When it comes to New Year’s intentions, it’s important to be realistic. Setting smaller daily goals can be more impactful than larger goals that may feel out of reach. This is important for all resolutions, even when it comes to mental health.
Self-care goals for your mental health do not have to be time-consuming or hard on your wallet.
Some simple approaches:
- Limit screen time. If stepping away from the internet or social media is difficult, try turning off your notifications so you are less likely to turn to your phone when you receive an update. Be conscious of how much you use your phone or computer prior to bedtime, as it can affect your quality of sleep. Try setting an alarm for a tech cut-off time, as bright lights from your device can disrupt the hormones that help regulate sleep.
- Regulate your self-talk. It is surprising how much we talk to ourselves throughout the day and how harsh our words can be, particularly with guilt. Take time to monitor how you are speaking to yourself. If you find yourself making mistakes, be kind to yourself. Mistakes allow room for growth and do not mean having to start again at rock bottom.
- Instead of dieting, focus on good sleep. It’s surprising how many resolutions focus on creating a healthier lifestyle by losing weight, but few focus on the important connection between diet and sleep. While a glass of wine can help someone fall asleep more quickly at first, it can disturb the later, more restorative stages of sleep as your body processes the alcohol. Good sleep also can help us with immunity. Without restorative sleep, people tend to overeat or choose unhealthy foods.
- Schedule a wellness exam. If you find yourself exploring new health goals or having family health history or mental health concerns, consult a health provider. Schedule a wellness exam with a primary care provider to discuss your interests or anxieties. Along with discussing your current stresses and diet, you’ll be able to receive necessary screenings and vaccines, take a closer look at bloodwork and work to prevent any long-term health concerns.
Monalisa M. Tailor, M.D., internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Barrett, stresses the importance of talking to your primary care provider about mental health.
“Our mental health and physical health are connected. If we are having trouble focusing, concentrating, sleeping or eating, that will have an impact on our physical health,” she said. “A primary care provider can help you talk through what you are experiencing, connect you with community resources to find a therapist and, if needed, help you find a medication that could be beneficial for you.”
In a wellness exam with your primary care provider, you may hear echoes of Dr. Tailor’s best advice for mental health:
“I recommend to my patients to eat healthy fruits and vegetables, drink enough water, and limit caffeine and alcohol intake. This will help energize you. Getting some physical activity that you enjoy in your day can help with stress. I also encourage patients to find mindful activities, like meditation and yoga, to be more present in the moment, which helps with stress,” Dr. Tailor said.
To find a primary care location near you or to schedule a wellness exam, visit NortonHealthcare.com/PrimaryCare.
Get out and get active while social distancing! Ride in the Tour de Lou virtually on your own time, your own pace, and even complete it in pieces over the course of a few days.
Make it a family adventure – explore parts of your neighborhood you haven’t seen before or challenge each other to a distance competition (who can bike the farthest?). Just be sure to observe safety rules for the road and always wear a bike helmet!
Curious about how it works? Find out about the Virtual Tour de Lou HERE.