7 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

We all make New Year’s resolutions, whether it’s to hit the gym and get fit, eat more salads, learn a new language, or finally organize that junk drawer.

This year, consider resolving to improve your mental health, as part of your overall well-being. Read on for some every day tips to help you feel like your best you:

  1. Find a hobby that makes you feel good. Find something that relaxes you, fulfills you, or just plain makes you happy, whether it’s knitting a scarf, hitting a boot camp class, or baking cupcakes. (No need to try to impress people or add to your resume! Do what makes you happy.)
  2. Practice self-kindness. We all have negative thoughts about ourselves, but only you can identify those thoughts and realize that they’re not true. Consciously replace negative thoughts with self-kindness: remind yourself of things you’re great at, or how you’ve helped someone out recently. Step back and take time for yourself. Remove the toxic relationships from your life. Meditate, and practice mindfulness.
  3. Kick the social media addiction. Focus on real life, not the happiest selves we – and just about everyone else - tends to broadcast across social media. Put your phone down. Engage with those around you. It will help.
  4. Learn how to say NO. Do the activities you WANT to do, not what others expect of you. You’ll streamline your commitments and feel good about how you’re spending your time.
  5. Take care of your physical health. When you make your physical health a priority through nutritious food, lots of water, more sleep, and regular exercise, you’ll be giving your mental health a boost, too.
  6. Give back. Giving money is wonderful, but you don’t need to donate money to help others. Give the gift of your time and volunteer; you’ll help someone in need, meet new people, and feel good. Or, simply pick up the phone and call someone you know may be struggling. A little can sometimes go a long way.
  7. Seek help when you need it. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength. Not sure where to turn for help? Start here.

What resolutions have you made to work on your mental health this year?

Kristina Schiller is the digital marketing specialist at Sheppard Pratt Health System. She holds a B.A. in psychology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and a M.S. in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.