After the busy festive period, January can be an excellent time for a fresh start, and a chance to begin the year with a healthy mind-set.
You may also be looking for ways in which you can improve your physical and mental health in 2023. Here are some top tips from our Head of Co-ordination, Jane Hancock.
Look after yourself physically, to feel better mentally
Your physical health and mental wellbeing are linked, and as such, there are lots of positive changes you can make to improve your physical wellbeing that will also result in psychological benefits.
Exercise boosts the ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain, known as endorphins, which ultimately improve your mood and sense of wellbeing. Try to engage in some exercise every day, even if this is going for a short walk.
A healthy diet that’s full of vitamins and nutrients can also have positive effects on your mental wellbeing. Research suggests that foods that are rich in folic acid (such as spinach), and omega-3 acids (such as salmon and tuna), can improve mood and lower stress and anxiety.
Get the right amount of sleep
Sleeping helps us to recuperate both physically and mentally, resulting in alertness and a positive mood.
The average adult needs around eight hours of sleep a night to be fully rested. The following steps can help you to achieve this as often as possible:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to establish a good sleep routine.
- Try to avoid napping during the day.
- Limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol before bed. These substances can make you feel anxious and jittery at night preventing you from getting to and staying asleep.
- Avoid electronic devices tablets 30-60 minutes of your target bedtime. These devices give off light which can be overly stimulating and keep you awake.
Get yourself ‘out there’
With the dark nights and poor weather many will just want to stay at home. However, staying indoors and potentially isolating yourself, can have a negative impact on your health. Therefore, it’s a good idea to actively look for ways to get yourself ‘out there’ by doing something that you enjoy or something you’ve always wanted to try.
It’s so important to practise self-care. It can be easy to focus on the needs of other people in your life at the expense of your own but taking just a small amount of time for yourself can be hugely beneficial to your psychological health.
Plan time for yourself
Try and plan some time for yourself. Even just doing small things that you enjoy such as having a hot bath, reading or listening to your favourite music, can help you to ‘re-charge’ and improve your mood.
Discover what makes you happy
Develop an understanding of the places, people and activities that make you happy and try to include as many of these as possible within your daily life.
It’s easy for us to be self-critical and hard on ourselves, which can have a negative impact on our levels of resilience, self-esteem, and wellbeing. If you find that you beat yourself up over small things as yourself whether you’d say the same things to another person. If the answer is ‘no’, then why would you say them to yourself?
If you find that you are struggling with a mental or physical health problem, it’s important to recognise that help and support is available via your GP.