Setting mental health goals for the new year, hosted by Wellin5, online counselling across Canada

Setting New Year’s resolutions for better mental health

After a busy festive period, the new year can be an excellent time to reflect on the year you had. And, decide what you want to make of the year ahead. Many people take this time to set resolutions they would like to achieve throughout the year. There are the popular ones like joining a gym or learning how to cook. But it’s important to consider your mental health in the new year, too.

Mental health is just as important as your physical health, and the festive period can put a lot of strain on your mental well-being. That’s why the start of a new year is the best time to set resolutions on bettering your mental health and your health altogether. Below, we have outlined 5 new year resolutions you can set to improve your mental health in the new year. Discover how to work on your own mental health for the new year with these 6 resolutions. 

1. Make social connections

When it comes to the new year and mental health, many overlook the importance of connection. The holidays can be lonely, especially if your thoughts make you want to isolate and avoid socializing. Try to make it a priority to form and keep social connections for your mental health in the new year. Talking to friends and families and creating a connection can help alleviate the strain isolation puts on our mental health. You don’t have to upkeep countless relationships — just a few close loved ones are enough to feel the benefits. 

Tips for connecting with others: 

  • Call a friend or a family member and arrange to meet, even if it is for a brief time. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant outing. Even running errands together or exercising together is an excellent way to catch up.
  • If you feel like you have no one to turn to, it’s okay to be the one who breaks the ice or makes the first move. Reconnect with an old friend or coworker and ask them out for lunch or coffee.
  • Join a social group that meets regularly, like a book club, where you will be able to connect with people based on your hobbies and meet people with common interests.

2. Take care of your physical health

Taking care of your physical health has many benefits that can positively affect your mental health in the new year. As research suggests, Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes or TLCs can be just as effective as psychotherapy. Consider incorporating these Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes to improve your mental health in 2023:

Exercise regularly 

Exercising regularly produces the ‘happy chemicals,’ or endorphins, in the brain that improve overall mood and sense of well-being. Going for a walk or taking up a sport are effective ways to improve your mental health in the new year. Joining a team sport can also be a great way to make new friends, making it easier to form social connections. 

Nourish your body

We’ve all been urged to finish our greens and eat more vegetables for our physical health, but eating well also positively influences our mental health. Research states that about 95% of our serotonin is produced in our gastrointestinal tract, which is directly influenced by what we eat. Those who follow diets that are high in vegetables, fruits, and seafood are said to have a lower risk of developing depression by 25-35%. Setting a resolution to eat more healthy foods is a great start. But it’s also essential to remind yourself that change doesn’t happen overnight, and even making a slight change in your diet and eating habits can lead to healthier habits throughout the year.

Take time to rest

Getting good sleep and rest is essential for your cognitive function and mental health in the new year. Although it may be hard to find the time to get the suggested 7-8 hours of sleeping time, there are some things you can do to help your body and brain relax:

  • Make it a habit to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to set a consistent sleeping schedule.
  • Avoid looking at a screen before you go to bed, as it can disrupt the quality of your sleep. Avoid using devices like your phone, tv, or e-reader 30-60 minutes before your bedtime.

3. Fit in time for self-care

Practicing self-care can mean different things to different people. You can read a book, journal, clean your space, listen to music or move your body. Anything that makes you feel good counts! Set some time aside every day, week, or couple of weeks to engage in activities that can lower your anxiety and stress. 

4. Take a break from social media

In the day and age where social media has woven into our daily lives, it can be beneficial to take a step back every once in a while. Even though social media has made it easier to connect with our friends and families, it can also harm mental health. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram can increase stress and anxiety levels. In turn, they can potentially causing more harm than good in those who struggle with their mental well-being. Taking social media breaks is an effective way to take care of your mental health in 2023. 

5. Avoid alcohol and other drugs

The holidays are surrounded by celebrations that often involve indulging in a few too many glasses of wine. Being a depressant, alcohol has been associated with general anxiety and major depressive disorder. It can cause low moods, aggressive behaviours, and irritability. That is why setting a new year’s resolution to avoid consuming alcohol can be beneficial and can help you improve your mental health.

6. Get help when you need it

Leaning on friends and family for support can be a great way to lift some weight off your shoulders. But speaking with a professional can help you set, and stick to, a plan to better your mental health. A mental health professional will help you develop tools and strategies to treat your symptoms. They can even help you reach your new year’s resolutions. Setting resolutions is a great way to start your healing. But it can sometimes negatively impact your mental health if you slip up or can’t fulfil a resolution. Talking with a professional will help you recover from these bumps in the road. A counsellor will help you adjust your goals to better fit your lifestyle. 

And finally, make sure to be kind to yourself in the coming year. Setting resolutions for the new year is not about being perfect; it’s about being consistent and showing up for yourself. Make it a resolution to go easy on yourself. And if you find a resolution to be difficult at times, take a day off or forgive yourself when you slip up. Goal setting can be a powerful tool for self-improvement, and new years resolutions are a great way to start the new year. Get matched with a professional who can help you in 2023. Discover easy online counselling for all Canadians.