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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018

8 little resolutions that will make a big difference to your mental health

It’s all about the Little Things.

IT’S ALMOST NEW Year’s and you know what that means – time to make some New Year’s resolutions.

Most people tend to set big resolutions at the start of the new year – and then fail to keep them after a few weeks. Making smaller, more manageable resolutions are more likely to be kept.

Here are some little resolutions to make that will have a big impact on your mental health and be easy to keep. Let us know what your resolutions are in the comments below.

1. Cook one new healthy dish a week

Source: Unsplash

Eating well is a vital part of maintaining good mental health and one way to do this is to develop an interest in cooking. Challenge yourself to add one healthy recipe a week to your repertoire, and at the end of the year you’ll have 52 tasty recipes to hand.

2. Make a list of friends to check in with at least once a month

Source: Unsplash

Being social and spending time with your friends has lots of benefits, but sometimes it can be hard to reach out if you’re feeling down.

One way to get around this is to make a resolution to create a check-in plan for your friends. This could be weekly or monthly, whichever works better for you, and is a great way to make sure you reach out frequently to catch up with your friends and have a chat.

3. Resolve to track everything you spend for 30 days

Source: Andrew Branch via Unsplash

Money management can be a major source of stress for many people, especially in the new year when bills can mount up after Christmas.

Creating a budgeting system may sound intimidating, but at its heart is a very simple principle: you need to pay out less than you earn. Here’s a super-easy way to start: if you simply note down everything you spend for 30 days, you’ll build a great picture of where your money is going without needing to sift through piles of receipts or bank statements. And if you do need to make savings, this will show you exactly what you can cut.

(If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by debt, you can contact MABS for some free money advice to get you back on track.)

4. Add a little creativity to your year with a class or group

Source: Unsplash

Being creative has all sorts of benefits associated with it from improving confidence to reducing anxiety.

Pursuing a creative hobby by yourself will bring all these benefits, but being creative in a group – such as a choir or drama group – will mean these benefits could be increased, and you get to meet new people too.

5. Set an ‘early night’ schedule to make sure you get enough sleep

Source: Unsplash

It’s so easy to stay up past your bedtime, whether it’s because you’re catching up on a show, or just faffing around. Getting eight hours of sleep makes the next 16 easier and while you should be getting that much every night, if you really can’t manage it every night – make a commitment to go to bed early at least one night a week.

6.  Add an extra exercise class or game a week

Source: Unsplash

Whether you do no exercise at all, or plenty of it, this resolution will help with your fitness levels both mentally and physically. Exercise is great for mental health, and if you join a team you’ll have a chance to meet new people – and being social is another way to help your mental health.

7. Pay attention to this moment, right now

Source: Unsplash

Mindfulness is at its core all about paying attention in the moment without judgement – not living in the past or future in your mind, but being right here, right now.

Living in the now has huge impact on your mental health and you can implement it easily. When eating, pay attention to your food, to how it tastes. When brushing your teeth, focus on what you’re doing, don’t drift off into the past or future in your mind. The more you do it, the more benefits you’ll get.

8. Learn what makes a good life

The video below is a TED Talk about a 75-year Harvard study into what makes a good life – and the results are surprisingly simple and hopefully easy to achieve. It’s not about wealth or success, but as Mark Twain said:

A good life is built with good relationships.

Source: TED/YouTube

What resolutions are you making for better mental health? Let us know in the comments below.

YourMentalHealth.ie is where to go to learn about mental health and how to support yourself and the people you love. You can find support services and learn about how little things can make a big difference. 

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