As the New Year is upon us, you may already be carrying out some resolutions for this year, with the improvement of health probably being one of them. In fact, many people set new physical health goals when January rolls around in order to lose weight, eat healthier, or both. Of course, these types of goals are wonderful and ought to be carried out all year, but what about mental health? Do people set mental health goals?
As statistics show, few people usually give a thought about how to stay mentally fit, yet mental health has been touted as an important part of health. As a matter of fact, mental and physical fitness go hand in hand in giving you a sense of well-being. Therefore, it is imperative to pursue both this year, so that you can be at your best in mind and body.
Here are some great ways of improving your mental & physical health this year:
1. Adopt a Healthy Diet
It is common knowledge that a healthy, balanced diet is important for physical health. Adopting a healthy diet can aid in improving the immune system’s ability to protect the body against a variety of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, as well as cardiovascular diseases. Adhering to a healthy diet is also essential for sound mental health. Research has shown that the brain requires a blend of nutrients for optimal functioning and also to stay healthy. A diet that incorporates plant based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds is considered very healthy. Known as the Mediterranean diet, this diet entails a minimal consumption of animal products such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy products. It is advisable to take a generous portion of fruits and vegetables every day for good physical and mental health. Foods and drinks that contain caffeine, artificial additives, and sugar should be avoided. Alcohol consumption should also be limited.
2. Engage in Regular Exercise
Regular physical activity is important for the overall health of the body, including mental health. It is advisable to engage in around 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to five times per week. Instead of opting for boring treadmill sessions, think about getting out into nature, as nature walks have been found to enhance good mental health. Taking a simple nature walk can be an excellent stress reliever and help you develop a wonderful appreciation of natural beauty.
3. Sleep Well
Lack of sleep is known to be one of the leading causes of mental problems. Even the mildest sleep problems can adversely affect your mental health. It is advisable to go to bed and wake up at the same time each morning and evening and shoot for about eight hours of sleep. Developing this routine should improve your sleep-wake cycle, and even adding a light sleep aid may help some people as well. Adopting a practice such as taking a bath or reading a book can improve sleep because they serve as indicators to tell the body when it is time to take a rest. Creating a conducive sleep environment is also important.
4. Take Up a Hobby
The Mental Health Foundation vouches for taking up a hobby as a way of promoting excellent mental health. Choosing a hobby like gardening or painting is a sure way of improving your mood. Humans are innately social beings, so interacting with other people while doing a hobby is very rewarding and can enhance mental health, too. Additionally, build yourself a support network with close friends for those days when you are low and to always have someone to do things with.
5. Adopt a Stress-Free Lifestyle
Relationships, finances, or even work problems can really stress us out. Stress can adversely affect mental health, as it is known to increase the brain’s vulnerability to mental problems. We can adopt a stress free lifestyle by engaging in practices such as yoga, meditation, and/or prayer. Other methods of living a stress-free lifestyle include regular exercise, quality sleep, and adopting a healthy diet.
Make this year your best year yet when it comes to overall mental and physical health. Become consistent with your goals and if need be, make yourself accountable to someone else. Many people join up with others when it comes to goals so that they are more inclined to follow through. Start a Facebook Group and invite those to it that want to stay mentally and physically fit this year. Then you can be accountable and encourage each other often and indeed, have a wonderful year!
Featured Guest Blogger:
Dominica Applegate is dedicated to the art of self-discovery and creative expression. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked in the mental health field for 12 years before starting her own business. A sought-after author and freelance writer, her work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck and unleashing massive happiness and potential.