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A new year offers a fresh start and another opportunity to develop positive life strategies. Although even with the best of intentions, an estimated 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to find the motivation to maintain these personal commitments, especially for those already managing mental health challenges.

However, there is hope. Taking small steps can support positive mental health strategies to ensure a happier and healthier 2022.

  1. Set realistic expectations. Don’t expect a complete change overnight. Mental health issues take time to be treated and to heal, just like any physical ailment. If you had a broken foot, you wouldn’t expect to run a marathon in February. Start by concentrating on one or two small steps. When you master these, it will motivate you to do more.
  2. Take a walk. It’s no secret exercise can improve symptoms of depression and reduce anxiety. But where do you start when you’re low on energy and lack inspiration? Start with a daily 5-minute walk and increase the activity level as you feel more confident.
  3. Meditate. Some studies suggest meditation changes regions of the brain associated with depression. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration and focus, and protect the aging brain. An easy way to try meditation is through a smart phone app. Read more about meditation apps here.
  4. Take a social media break. Around 7 in 10 Americans use social media, which has been linked to depression, anxiety, poor sleep quality and lower self-esteem. Try taking a break from checking your social media feeds and comparing your life to others, even if it’s just for a few hours at a time.
  5. Keep a journal. Rumination is thinking the same negative thoughts over and over, and can be a symptom of anxiety and depression. Get these feelings onto paper by writing them down in a journal. It could help you feel less overwhelmed and provide clarity.
  6. Ask for help. Mental health challenges can make you feel like withdrawing, but that is the last thing you should do. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings or feel guilty asking for help. At Oceans Healthcare, we are committed to helping our patients attain the best possible quality of life. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness in these uncertain times, please contact us today.

As a nationally recognized provider of behavioral health services, Oceans Healthcare treats patients experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, behavioral changes related to medication management or substance abuse and other behavioral issues.

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