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Prioritise your mental health

  • Prioritise Your Mental Health in 2021 with These Simple Tips

    The holiday season can be a respite from our busy everyday lives but in 2021 we find ourselves

    welcoming the new year with a little less pomp and circumstance than years prior. Getting back

    into your routine after the holidays is difficult enough, but with the country in total lockdown

    there’s nothing “normal” about this new year. At least not yet.

    Whether you have a history of struggling with mental health issues or concerns like anxiety and

    depression are a new challenge you find yourself navigating, you’re not alone. As common as

    mental health concerns are, however, the topic is still somewhat taboo, and studies show men

    are less likely to seek treatment than women.[1] But don’t despair, there are simple things you

    can do to improve your mental health now and to protect it for the future.

    Read on to learn how to prioritize your mental health in 2021 for a healthier, happier new year.

    1. Cultivate and maintain healthy relationships.

    Now that everyone is staying home, it’s easy to feel isolated. Though you may not be able to

    physically spend time with your friends, you can still reach out to stay connected. Studies show

    that people who are more socially engaged are generally happier, so make an effort to stay in

    touch with friends and family via phone, text, email, or video chat.[2] A few minutes can make all

    the difference.

    2. Make mindfulness meditation a new habit.

    Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on your thoughts and feelings,

    experiencing them without interpretation or judgment. It’s a great way to relax and process your

    stress and struggles without letting them affect your mental state. It’s easy to get started with

    mindfulness – simply look for an online video or a smartphone app to guide you through it.

    3. Include exercise in your weekly routine.

    When you’re feeling down, the last thing you want to do is exercise but that may be just what

    you need. Exercise has been shown to improve mental health by boosting mood, improving

    cognitive function, and even overcoming symptoms of anxiety.[3] Build an at-home workout plan

    for yourself or try an online fitness class. You can make your workouts as simple or intense as

    you like.

    4. Try to moderate social media consumption.

    In a time when we’re all feeling a little isolated, social media helps bring us together. As

    wonderful as it is to be able to keep up with the details of the daily lives of others online,

    spending too much time on social media can drain your energy and strain your mental health.

    Practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life and recognize when social media is triggering your

    anxiety or affecting your mental state. Try to set a daily limit for how much time you spend on

    social media or do a full digital detox for 24 hours.

    5. Get help when you need it.

  • We could all use a helping hand from time to time and there’s no shame in seeking it out.

    Whether you’re struggling to deal with depression or looking for ways to overcome anxiety,

    there are people and resources available to help you. Reach out to a trusted friend or family

    member to ask for support or find a counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist who can help you.

    Your mental health should always be a priority – it’s something you need to be willing to fight

    for.

    If your resolution for the new year doesn’t include mental health, now’s the time to change that!

    With little else going on, you have no excuse to prevent you from prioritizing yourself and your

    mental health. Follow some of these simple tips to get started!

  • [1] Men and mental health. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/index.shtml

    [2] Happiness and social interaction. (September 2018). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ulterior-motives/201809/happiness-and-social-interaction

    [3] Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F.D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Prim care companion j clin psychiatry, 8(2): 106. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/

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