There’s never a bad time to commit to managing your mental health, but the new year tends to make wellness a bigger priority.

Wellness resolutions often focus on diet and exercise, but taking steps to improve your mental well-being is equally important.

In fact, your mental health can play a critical role in your physical health. Stress, anxiety and other manifestations of mental and emotional distress can trigger physiological responses in your body that may erode your health over time. For example, if you’re continually under a high level of stress, chances are your blood pressure runs higher than it should, and that in turn poses a risk
for heart disease and related conditions.

As you turn the page toward 2024, renew your commitment to self-care and managing your mental health with these tips:

1. Set realistic goals. Having something to work toward and look forward to is a healthy way to occupy your mind. Decide what you’d like to achieve this year and identify milestones toward your ultimate goal. Celebrating when you achieve each milestone can keep you motivated and help measure your progress along the way.
2. Nurture personal relationships. Loneliness is a major contributor to mental health struggles, and having even a couple close relationships can help provide you with an essential sense of connection and belonging. Whether you talk in person, by video or text, make time to talk to family and friends. If you find your circle is smaller than you’d like, try taking a class or joining an organization where you can meet others who share your interests.

3. Alleviate stress. A little bit of pressure can push you to do your best, but living in a constant state of stress can be bad for your health. Take time to understand your stress triggers and actively work to avoid them. If that’s not fully possible, dedicate a portion of each day to de-stressing and clearing your mind. You might choose meditation, exercise, reading or listening to music, all of which let you relax your mind and focus your attention on something else.

4. Sleep more. Getting enough sleep means 7-9 hours each night, according to most experts, as it’s one of the best ways to protect your overall health and ensure you’re in the right frame of mind to approach the day. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re less capable of problem-solving, making decisions and managing your emotions and behavior. Studies have also shown poor sleep habits are linked to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions. If winding down is an issue, try creating a bedtime routine that makes it easier to get to sleep.

Find more tips to promote healthy living at eLivingtoday.com.