Four Mental Health Routines for 2023
Updated: Jan 5
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2023! It's a new year, and for some of us, that means new beginnings, a fresh start, and the excitement of the year to come. For others, it means processing through tragedy and trauma that occurred over the holidays or simply over the past year as a whole. Whatever end of the spectrum you might fall on, or maybe you're right in between, there's space for you exist, grieve, process, celebrate, rest, and journey forward.
It comes as no surprise that mental health matters, but it's easy for us to become distracted with work, family, and other obligations of life that we forget to take care of ourselves. In this post, we'll be exploring mental health routines you can incorporate into your daily life that will enhance your mental health and give you a great foundation to start out 2023!
We've talked about body movement and the mental health benefits that come with it a lot on this blog, and we also know that there tends to be an influx of people wanting to hit the gym or create an exercise routine once the new year starts. It's common for people to lose steam as the new year progresses, but what if you were able to find a fitness routine you actually enjoy? We're far less likely to abandon exercise if it's exercise we enjoy doing. That doesn't mean we won't have days where we don't want to move our bodies, but instead of moving our bodies out of punishment, we move them out of pleasure and joy. For more information on finding an exercise routine that brings you joy, click here.
Journaling is a sacred act. It gives us the space to write out our thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgement. When we journal, we allow ourselves to process and feel what our body and mind needs to process and feel.
Journaling can be a difficult habit to start because it tends to be more time consuming, but there are ways you can make it less time consuming for yourself! Pick a time of the day you feel more awake and alert to journal: morning, afternoon, or evening. If you don't have much free time, you can start journaling by using bullet points of thoughts or feelings you experienced that day or the day before, depending on when you're journaling. You can even write letters to people in your journal and never send them. Whatever's on your mind can be safely written on the pages of your journal.
Journaling can be a private practice, or it can be something you share in with your spouse, partner, or friend. Because of its intimate nature, it has the ability to connect you to the people around you, or if you're struggling to communicate, it can help you articulate what you're attempting to say.
3. Quieting the Mind
Ahhh, mindfulness. What do you think of when you hear that word? Do you think of meditation? Yoga? Sitting with your eyes closed? Peace? Being in nature? Prayer?
However you few mindfulness, quieting the mind is one of the best things we can do for ourselves because it makes the busy-ness of life and the chaos around us stop for a moment so that we can look internally, check in, and sit with ourselves. Mindfulness can be difficult to practice solely because it means we're alone with ourselves, and sometimes, that can be a fear for many. Think of how easy it is for us to distract ourselves with social media or a TV show. While those distractions can actually be good for us from time to time, it's also important to create a habit of sitting with ourselves without those distractions. We each deserve to fully know and accept who we are, without judgement.
There are a plethora of mindfulness techniques, and not one of them is better than the other! It's up to you and what you prefer. Listed below are a few mindfulness techniques you might be interested in:
Mindful moving or walking
4. Self Care
The routines listed above could be considered self care, but I want to challenge you to dig a bit deeper. Body movement, journaling, and quieting the mind are all ways we take care of ourselves, but they are also things that require a lot of effort on our part. By adding a self care element to your daily routine, this means that you're incorporating something into your life that does not require you to extend much effort, but is good for your mind, body, and soul.
This could look like enjoying a cup of your favorite coffee or tea in the morning while you listen to the world wake up around you, or reading a few chapters a day of your favorite book. It could also look like scheduling a manicure or pedicure for the month, or getting a facial or massage. Self care is a way for you to be poured into; for your cup to be filled. It's an essential element to being a kind, functioning human.
As we move gently into 2023, I hope you found this helpful to start creating some routines in your life that will add to your mental health. We've had a difficult few years, and it hasn't always been easy to make sure we're taking care of ourselves. May we be kind and gracious towards our experiences, feelings, and thoughts this year.
From all of us at Root Counseling, we wish you a happy, mentally and physically healthy, and healing New Year!
At Root Counseling, we believe in the importance of self care and enjoy helping clients establish healthy routines that work for them in their every day lives. If you're interested in setting up an appointment, you can visit our therapists here.