The New Year is often a time for self-improvement and a source of renewed motivation and inspiration. As a therapist, I love the energy that comes with a New Year; the positivity, the hopefulness and the resiliency people feel on January 1st is truly inspiring. New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on physical health, and mental health is often forgotten about for many reasons. The goals related to improving physical health are easier to envision, success can be quantifiably measured and there are more resources available to provide a sense of direction and action steps for improving physical health.
Mental health greatly impacts physical well-being and it is surprising that the two are not combined more often. This New Year, I hope you consider setting a few goals related to mental health. Some examples are listed below to help get you started!
- Improve my relationship with food: ever wonder why diets are so hard? Many diets approach food with a negative mindset and train us to view food as the source of all our problems. This mindset makes it very difficult to follow through with a diet long-term. We need food to survive, so shouldn’t we find a way to eat healthy and enjoy it? This starts with changing your relationship with food. Approach your meals with a sense of gratitude and awareness of the nourishment it provides. Educate yourself on the benefits of certain foods and notice how each meal makes you feel. For example, what foods give you energy? Food is a source of comfort, nourishes us, provides energy and brings people together.
- Love my body: Many resolutions focus on the negatives of our physical selves and everything we want to fix. This approach can lead to poor self-esteem, depression, self-harm, lowered self-confidence and feelings of shame. It is ok to have goals related to improving your physical self, but balance this with recognizing the things you do like about your body. Think about all your body does for you that are often take for granted and express gratitude for it.
- Life balance: our physical health is impacted by balance in many ways. A lack of balance leads to high levels of stress, neglecting exercise, poor sleep, feelings of loneliness or isolation, and a lack of meaning or purpose in life. Balance can be achieved by spending time in all areas of life. This can include work, family, spirituality, community, friends, exercise and hobbies. On average, most people spend all their time in one or two areas of life and neglect the others. This New Year, spend time thinking about how you can achieve balance in your life.
Many people are intimidated by the word mental health, but when it is broken down it becomes clear how much mental health impacts physical health. This blog post gives you a few examples of how mental health can be worked on alongside physical health in very tangible ways. This New Year strive to make your mental health a priority and notice the positive impact this creates. Happy New Year from all of us at Accepting Therapy.