The start of the New Year is notorious for lofty resolutions and hard-to-keep promises. With many workforces, schools and communities still mid-pandemic, the importance of prioritizing mental health and finding healthy goals that fit into your lifestyle and personality is a must for all of us.
Over the last two years, Covid-19 has disrupted normalcy and left many people with unpredictable and difficult to manage lifestyles caused by abrupt changes in employment and travel as well as constant fluctuation in school and work routines. The continual negative impact of the pandemic on daily life has increased the presence of stress, anxiety and depression in Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans already live with a mental health issue. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that more than 42% of people surveyed reported symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression – an 11% increase from the previous year’s survey.
Prioritizing mental health can be a challenge, but with the right tools in place maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be easy to implement and incredibly rewarding. In some instances, it is necessary to consult a professional health coach or doctor when handling severe symptoms of mental health conditions.
Preventative self-care is key when managing mental health. Here are several ways you can engage in self-care practices that directly impact mental health in a positive way:
- Prioritize exercise in any capacity
- Set a food routine instead of a diet
- Use mental health resources available through work or school
- Work with a healthcare provider you trust
- Build a daily routine
- Schedule YOU time (hobbies, sports, relaxation)
Research shows that starting small and slowly increasing your intensity towards any goal leads to a more consistent and achievable outcome. There is no “right” way to take care of yourself. The key is to find what works for you and your lifestyle and to seek professional support from nutrition or health coaches, mental health counselors, and doctors when needed.
Click here to read the article I wrote for the American Bar Association for more expansion on mental health for more helpful tips.