By Erin Jones, M.A., LCMHC
2020 was a tough year for many people. COVID-19 and civil unrest dominated the headlines and led to frequent stress, change, and adaptation for nearly everyone. Even though some of the challenges from the year 2020 will not be resolved immediately, the New Year can still bring hope for improvement. The start of 2021 is a great time to take advantage of the opportunity to focus on your health and other important area of your life.
Focus on your mental health, too.
The following are some ways that you can work to prioritize your mental health in 2021:
If you want to make a change that is likely to improve your mental health, then focus on getting enough sleep. Inadequate sleep can contribute to symptoms of depression. Be mindful of your routine and try to keep sleep as consistent as possible. Make your sleep environment as comfortable and avoidant of distractions as possible. If you often are going to bed too late, shift your bedtime up gradually to accommodate for an earlier bedtime. If more help is needed, contact our office to see if CBT for Insomnia may be a good fit for you.
Take Breaks from Screens
Many people have been using screens more frequently in 2020, whether for work, school, and/or social gatherings. Screens can provide benefit in terms of connection when distancing is recommended as well as entertainment. However, mental health experts often say that it is important to focus on balance with screen use. Monitor your screen use and make time for breaks. Be mindful of how much stress you may experience from too much scrolling of social media. As you take breaks, unplug and make time for outdoors and doing activities around the house.
Make Room for Movement
Exercise can help with managing various mental health symptoms, as well as aid in preventing them. If it is challenging to make time for an exercise routine, then see if you can come up with ways to exercise close to or at home. Go for walks in your area. Lookup exercise or yoga videos online. See if you can incorporate movement into your routine throughout the week and notice if it improves your mood.
Find a New Hobby
The New Year is also a great time to pick up a new hobby. Try a new recipe or learn a new craft. If you are staying home to practice social distancing into the beginning of 2021, find tutorials online to learn a new skill. Finding a new hobby can boost confidence and can be fun!
Check in With Your Counselor
Has it been a while since you checked in with your counselor? Are you considering starting out the counseling process? Do you need help staying accountable with your goals? Use the New Year as a reminder to try out therapy and see how it may be beneficial to you. Your counselor can help you form realistic goals to help you succeed. Your counselor can also help provide you with more resources so that you can learn more about how to best improve your mental health this year.
The qualified therapists at CBT Counseling Centers can help you focus on your goals regardless of the time of year. If you need help getting started, please call us at 828-350-1177