As the new year comes around, new challenges may come up in our lives that can impact our mental health.
January can be hard-The Monday of the year, so to say. This is particularly true at Uni where it can be a difficult month. Exams are looming and a lot of us leave our families once again to return to Uni so It can be lonely for many.
Here are some ways to look after your mental health in the new year.
Having events and other plans to look forward to can help with motivation. A study in 2020 suggested that planning ahead can help with low mood by stopping feelings of uncertainty.
Shevaun Neupert, a professor of psychology at NC State said: “a combination of proactive coping and high mindfulness results in study participants of all ages being more resilient against daily stressors,” Something as small as meeting a friend for a coffee to look forward to can be helpful to add enjoyment and focus to our day.
Eat well and hydrate
Looking after yourself physically can help your mental health as well. Making sure that we are drinking enough water and eating nutritious food can improve the way that we feel significantly. A poor diet has been said to make us feel more tired, have a slow reaction time and negatively affect decision making.
Studies have shown that exercise and movement can improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative mood and improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Even going outside for a short walk can begin to boost serotonin levels. As well as being beneficial for many mental illnesses, adding more movement can also help with better sleep, higher resilience to life challenges and will give you more energy.
Talk to friends
Talking through your problems with loved ones can make you feel much less alone. There is no obligation to tell friends how you are feeling, but it might help if you are comfortable with them. Letting somebody know how you are feeling can help to lift the burden and make you feel more supported. Sharing your experiences might also be helpful for them and what they might be going through.
Write it down
If you don’t feel like talking to friends or family, writing how you feel down on paper can really help. Journaling can help to improve your mood by prioritizing problems and fears. Tracking symptoms and feelings day to day can also help you to recognise triggers and help to control them. Sometimes, writing a to-do list can be helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed with work.
Reach out for help
Universities have mental health services with different options such as cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and more.