While 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many of us, it also showed us how important it is to prioritize our mental health and take care of one another. Here are 4 tips and takeaways from the past year that you can use to improve your mental health in 2021.
1: Start with the basics
You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: prioritizing your basic needs like eating, sleeping and getting physical activity is important for your mental health. Taking care of our bodies can improve our mood, stress levels, self-esteem and help reduce anxiety. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few strategies you can use to address the basics:
2: Take a break from Zoom
Between Zoom classes, Zoom meetups, Zoom game nights and all the other things we Zoom about, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling fatigued by virtual socializing. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to unplug and find alternative ways to meet people or connect with friends and family. Here are a few ideas to try:
3: Talk to someone
If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you trust for help. Seeking connection and support from friends, family or professionals can help you through the hard times. Here are a few resources on campus that are available to help:
4: Practice what you know
We live in a culture that emphasizes quick fixes and easy solutions. However, mental health is a complex issue, and it may take time, patience and practice to feel better. One important factor in working to improve your mental health is to stick with it. It can feel tempting to continually scroll through mental health practices looking for the best and easiest solution. However, taking stock of what you already know and putting it into practice can often be more helpful than searching for new alternatives.
For instance, if you’re in therapy, it’s important to do the homework or exercises provided by your therapist. Similarly, if you know that going to bed early or disconnecting from the news is helpful for you, continue to do those things over an extended period of time. These are just a few examples of how you can put what you already know to good use. It’s also important to know that there’s no shame in looking for alternative strategies, but remember not to neglect the tools that work for you.