a close-up of female hand holding a lit candle in the darkness
All photos: Kevin Malik

The beginning of a new year is an ideal period to start working on your mental health and well-being for numerous reasons. Firstly, it marks a fresh start, providing a helpful mental trigger for setting new goals and resolutions. Secondly, it's a time for reflection and a chance to re-evaluate one's priorities, which were previously ignored. Thirdly, the start of a year is an excellent time to establish new habits, routines, and positive changes in your life. If the previous year was a rough patch for you, here are five helpful tips that will help you boost your well-being and guide you through the recovery period.

  • Tip # 1: Start with the basics

Improving both mental and physical well-being always starts with adopting a healthy routine. A routine that prioritizes self-care and includes regular exercise, and healthy eating is key to fast recovery after a rough patch. It's also important to make time for activities that bring pleasure and reduce stress. For instance, you can manage stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing. Regular physical activity, such as a daily walk or yoga practice, can help reduce stress and improve overall physical health. There is no need for exhausting workout sessions. Moreover, if you find yourself battling with depression, anxiety, or both, reaching out for support can make a significant positive impact on your life. A treatment center like healtreatmentcenters.com, for example, can guide you toward improved well-being, so don't hesitate to seek help if you need it.

Additionally, eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, can help support both physical and mental health. 

Ensuring you get enough sleep every night is also crucial. Good sleep allows the brain to rest and recharge, enabling you to feel refreshed and stable. Poor sleep, on the other hand, can lead to feelings of irritability, anxiety, and depression, leading toward relapse. Getting an adequate amount of sleep will improve memory and concentration, and help you on your way to recovery after the stress.

young blonde woman writes in her journal laying on a grass in the park
  • Tip #2: Stay away from negative influence

Staying away from negative influences is another thing you should be aware of when it comes to recovering and maintaining mental health. Negative people, environments, and experiences can drain our energy, undermine our self-esteem, and trigger negative thoughts and feelings. I often doomscroll my Twitter feed when going through rough moments in my life. This only makes it harder to stay motivated and focused on our goals, especially when it comes to improving our mental health. 

On the other hand, positive influences help to maintain a positive outlook on things. On your way to mental recovery, it is best to avoid those people who bring negative energy to your life. If you begin to notice that someone close to you is constantly bringing you down, it’s time to remove them from your circle. Don’t keep connections just for the sake of it – remove any toxic individuals from your life, and you’ll soon start to see the light. 
  • Tip #3: Surround yourself with people you love

Homo sapiens are social species! Therefore, having a supportive social network is crucial for mental health recovery. Social connections serve as a powerful coping mechanism during challenging times. Sharing our thoughts and feelings with others not only alleviates the emotional burden but also offers different perspectives and solutions. The act of verbalizing our struggles can often provide clarity and insight, making it easier to navigate through difficulties.

Spending time with loved ones who cheer you up when you feel down is a great way to take your mind off things. It is all because of the sense of belonging and security we feel when having a close relationship. The love and care we receive from others can also boost our self-esteem, which can be vital on the path to recovery after a rough patch. 

young blonde woman pins up a piece of paper to a cardboard

  • Tip #4: Make peace with what happened

Holding onto anger, guilt, or regret from the past can contribute to ongoing stress and negative emotions, leading to further mental health difficulties. Accepting what has happened and working through these feelings allows us to let go of toxic emotions, freeing up mental space and energy for recovery. 

If your relationship has ended, for example, try to go no contact and get rid of any reminders of that person. If you’ve been fired, stop dwelling on whatever happened and start job hunting as soon as possible. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident, it could be worth seeking legal help, as a way of moving forward.

  • • Tip #5: Start a new hobby

It is easy to stick in a cycle of negative thoughts and feelings when dealing with mental health issues. Engaging in a new hobby, on the other hand, can provide a much-needed distraction. Hobbies can also bring a sense of accomplishment, boost self-esteem, and help develop a sense of purpose.

The previous year I started crocheting to distract myself from negative feelings, and this year, I look towards inspirational journaling as a form of stress relief and relaxation. Developing new skills never hurts but provides a sense of creativity and fulfillment.

Final Thoughts...

Trying to recover your mental and physical path after a stressful period in your life is a big challenge. However, seeing the positive in everything you have endured will surely assist you in your recovery. Use the beginning of a year as an opportunity or 'excuse' to reflect and realize what you have learned along the way. At the end of the day, there is always sunshine after the rain, am I right?

Lots of love,