Happy New Year!! Hope everyone is having a lovely time and if you’re not, ah well its soon all over for another 12 months.
After 2 weeks of stressful merry making how many of us will wake up on January 2nd and said, “new year, new me!”?
I have always found new year to be a bit of an anti-climax, the bell tolls midnight and…everything is the same. The promise of a new year is exciting until you realise it’s the same old shite and a deluded cliché.
We are then bombarded with the endless clickbait “10 ways to lose weight forever.” And “How make this your year”, blah blah blah. I am no stranger to talking about mental health and I say this is a toxic, forget New year, new you- lets try something different shall we, “NEW YEAR, NEW VIEW”
Every new year we set about making New Year’s resolutions that fail because they are unrealistic. Usually they’re related to our physical health: going on a diet (lose 10 stone), joining a gym (look like a Victoria secrets model in 2 weeks) or drinking less (I’m only having one…). But what about our mental health? – we can make small changes to our thinking that can have massive impacts on our happiness and mental wellbeing.
First off, stop dieting!!!
January 2nd hits and we exchange the Quality sweets for cardboard, jumping face first into a strict prohibitive diet plan. There is actual science out there that tells us these “diets” don’t work and you are more likely to PUT ON weight making you feel awful about yourself.
Poor body image has people feeling depressed, anxious and avoid all the fun things in life due to them hating on themselves – self hating doesn’t make us lose weight, but it defiantly makes us mentally ill.
If your goal is mental (or physical health), stop focusing on trying to be thin, and instead work on self-acceptance. If you can’t look in the mirror and love what you see, try and start small. Respect it and all the amazing things it can do. It can selfheal, it can grow a human and it allows to walk, breath, talk…I could go on and on because our bodies are BLOODY FANTASTIC!! So, lets not wait to have the “perfect” body before we start living our hashtag best life because you deserve this one!
Eat your vegetable!
Its simple, one little tiny change to your eating. If we eat good food, we feel good.
I’m not saying to ditch all the junk and go vegan (unless that’s what you want) but if you eat chips with every meal why not have boiled potatoes one night with a side of broccoli?
Takeaway all weekend? Maybe save it to once a month and try cooking from scratch at the weekend when we have more free time. Nutritional improvements over time (a balance of vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins) can improve your mental health and quality of life.
Make a friend
OK, this is one that I’m aiming for as I am very good at disappearing into my little bubble and before I know it its been a month before I have seen anyone other than my family and co-workers.
Isolating yourself is a bigger killer than diet and exercise, being social has an amazing affect to your mental health, releasing all those happy hormones that give us the buzzy fussy feeling inside. Joining a new hobby group like maybe a book club has been linked to reducing stress and depression. It also adds a sense of propose to our life and that really is a wonderful feeling.
If you have a dog, start going to your local dog park. If you like board or card games, why not see if there is a group of people who get together to play near you?
We like to move it, move it!
Exercise! I know, I can hear you all groan but just going for a 30-minute walk in nature classes as exercise and I am also partial to a unexpected kitchen disco with the kids while a make dinner, this is also exercise.
It doesn’t have to be something structured, just move more. Get off the bus a few stops before you need too. Take the stairs if you’re only going up one floor, stretch, dance do what every you like. Again, those feel good hormones flood into our brain after a littler movement, Exercise is one of the most effective ways of reducing depression or anxiety, improving sexual function, and maintaining cognitive function. Exercise that improves your mood is easier to continue doing than exercise done with the goal of improving appearance.
Get Aff your Phone!
How often do you find yourself saying “I can’t find the time” but can easily lose 2 hours scrolling through strangers on the internet? I’m not saying throw the thing in the bin, I too love a little escapism on social media but being on your little screens can lead to poor sleep, and also the FOMO – the fear of missing out. We can get depressed looking at those people online thinking they have it all together, they don’t BTW. So, use your phone to have fun but put it down occasionally.
And finally, it most important one!
If you’re not coping, go talk to someone. We are very good at thinking it in a little time thinks will change but often it gets worse. The truth is we all need a little help from time to time and there is no shame in asking for it, going to your doctor makes you a smart, brave and strong person taking charge of your own life.
Trying to think kindly about myself has revolutionised things in terms of my mental health. If I catch myself being hypercritical, I remember that I wouldn’t dream of using those words about a friend, or even an enemy. And if I do something well, I try to appreciate and praise myself, even if I’m quietly muttering ‘great job!’ for remembering to put tissues in my handbag.