Your mental wellness affects all aspects of your daily life, from dealing with stress to how you relate and respond to others. While many New Year’s resolutions include physical fitness goals, mental health is often overlooked, but with a bit of self-care, you can maintain your emotional, psychological and social well-being. Consider some of the following mental health tips for 2023.

If you or a loved one’s interested in long-term mental heath treatment click that “contact us today” button

Now to Mental Health tips…

Write in a Journal

Journaling helps improve your mental health by letting you reflect on past events to see how well you faced problems and events in your life. Writing your thoughts and feelings down in a journal frees up space in your mind and can make it easier to face your fears. Structure your journal in one of many ways, including drawing pictures, writing down everything you’re thankful for each day, writing unsent letters to people who hurt you or writing about people who inspire you. The goal is to gain insight into who you are and what you want to be.

Get Adequate Sleep

According to the Sleep Foundation, poor sleep habits contribute to declining mental health. Studies have shown the average adult should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for maximum physical and mental health benefits. Doing this allows the body time to go through the normal stages of sleep and gives it adequate time to repair and reset itself each night. There are several things you can do to improve your sleep habits:

  • Maintain a sleep schedule.
  • Spend time winding down before bedtime by reading or relaxing.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants late in the evening.
  • Exercise throughout the day.
  • Choose a comfortable mattress and bedding.
  • Put away electronics while in bed.
  • Learn to sleep in a dark room.
Young man journaling to help with his mental health

Spend Quiet Time Meditating

Another way to better mental health is through daily meditation and self-reflection. Through meditation, you focus your mind on relaxation and inner peace, which can help you manage negative emotions like fear, low self-esteem and anger in your everyday life.

Alta Loma’s leading Behavior Analyst, Meghan Landry, recommends, “In the new year, try noticing more. When we run away from a problem, it only increases the distance from the solution; the problem doesn’t go away. When you feel uncomfortable, try practicing a mindfulness activity, whether guided or on your own. Start with 1 minute, notice the emotion you’re feeling, try to name it and let your thoughts flow without trying to grab onto them or change them. Just let them exist and practice noticing them. My favorite guided mindfulness activity is ‘Leaves on a Stream.'”

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated can reduce anxiety, improve your mood throughout the day and positively impact your mental health. The average adult should drink 48 to 64 ounces of water per day. The exact amount depends on your climate and how active you are and can also depend on how many fruits and vegetables you get in your diet.  

Man sits on a cliff above the sea and watching the sunset. Warm evening on the Texas Coast

Focus on Nutrition

Nutrition plays a vital role in both your physical health and mental well-being. Eating foods high in nutrition encourages the growth of good bacteria in the stomach. These bacteria are responsible for producing serotonin and dopamine, which directly affect our moods. Choose whole foods or those with few ingredients, and avoid highly processed items like lunch meat and snacks. Eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens and beans, and reach for fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi, which are high in natural probiotics.

Exercise Daily

Physical activity releases endorphins and relieves stress, making you feel better and improving your mood. Try to aim for at least 5,000 steps per day or at least 2 miles. Break it down into smaller, more manageable amounts throughout the day. At Alta Loma, we incorporate recreation and fitness into our daily habits as part of the treatment process.

How are these tips resinating with you? Do you need more than tips? Do you need long-term mental health treatment?

Alta Loma is Texas’ leading men’s-focused program

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and loved ones in person if you’re struggling with sadness and depression. Sometimes just speaking to someone about what you’re going through is enough to help. 

Hannah Unruh, Alta Loma‘s lead therapist, suggests, “If you are struggling with your mental health, know that you are not alone. As many as 1 in 5 Americans will struggle with mental health issues. Please do not stay silent — the best way to support yourself is to ask for help.”

Find Time for Hobbies

Activities you love and enjoy are a great way to take a break from your daily routine and improve your mental health. These hobbies help lower stress and improve your overall mood, including gaming, reading a book, running, painting and gardening. Explore new hobbies by taking a class or joining a group at your local community center. Setting aside time each week for your social life and the things you enjoy doing is important.

Asking for health as a falling off the cliff metaphor describes mental health

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Laughter is, in fact, the best medicine. It’s harder to feel sadness and depression when you learn to laugh at yourself. Do this by focusing on your happiness and learning to look at problems and issues in a more realistic light. Therapy teaches you these better coping mechanisms so you can find the courage to laugh at adversity. 

Recreation Therapist at Alta Loma Stephanie Castro states, “More fun, less stress. Research has shown that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, depression and low mood. That is why we find meaningful and enjoyable activities vital to our mental health. Whether learning to play a new instrument or how to cook, finding new hobbies this year will not only lessen the stress but also make us happier and produce a healthier leisure lifestyle.”

Knowing When to Seek Help

If you’re ready to focus on your mental health in 2023 for your overall well-being, Alta Loma can help. Follow the simple mental health tips to get started, and contact us for expert help. Our mental health professionals are ready to answer any questions you might have.