the highs and the lows that are brought to us at the swipe of a screen or the push of a button.
Technology is a fantastic tool, but it can also be a curse with the constant ‘noise.’
Digging into the realms of the internet and social media can become an addiction. Just as the physical body needs rest, so does the brain from all the mind chatter caused by constantly engaging with technology.
How would you feel about giving up your phone for a day or even a few hours, with arrangements in place for an emergency with family, if necessary?
Instead of losing time, it’s about gaining time back.
The time that you spend away from technology allows your brain to recharge.
Instead of being absorbed by what’s on a screen, you can spend meaningful time – whether that’s with other people, enjoying company and conversation, or time for yourself.
As a helpful tip, plan what you’re going to do with your tech-free time to make the most of it and to stop yourself from reaching for your phone out of habit or boredom.
9. Make leisure time a priority and beat being busy
We live in a busy world, and some people need to be busy to feel they are achieving and proving their worth. But being busy that way can be symptomatic of a fear of missing out or needing to boost self-esteem by being validated; your busyness is a status symbol, making you feel necessary.
It could also be that you choose to be busy because you have forgotten how to relax and when you have time on your hands, it leads to anxiety. The problem is constantly being busy can become an addiction, leading to burnout from chronic stress and depression. It’s just not good for your mental health.
So, how can you step away from the need to be constantly busy in 2023?
We’ve already mentioned that it’s ok to say no and suggested you tame the tech monsters.
Along with these points, aim to increase your leisure time and benefit from doing the things you love – or just purely enjoy relaxation time.
Prioritizing and maintaining time for yourself is great for boosting your mental health and should be a top priority in 2023.
10. Get the help you need
If you are struggling with life and need emotional support, reach out and ask for help.
Awareness of the need for support is the first step to restoring and maintaining your mental health so you can feel better.
It’s important to know that you are not alone and help is there for you.
If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to a family member or friend, your Doctor is always there to listen and advise the best way forward for your recovery.
At Tikvah Recovery, we are here to help anyone who is struggling with their mental health to make sure they receive the care and support they deserve.
We also offer comprehensive dual-diagnosis treatment for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health.
Please do not delay in getting the help and healing you need. We are always available to listen, answer questions, and help you find the right treatment plan. Contact us today to learn more.