Every year millions of people set about making New Year’s resolutions to transform their physical selves, from couch to 5k to following the latest diet trend. But why?
Will a new formed physicality really transform your life, improve your confidence, change your behaviours or thinking? Sorry to disappoint, but probably not. It’s believed that only 8 % of people stick by their New Year’s Resolutions.
When it comes to revamping our health, people usually adopt all or nothing goals, which are usually based on unrealistic expectations of ourselves, setting you up for failure. Why not this year, instead of focusing on your outward self, commit to restoring your mental health? Mental health is central to every part of our life – so why neglect it?
Here are some ways you can have a mentally healthy 2018.
- Stay connected
Isn’t it funny how at Christmas we’re cramming our social calendars, trying to see relatives and far off friends that we only pigeon hole to once a year? Why not spread out seeing special ones throughout the year to remain socially connected?
Social isolation is a growing epidemic. Making new social connections improves mental health and being involved with a variety of social groups helps cope with stress and can reduce depression and anxiety.
- Stop dieting
Don’t fall into the cliché of a New Year’s diet. They categorically do not work. Fight the pressure and resist abiding by restrictive New Year’s plans, splashing out money on diets and pills and boring your friends with what you’ve eaten that day. I often hear my friends proclaim, “I’m losing weight for this occasion” or “when I reach this certain weight or body shape I will be able to achieve or feel this”. This is a cultural lie. A diet will not fix or cure what you’re hoping it to. Don’t avoid participating in life whilst waiting for your ideal body to arrive. Make 2018 your year of self-acceptance and self-love.
- Join a group
Whether it’s a dance or running group, get out there – make friends, rekindle an old passion or start up a new craft. Joining a group can also be a chance for you to spend time with others who think differently to you. Empathy, or the ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective is the foundation to becoming more open minded.
Whether that’s getting off the bus a few stops earlier, joining a park run or going to a Zumba class, exercise can radically improve your mental well-being and change your perspective. Exercise with the pursuit of remaining socially connected, and being part of a healthy lifestyle is far more achievable than doing it to improve appearances alone.
- Take a digital detox
This January, I decided to switch off from Facebook and Instagram. I’m a big fan of any type of social media. If used correctly, social media is amazing: helping us stay connected to friends, in the know with what’s happening around the world and enables us to share the best and worst parts of our lives. But it’s nothing new that social media can also be our biggest foe, leading us into depression, comparison, and self-hatred. Not only does social media affect our self-worth, it also affects the amount we sleep, and distracts us from being in the moment.
January brings new opportunities, but remember each day allows for a new beginning, and to make a reset. Make small, incremental life style change this year rather than big, unrealistic resolutions, they will have much greater chance of creating real change in your life.