One way to do so is to refresh your mental health to start with a clean slate, good intentions, and healthy habits.
Since everything starts with the mind, clearing it of this year’s mental clutter is one easy way to step into the new year without mental baggage.
Below, we share 15 ways to mentally refresh. You’ll find activities from decluttering to connecting with others and everything in-between. The goal of each is to renew your mind and help you feel happier and less stressed.
As you reflect on this year and decide what to take forth with you into 2021, we hope you’ll add refreshing mental health to the top of your list.
Here’s a look at how to refresh mental health in 2021:
1. Notice and Acknowledge
It’s important to notice and acknowledge that this year has been anything but a cakewalk. Take note of how you’re feeling these days. Acknowledge if you’re feeling absolutely exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. Give those emotions validation by noticing each one. When moments of anxiety hit you, breathe and realize it’s been a hard year and you’re doing your best.
2. Burn Away the Bad
Nix your negative 2020 emotions in a grand way. All those negative feelings you noticed and acknowledged? Burn ‘em. Yep, go ahead and write down all the negative things that happened this year and burn them in the firepit. Then, make a resolution and intention that you won’t take them with you into next year. Make a toast and then write down everything — from concerts to promotions — you look forward to in 2021. Cheers!
When you declutter, you’ll find it energizes you and it may even reduce your anxiety. After a year like 2020, it’s likely you need some renewed energy and less anxiety, right? If you’re guilty of holding onto items you “may” need one day, it’s a sign you might keep clutter. But it’s probably time to let that item go, especially when you haven't used it in six months or more. When you do so, you're creating space for mental clarity and opening up physical space, too. Plus, you can select local charities in your area — like a women’s shelter — that could use the items that are simply collecting dust in your house.
Check out our post, Cut the Clutter: The Benefits of Minimalism Employees Will Love, for more on the perks of decluttering!
4. Create a Meditation Routine
One of the quickest ways to refresh your mental health quickly is to meditate. It only takes a few minutes of meditation time to restore your inner peace. As a sacred practice for thousands of years, it’s a favorite method of restoration for athletes, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and busy individuals. As you go into the new year, consider creating a meditation practice that works best for you. It can be as simple as deep breathing exercises or as in-depth as guided meditation.
5. Focus on Fitness
Working out is both a great physical and mental refresher. Whether you’re lifting weights or taking a run (or walk), it’s easier to reset your focus and distract yourself with your body’s movement. If you’re in a bad mood, working through a tough challenge, or even need to relieve stress, physical activity is an excellent way to tackle those issues. When you work out, you release endorphins, which trigger a positive, relaxed feeling in the body — ideal for a refreshed mental health state.
Ready to get in shape in the new year? Check out our post on Free Fitness Resources to Get in Shape for 2021! No gym membership required!
6. Input Good
As the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” For a true refreshed mental health state, think about what you want your general attitude to be like. If you’re ingesting unhealthy food, negative news, and surrounding yourself with unhappy people, your life will reflect an unhealthy physical and mental state. Instead, consider updating all aspects of your life with good, healthy food and positive feelings, people, and surroundings. You’re likely to notice it helps you feel refreshed mentally and physically when you input and infuse the good in all areas of your life.
7. Get Away
With state, national, and international lockdowns, it can be hard to take a “normal” vacation. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t get away. Whether you take a mini escape for the holidays or wait until after the new year, plan time to unwind. Getting away may look a little different now than it has in previous years, but you can still be creative. Consider taking some time to makeover your backyard into a little private retreat. Add a hammock, a fire pit, a mini putt-putt set-up, and relax in your own backyard. Or, plan a trip to a local spa and resort for a staycation. Can’t book hotels? Consider camping out and socially distancing in a national or state park near you.
8. Notice the Nice Moments
In the busyness of life, sometimes it’s hard to take a pause and enjoy the moment. If you tend to rush from each of your to-do list items, it’s time to slow down. In all that you do, try and do it mindfully. Whether you’re walking your dog, listening to a podcast, taking a warm bubble bath, or enjoying a cup of coffee, be in the moment. Use your five senses to take in all that you’re experiencing. No multitasking. Just enjoy the nice moments of life.
9. Connect With Others
One of the best ways to revive yourself is to spend time with people who light you up. Give yourself an immediate happiness boost and a refreshed state of mind by connecting with others. Whether that’s in-person, by text, via email, by phone, or video chat. When you get the time to reconnect with others, notice afterward how you feel. You know you’re in good company when you feel happy, refreshed, and inspired afterward and during the encounter. Experiencing the opposite of those feelings? You may want to rethink who you reconnect with for a more refreshing mental health experience!
Check out our post, What is Social Health? A Pillar of Wellness Workers Need Now to learn more about the importance of connection.
10. Do a Social Detox
Challenge yourself to unplug at least one day a week. Perhaps that’s a Sunday. Make it a day where you skip all electronics — phones, televisions, tablets, etc. — and find non-tech activities to do. You may have some reading you want to catch up on. Or go explore a local antique store you’ve driven past a million times but never stopped at. Take your family on a picnic. Go on a nearby hiking trail and listen to nature. A social detox can help you create rich, fulfilling experiences alone or with others.
11. Invest in Self-Care
You already know the basics: getting enough quality sleep, staying hydrated, eating well, being active, and taking time out for what you enjoy. Each week (daily is preferable), take a bit of time to invest in your self-care. That looks different for everybody; it doesn’t mean dropping money on lavish spa packages or your several-times-a-day latte habit. It does mean slowing down and considering what makes you feel relaxed, refreshed, and feeling your best. That may mean a daily workout or a call to your mom. Perhaps it’s a twice-daily walk in nature. Like maintenance on a car, do what you need to do to keep yourself running well.
12. Settle Old Feuds
Holding on to old grudges? Let them go in 2021. It will help you feel lighter both physically and mentally. Negative emotions like bitterness and anger take away your energy, too. If you want all the energy you can muster for taking on the new year, then it’s time to settle old disagreements and feuds. This may mean an actual conversation with the person you are upset with. Or, it may simply mean writing them a letter. You can choose to send it or not. Either way, it helps you move on and free up mental clutter you didn’t know you had.
13. Set Your Intentions
Instead of resolutions, consider setting intentions. This provides a fresh outlook on how you view long-term, positive changes, which can impact your mental health in a positive manner. The word resolutions can make it feel absolute and unchanging. When you set intentions, it’s less goal-oriented and instead focuses on the journey in front of you. It will help you to focus on long-term change and reward when you intentionally go after what you want. In the long run, you’ll be focused on “I want to be healthy and feel strong” instead of a short-term, non-committal goal of “I want to lose weight in the new year.”
14. Create a List of Affirmations
Validate yourself with short and encouraging words known as affirmation. Keep ones in your mind that are easy to remember. These can help carry you through challenging times and situations. You may also choose to collect your favorite affirmations in a book or save and read over your top picks each morning and night. Some phrases you may find helpful include: “I am worthy of everything good in life” or “I am grateful for what today’s lessons may be.” Any time you feel flustered or overwhelmed, keep an anchor affirmation handy in your mind for an instant mental refresh.
15. Be Kind to Yourself
Above all, be kind to yourself. It has been a tough year. You’ve likely done your very best and that’s all you can ask of yourself. When you are self-compassionate, you remove judgment and criticisms that otherwise might drag you down. Ask yourself what you need and how you can improve taking care of yourself in the new year. It may mean turning down new projects. It might mean investing in some quality self-care time. Or, it may simply mean recognizing your struggles and that you’re human. In all conversations with yourself, keep your self-talk kind. You’ll notice how uplifting it feels almost immediately.
What Do You Need to Refresh Your Mental Health?
While our list above offers easy ways to refresh mental health, it’s important to note what works for you.
Some people need regular alone time for reflection. Others prefer to be social and connect daily with friends and family. Refreshing your mental health is a personal choice and one that should be cared for accordingly.
It’s important to take care of yourself — physically, financially, spiritually, and especially mentally.
After a year like 2020, there’s no better time to reflect and think about new ways to refresh your life in all areas, but especially mentally. When you discard what no longer works for you, it makes room for all that does and can make a big difference for your mental health.
So, tell us: What will you do to refresh your mental health in the new year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!