Nancy Vogt, FEI Account Manager
This New Year, think outside the box for your annual resolutions. Instead of focusing on losing weight or exercising more to bolster physical health, why not consider improving your mental health?
Most people don’t like thinking about mental self-care because they associate it with mental illness, but what many feel are just normal responses to the day-to-day stressors of life. This is where employee assistance programs (EAP) comes in.
We all sometimes need to talk to an impartial party that can help us find our way through short-term difficulties. What many don’t realize is that they aren’t alone: some 450 million people struggle with a mental health issue worldwide.
Still, there are steps you can take on your own to boost mental wellness in 2017. Here are five mental health resolutions to make today:
Be gracious. Sometimes negative thoughts can overwhelm us, like when Julia Roberts says “the bad stuff is easier to believe” in the movie Pretty Woman. We have to balance those thoughts with the good stuff in our lives. That’s where practicing gratitude enters the equation. If you really think about it—better yet, make a note of it—there is a lot out there to be grateful for!
Exercise every week. Exercise improves both your physical health and your mood. Combine exercise with an outdoor environment and you’ll fight symptoms of depression as well.
Recognize and utilize support systems. Family and friends want you to be happy, and are happy to help you in times of emotional and behavioral need. Social interaction is also key to good mental health. Spend time with your loved ones every day—it doesn’t always have to be a big special event.
Get more sleep. I don’t think anything is more vital to our mental and physical health—or more neglected—than getting enough sleep at night. Sleep is when the body and mind repair themselves. Lack of sleep very quickly affects mood and the ability to function well in our daily activities.
It’s okay to say no. It can be difficult to do, but I find little causes more mental stress than being unable to say the word “no.” Time is precious—too precious to spend on everyone but yourself. Make sure to take personal breaks, and if someone wants you to do them a favor, really consider your obligations before saying “yes.”
I hope these suggestions help you—and your mental well-being—have a great 2017!