Last Updated on January 05. 2023
The truth is that there’s never a need to wait until the new year to set some goals and take on new healthier habits. You’re free to wake up every morning and recommit to your plans and the practices that fuel your mind, body, & soul.
Today, I want to share with you a list of 10 habits that benefit your mental and physical health.
1. Having a Morning & Bedtime Routine
Having a set morning and bedtime routine has many benefits. We may not always realize it, but it turns out that human beings enjoy structure and routine because it gives us a sense of control and purpose and makes us feel productive.
For anyone who might be struggling with their mental health symptoms, implementing a routine is particularly important.
When struggling with mental health, we often neglect our basic human needs. Those basic needs are essential to our mental health recovery. When we’re not meeting our basic needs, we might remain stuck in a cycle because our bodies aren’t getting the fuel it needs to help stabilize our mental health.
2. Fitness – Finding What Works for You
Yes, physical exercise is essential. It keeps your mind and body healthy. However, not everyone finds it fun or exciting to go to the gym regularly.
For those of you who may not enjoy going to the gym or doing much of a workout, to begin with – like me, it’s about finding what works for you. If you have to force yourself to do something you hate, you won’t do it for very long. But if you enjoy something, you’ll find it much easier to include it in your weekly plans. Whether playing basketball at the park or taking a walk around your neighbourhood 3x per week – you’ll be a lot more successful at maintaining exercise if you love what you’re doing.
3. Getting Quality Sleep
It doesn’t take long to lose my cognitive capacities if I don’t get a good night’s sleep. For me, anything less than 8 hours of sleep leads to a severe decline in functioning the next day. My ability to concentrate decreases, I start experiencing memory lapses, I have no energy, and I start drinking coffee to keep me awake, which only makes me more tired—going on a few days without adequate sleep? It just doesn’t work. Rest has negative impacts on our mental & physical health, which is why getting good quality sleep at night should be on your priority list daily. P.S. No electronics 30 min. – 1 hour before bedtime!
4. Process Your Emotions
When we don’t speak it – we store it.
Difficult emotions don’t simply vanish when we avoid dealing with them. They bury themselves in our bodies until we choose to process them.
There are different ways we can process emotions—connecting with someone we trust and feel safe with is one way to process our feelings. It’s important to note the importance of choosing to talk to someone who will make you feel safe, comfortable, and supported. Speaking with a licensed professional is always an excellent way to connect and allow ourselves to be vulnerable in a safe space.
Exercising, sports or even journaling can help release someone of distressing emotions. Journaling is a way to process our feelings, both the good emotions and the ones that don’t feel as pleasant.
Affirmations are positive statements meant to challenge your negative beliefs about yourself.
Affirmations are a way to empower and encourage yourself. Affirmations help by giving your self-confidence and self-esteem a boost.
They can help shift cognitive distortions into positive thoughts. Affirmations can be written on a post-it and placed somewhere you frequently access; for example, they can be in your bathroom, in your room, or even your car’s rearview mirror.
6. Review your goals daily, weekly, & monthly
Align yourself with a more excellent vision and get yourself there. Never dream small.
Having a more excellent vision allows you to work towards a goal. It allows you to create smaller plans to get to your bigger goals and will keep you motivated to move forward.
Make sure to take some time to review your short and long-term goals to help you stay on track. You can get as creative as you want with this process. Create a vision board to help keep you motivated and focused on making your goals happen, or even use a bullet journal to track your habits and goals.
7. Eat three + meals per day. Vitamins+. Nutrients+
It’s not about a diet. It’s about putting fuel in your body to function optimally throughout your day.
Always pay attention to your body. When your body needs food, it lets you know, just like a car that requires gas to move forward. You won’t get too far without any gas in your tank. Think of food in the same way. It’s hard for your body to function optimally during the day if you’re undereating. Help your body perform at its best by giving it the necessary nutrients.
8. Declutter Your Space
It’s incredible how much more productive you feel when your space is clean and organized. With so many distractions competing for our time, finding the inner focus that will help us get things done promptly without feeling overwhelmed or under-productive can be challenging.
What does an uncluttered environment have? A big part of this answer lies within what we observe – namely, because there isn’t anything around tempting us into distraction! This means less worrying about forgetting something important (like those conference calls) since everything has its own place at last; there is greater peace due to simply having enough room on our desks.
9. Go to Therapy / Engage in Personal Development
The best time to go into therapy is when you’re already doing well. That way, the brain has room to process information and absorb it better than when we’re not doing well and our cognitive capacities aren’t as sharp.
Therapy is a process of self-discovery that allows you to get in touch with your story and find the strength within. It takes courage, but when we understand our history, it becomes easier for us to break generational cycles and ensure that our trauma reactions and survival patterns end with us. However, I am mindful that therapy isn't always the most affordable. I encourage everyone to check the Psychology Today platform and take some time to read through different profiles. Finding a good therapist is like shopping for a pair of shoes. Make sure to shop around and ask the therapist about their prices and whether they have a sliding scale fee available.
If everyone knew the benefits and impacts of mindfulness on the nervous system and brain... people around the globe would be practicing meditation daily. Meditation allows us to practice self-regulation of our emotional states. It’s not always easy – especially when we’re just starting. However, it’s not about practicing 45-minutes of meditation every day. It can start with 1 or 2 minutes. Everyone is different, and that’s okay. And it may also be that mindfulness isn’t the tool for you. Maybe it’s something else like journaling or using breathing techniques. And that’s okay too.
It’s about doing what feels suitable for you.
What are your favourite healthy habits to stay motivated and consistent? I love that you’re taking the time out of this busy day (or night) for yourself! Let me know in the comments below 😉
Stephanie Underwood, T.S.P., R.S.W.
Registered Social Worker