Every year I reflect on different aspects of my life, taking note of what worked and what didn't. Those that didn't work are released - or set aside to revisit again if I feel called to do so. Those that do work are turned into my life habits. And this is what I'd like to share with you now:
10+ small actions to make BIG changes in your mental health and wellness for 2023.
- Balance, balance, balance. Remember that a healthy life is a balanced life. What does this look like? Each day should consist of some work, some connection and sense of belonging, some exercise, some communion with your higher self, some nature, some laughter, some FUN, AND some overall soul expansion.
- Gratitude is key to good mental health. It is essential to train your brain to focus on the things in life you are grateful for. Maybe you take them for granted? Write them down and keep thinking about them over and over in your mind. Just before going to sleep at night, remember the things that you are appreciative of that day, and then take a moment and relive in your mind the ONE thing you are MOST appreciative of that day. This sets the stage for your night's rest.
- Don't feel you have to start the new year right out of the gate. Take your time and listen to your inner guidance and your inner sense of INSPIRATION before moving forward with activities or goals that seem of extreme importance. Drop the sense of urgency.
- Cut back on screen time. Especially social media and the news. Although this can be helpful for a few things, it is toxic to the mind, body, and spirit in so many ways. It is used as a distraction from facing our thoughts and emotions. Ironically, when we allow ourselves to feel the emotions when they come up, they can then leave our body.
- Change at least one thing in your diet towards mental health. For example, studies in behavioral nutrition demonstrate the importance of getting more fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts in our diets for mental health. If this is not available to you, you can opt to supplement with Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B6, B12, and Omega 3. Drink water consistently throughout the day.
- Have a sleep preparation routine. We have to let our body and mind know that we are preparing to shut down and rest. Shut off all screens (yes, that includes Netflix) at least two hours before bedtime. Prepare your bedroom with some lavender scent, gentle music and soft lighting. Have linens that feel comfortable and cozy on your skin. Remember, sleep time is dream time and miraculous restoration takes place during these hours. Treat your bedroom like a sanctuary.
- Move your body. Our body and mind work in harmony. Each needs the other. When you move your body, you are giving your mind the energy it needs to process emotions, use executive functioning, and attune to your higher knowing. These activities all lend themselves to mental wellness. What can you start with today? Remember, it's okay to take baby steps.
- Connect with the people you love, or even those you don't necessarily love. We need this stream of positive interaction and consciousness in order for our mind to feel energized and alive. This helps so much with the production of the key neurotransmitters of serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and norepinephrine that buffer against depression and anxiety.
- Make plans for things you can look forward to in 2023. This might be short trips, or expansive getaways to other countries. Or it could be remodeling a room in your house? Or plan on getting a pet? Or start a weekly/monthly gathering with like-minded friends or family. It is important to keep our lives moving forward to sustain a well-rounded sense of optimism.
- Spend some time really focusing on fulfilling your purpose. Many mental health issues are a reflection of being out of alignment with your authentic mission here on Earth. Here are some Soul Print questions you can reflect and journal on. These questions will help to provide clarity. It will be life changing if you are willing to be honest with yourself.
SOUL PRINT QUESTIONS:
What are you good at?
If you did not have to work for a living, what would you do?
What did you like to do when you were 7 years old?
What does the world need most right now?
If you knew you had exactly one year to live, how would you spend it?
You are walking with your 13-year-old son or daughter. Your child turns to you and asks, "What are the things you are most proud of in your life?" How would you answer your child?
Additional bonus tips!
- Stay grounded. Even if it is too cold to have your bare feet on the ground, imagine your bare feet on the ground growing roots to stabilize you. The mind doesn't know the difference between visualizing and reality.
- Don't get caught up in the divisions. Stay neutral and rise above it all. This could be political divisions or covid/vaccine related divisions. No one idea is completely 'right'. The only exception to this is if you can do something about your perception of the division.
- Contribute to your community to create a sense of belonging. This could be planting flowers in community areas, volunteering for children's programs, helping to clean up the beaches, baking for the elderly in your community, or walking other peoples' dogs who are unable to do so. Without a sense of belonging and collective purpose, there is suffering (Brene Brown).