This year, make a resolution to take control of your mental health and improve your happiness! Making a few simple mental health resolutions can have profound effects on your stress levels, energy, and overall mental wellbeing.
Below are some of our favorite 2019 mental health resolutions. Do you have any you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
1 – Get Enough Sleep
We know that healthy sleep habits are as important to our health as eating healthily and exercising. However, when you have a newborn, healthy sleep habits aren’t always possible. Make a mental health resolution this year to make sleep a priority.
Not only does sleep give you energy to better face the day, but it’s also strongly correlated with neurotransmitters and stress hormones. Too little sleep can wreak havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation.
Have a sleep routine at night that helps you wind down so you can get to sleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. Try a cup of herbal tea and reading a book, avoiding tv or cellphone use 1-2 hours leading up to bedtime, or taking a warm bath.
If your baby is still waking up multiple times a night, make sure to ask for help when you need it. Ask your partner to take a shift or two so you can sleep at night, or ask a friend or family member to watch your baby for a couple hours during the day so you can take a nap.
2 – Practice Gratitude
This year, make a resolution to start a gratitude journal—or to write more consistently in the one you have. Gratitude, scientists say, is an important and beneficial way to improve your mental health. Not only does gratitude increase happiness, but it’s also been scientifically proven to reduce depression, resentment, frustration, and regret.
Just five minutes a day writing in a gratitude journal is shown to increase your long-term mental wellbeing by over 10%. This is the same impact as doubling your income! The change doesn’t happen overnight, however; research shows it takes 3 months of consistently performing this habit to have such a statistically profound improvement to your mood.
3 – Spend Time at Least 3x/Week on Hobby
This year, resolve to take more time for yourself. When you have a new baby, it can be challenging to find time for the hobbies you once loved. However, taking time for yourself each week to spend time on things that “make you, you” are important for your mental wellbeing.
Not only do hobbies help reconnect you with the person you believe yourself to be, but they also help reduce stress. It’s especially important for new moms to take a few hours each week to spend time on a hobby. This helps you keep in touch with your personal identity while also releasing “feel good” hormones.
4 – Connect with a Friend or Family Member Daily
Psychologists and other mental health experts often stress the importance of a strong social network. Research unyieldingly demonstrates the connection between social relationships and health and wellness.
Having a strong social network helps to improve your ability to cope with stress. It also helps to help release “feel good” hormones and improve energy and overall happiness.
For new moms, it’s especially important to connect with friends to keep from feeling socially isolated. These connections should be in-person or over the phone as opposed to through social media or text messaging. Take time to grab lunch or tea, talk over the phone, or meet up for a kids play date.
Are you having trouble making friends as a new mom? Make a resolution this year to join a mom group in your area and attend playdates and other get-togethers. Look on Facebook or Meetup.com for mom groups in your area.
5 – Take Time to Connect With Your Partner
Having a child or children can sometimes feel like it takes the priority away from your relationship with your partner to focus on the family as a whole instead, but this can be stressful to your relationship.
Take time to connect with your partner every day, whether it’s sharing dessert or a glass of wine just the two of you after your children go to bed, meeting up for lunch midday while the kids are at school or daycare, or taking an evening off each week for a date night. Try to make sure this time to connect isn’t in front of the tv or phone screens. This time should be about truly connecting, remembering why you chose each other as partners and feeling strengthened in your ability to take on daily challenges together.
6 – Ask for What You Need
It’s important to remember that no one can read your mind. This year, make a resolution to ask for what you need when you need it. If you need time to go grocery shopping alone or would like an evening to take a bubble bath and read your favorite novel, ask for help watching the kids! If you’re too exhausted to make dinner, ask your partner to pick up takeout on the way home. If your house is a disaster and you feel like you can’t catch up, discuss hiring a cleaner for a one-time deep clean.
Take control of your mental health and wellbeing by being open and honest about what you need.
7 – Exercise Daily
This is one of those resolutions and checklist items that everyone knows is important, but that is often the first to be foregone during times of stress. Exercise produces the feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. It also helps to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and can reduce stress levels and improve sleep.
Don’t stress yourself out with overblown expectations for your exercise routine. Even a 20 minute walk outside or a quick 30-minute aerobics video while your baby is napping can produce positive effects for your mental health.
8 – Practice Self-Care
Make yourself a priority this year! Make a resolution to get up and dressed every morning instead of lounging around in yesterday’s pajamas. Hire a babysitter and make time for a hair appointment or massage. Eat healthily and drink enough water every day.
Remember, practicing self-care isn’t selfish; it’s important for maintaining your mental health and making you a better mother and partner as well as improving your happiness!
9 – Schedule a Meeting with a Counselor
Resolve this year to meet with a counselor to build strategies and coping mechanisms to improve your mental health. Mothers experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression can sometimes have trouble prioritizing their mental health and taking the steps they need to feel like “themselves” again. A counselor can help empower moms with tools and strategies to overcome challenges, work through difficult emotions, and become happier and healthier.