Steps To Make Your Mental Health A Priority In 2023

Research suggests that around 50% of US adults will experience symptoms of a mental health disorder in their lifetime. Mental health issues are becoming increasingly prevalent. At the start of the year, many people embark upon a mission to improve their health. If you're eager to boost mental well-being, here are some steps to make your mental health a priority in 2023.

Identify stressors
Most of us experience stress. We can usually cope with mild stress, but minor symptoms can spiral into more severe signs, which impact both mental and physical health. Try to identify stressors and sources of anxiety and upset and reduce exposure. Avoid triggers where possible and try to protect yourself. If you're having trouble at work, for example, and you've got too much on, talk to your boss. If you find that checking emails or scrolling through social media at night makes you anxious, set a deadline and turn your phone off. If hanging out with certain people makes you feel sad, angry or on edge, spend less time with them.

Get enough sleep
A lack of sleep is one of the most common causes of stress and it can also impact your mood, energy levels and relationships, as well as your physical health and immunity. Ensure that you get enough rest. Experts recommend around seven hours of sleep per night for adults. Establish a routine and stick to it. Use your evenings to relax and unwind, avoid caffeine and any activities that energize or stimulate you, and create a serene sleeping environment. Block out light and noise, declutter, use calming colors and soft lighting and resist the temptation to take phones and tablets into your bedroom. If you start going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, you should find that your body clock adjusts and you feel fresher and more alert in the mornings.

Talking isn't a magical remedy for mental health disorders or a cure for sadness, but it can have a positive effect. If you speak to a friend or relative about how you feel or you seek advice from a therapist or a mental health counselor, it can help you to process and manage your emotions, develop coping strategies and identify and avoid triggers. Talking to others can also help you to realize that you're not alone and it can provide support and reassurance. Most people can benefit from speaking to a therapist or a trusted friend, but it's particularly important to reach out if you're experiencing symptoms such as prolonged spells of feeling low, questioning your value and worth or feeling anxious in scenarios in which you would usually feel comfortable and relaxed.

Increase your activity levels
At this time of year, it's very common to start new training regimes and set exercise goals. Many people choose to be more active to lose extra pounds or get in shape after the holidays. Working out can help you to lose weight but it offers a raft of other benefits. Physical activity is proven to lower stress levels and aid sleep and it can also provide an outlet for emotional upheaval or upset. If you're angry, frustrated, exhausted or restless, for example, playing sports or doing a workout can help you to channel your emotions constructively. Activities like yoga, swimming and walking can induce calm and relaxation while boxing, running, spinning, dancing and playing fast-paced team sports can burn energy and offer a release.

If you're not an active person, try to increase the amount of exercise you do gradually. Start going for a walk every day, join beginner's classes or work with a personal trainer. You could also exercise at home by streaming workouts or using DVDs or link up with friends and family members to go on bike rides, do classes or play sports. Using an activity tracker is a great way to monitor progress and motivate yourself to do more. If you start at 3,000 steps per day, for example, why not set yourself a target of 5,000? You can then move the number as you get fitter.

Devote more time to things that make you happy
Have you ever thought about what really makes you happy? Many of us are so busy that we don't have enough time to have fun, socialize and indulge interests and hobbies that bring us joy. Focus on what brings you happiness and contentment and devote more time and energy to your well-being. Perhaps you love cooking or playing sports, you enjoy traveling, or you feel happiest when you're curled up having a lazy Sunday with your family or your pets, for example.

It's the start of a new year, and what better time to be proactive in boosting your mental health? If you're on a mission to be happy and healthy in 2023, take these tips on board. Make sure you get enough sleep, identify triggers and sources of stress and anxiety, exercise regularly, talk and seek advice and devote more time to things or people that make you feel happy.

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