Have you been feeling a bit more stressed than usual lately? You are not alone. Stress and anxiety are rising globally as the world seemingly deals with one catastrophe after another. That can take a significant toll on overall mental health, which eventually impacts your physical health, too. So instead of letting things overwhelm you, try using these tips to stay mentally fit this year.
1. Set Your Priorities
This is an essential first step toward a healthier mental state. By establishing and recording your priorities, you create a guidebook for future decisions. Use it to help determine if something is worth your time, effort, and energy. This can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed.
2. Make Time for What Matters Most
Once you establish what is and isn’t important to you, turn your focus and energy to meeting the higher priority items. That doesn’t mean neglecting less important tasks, but rather that you should stop ignoring the things that matter most.
Check those high-priority things off your to-do list to avoid regret don’t the road. If the past couple of years have taught people anything, it is probably that you never know what the future brings. So, for example, if northern Europe cruises have been on your bucket list for years, now may be a good time to check that item off.
3. Take a Tai Chi Class
Mindfulness and meditation \have gotten a lot of press lately when it comes to improving emotional wellbeing. One way to incorporate meditation into your life is through the regular practice of tai chi. This ancient martial art combines gentle, flowing movements with increased self-awareness. It has been well-researched and shown to help support mental health. Since it also serves as a form of exercise, it is also a relaxing and enjoyable way to up your physical activity levels.
4. Try Adult Coloring
Another enjoyable activity that many people have found relaxing is adult coloring. It offers several benefits that support emotional balance by encouraging creativity and focus while also offering a hint of nostalgia.
5. Spend Time Outside
Nature has an amazing ability to heal and refresh the human body and spirit. Perhaps the best part of the concept is that you don’t need to immerse yourself in a deep forest, simply sitting on a park bench or in your garden provides enough exposure to nature to have positive benefits. That’s right, simply walking out your door can help improve your emotional state.
6. Meet Up With Friends
Social support is vital to a healthy emotional state. For many people that support has been in short supply for the past couple of years. Fix the situation by arranging to meet a few friends for lunch or coffee. Catch up on what has been going on and commit to meeting up regularly in the future as a means of support.
7. Hit the Gym
The positive mental health benefits of exercise have been well-researched and documented, so this one should not come as a surprise. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to actually get up and start moving. Try a few of these strategies that encourage exercise compliance:
- Set a realistic schedule
- Share your plans with others
- Find a workout partner
- Do activities that you enjoy
8. Unplug for a Day
If you are like most people, you are nearly constantly connected to electronics. Between email, texts, and social media, it is hard to escape for some solitude. Unfortunately, that can have serious negative consequences. Commit to unplugging for a day to see if it impacts your outlook. If you find yourself less stressed and more focused, try to make it a regular habit.
9. Put on a Happy Face
The simple act of smiling can improve your mood. The muscle movements trigger the release of chemicals that signal happiness. So, when you really just can’t muster anything else, put on a smile to face the world.
While you can’t avoid stress and anxiety altogether. you can take steps to minimize their impact on your mental health. Use strategies like smiling, exercising, and spending time outside to boost emotional health.