As we enter the new year, many of us make resolutions and goals oriented towards personal and/or professional growth. If you haven’t been through therapy, you may wonder what a therapist recommends their clients do to take care of their emotional and physical well-being. As a gift for the new year, I am going to share those secrets from therapy with you.
- Get enough sleep. This may seem simple but it’s not always the case. With busy schedules and constant attention to smart phones and tablets, sleep often isn’t a priority in life. Making time for adequate amounts of sleep should be at the top of your list. Turn off the phones, tablets, and TVs. Good sleep hygiene means 30 minutes without electronics before going to bed.
- Exercise. Release those endorphins. Exercise has been scientifically proven to lift your mood. Not only does it release those ‘oh so good’ feeling hormones, it also gives you the feeling of accomplishment when you complete one of your goals for the day. Feeling stronger on the outside often translates to a sense of empowerment on the inside.
- Get outside. I love this one because it is easy to combine this with exercise, therefore accomplishing two goals for the price of one! If you are busy, this efficiency is key to less stressed living.. Being outdoors in nature has been proven to lower feelings of anxiety and depression. Surround yourself with the beauty of mother nature. It’s healthy and good for you.
- Show gratitude. Expressing gratitude for the things you have remind you of what’s right in your life. It is always good practice, particularly during difficult times, to be mindful of what is positive in our lives. Whether it’s a furry friend that’s always by your side, a bestie who makes you laugh, or that pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer, there is something to be thankful for.
- Socialize. Isolation feeds any feelings of depression or anxiety you may have lurking around. Make time for that coffee with a friend or lunch with your co-workers. Sociologists like Brené Brown have done multiple studies and found human connection to be one of the keys to fulfilment in life. It’s what drives us. We just do better with it. So, go out there and find some humans (even just one!) you enjoy connecting with.
- Have something to look forward to. This can get you through the hardest times. I always tell my clients, if you have something to look forward to, you know the light at the end of the tunnel is something you will enjoy. Trips really are a great way to do this. Research has shown that just planning a trip can bring as much happiness as the trip itself.
- Learn something new. Have a hobby that you enjoy, or take that Spanish class you always wanted to. As we age, we tend to focus on our work and/or family and lose our connection to the things that excited or interested us when we were younger. The National Health Services says adults who continue to learn show greater overall well-being and a better ability to cope with stress.
Like those tips? Want to be healthier mentally and physically? Therapy is a great way to improve your sense of well-being, find fulfillment in life where it is lacking, and set/reach those goals you’ve wanted to achieve. 2020 can be your year. There doesn’t have to be a “New You”, just improve on the “You” you already have.