As emphasized in Part One of this series, every new year is an opportunity for a fresh start. For anyone who is still figuring out their goals and priorities for the new year, below are five more suggestions –– building off of Part One –– for new year’s resolutions focused around the theme of mental health and wellbeing.
Spend more time outdoors and in nature:
- Humans depend on nature; however, as society has evolved, we have migrated to more urban areas and forgotten the value of forests, parks, and green areas. Spending time in green spaces has innumerable benefits. Not only do green spaces improve your mental health and well-being, but they also provide an environment for activity and exercise. As parks lose popularity, childhood obesity rises. Those without access to parks or related outdoor spaces are less likely to be physically active.
- After the production of countless drugs and medications, researchers find the best mental health prescription is not a drug
at all. Instead, it’s nature. People living closer to green environments have improved general health. The easiest way you can help relieve stress or tension is to go outside and immerse yourself nature. Simply listening to nature sounds enhances your mood and aids in stress recovery. If you do not have physical-access to nature or parks, try out these apps for nature sounds: “Rain Rain…” and “Naturespace”.
- Recent studies show that being in nature may also increase our willingness to be generous, trusting, and helpful toward others. Value our National Parks and take advantage of their health and life benefits.
Strengthen relationships in your life:
- Reflect on the quality relationships you have in your life, and spend more time with people you care about to strengthen those relationships. These relationships can later serve as your support system and as the people you turn to when you need to talk or face a challenge in life. In general, having people you trust that you can turn to at any time will elevate your wellbeing.
See a new city or experience a new culture:
- Traveling does not have to be expensive. Even exploring a nearby city can be an adventure. Immersing yourself in a new environment can be a great learning experience.
- Traveling can create lasting memories and it broadens your horizons, as you connect with different people. After traveling, you may even have a new perspective or outlook on life, as you have had the opportunity to see life from a different angle –– in whichever new place you visited.
Sleep more on a regular basis:
- It is crucial to see sleep as something you “need” to do every night, rather than something you “get” to do, as emphasized by Stanford sleep specialist, Dr. Rafael Pelayo.
- Sleep is the most basic bodily need, as we need to be attentive and energetic throughout the day. However, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, almost 75% of teenagers are not getting enough sleep, and adults are not doing much better. We see this at a time where there is clear data showing the relationship between sleep deprivation and suicidal behavior. Sacrificing sleep to study has been shown to cause academic problems.
From improving memory and increasing attention span to keeping your body happy and healthy, the benefits of sleep are endless.
- Healthy amount of sleep is around 8 to 10 hours per night for teenagers, and 7 to 9 hours per night for adults. You can strengthen your quality sleep time by trying these apps: “Sleep Zen Sounds…” and “Sleep Cycle alarm clock”.
- Besides the number of hours, keeping a regular sleep pattern is essential. On weekends, staying up late or sleeping-in excessively will eventually damage your quality of sleep and can negatively impact your ‘biological clock’, or the natural rhythm of your body’s behaviors.
- At night, staying away from blue light (cellphones, computer screens, etc.) can help you fall asleep faster and prevent disorientation of your circadian rhythm.
Get to know your community:
- Despite living in a certain area, we often may not be familiar with the direct community surrounding us. Visit places within your area that you have not seen before, maybe attend a city-wide or community event, and familiarize yourself with where you live. You never know, you may build lifelong memories this way or you may find a new friend or form a new healthy routine within your neighborhood.
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