SMART Goals to Improve Your Mental Health
Are you feeling hopeless, exhausted, or defeated? Are you wondering if you will ever be happy again? The truth is, most people aren’t just naturally happy and positive all the time. It takes intentional effort and continuous reassessment to maintain this mindset. In a previous blog post we talked about how to create SMART goals to be successful in addressing our mental health. The intention for this blog is to provide ideas of how to improve your mental health through intentional SMART goals that will be the best fit for you. Setting aside purposeful time to focus on your mental health is crucial to being successful. What works for other people may not be the best fit for you, so it is important not to get frustrated and to keep trying new ideas until you find what is best for you. Below are some suggestions to get you thinking of what areas you want to be more mindful of and create smart goals.
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
The CDC recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You may be aware of this number but feel like it is impossible to accomplish this nightly. Several factors go into a good night’s sleep, including going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to create a routine for your body; making sure your bedroom is an ideal temperature, dark, quiet and calming; avoiding using electronics right before bed; cutting out large meals, caffeine and alcohol before you go to bed; and increasing your physical activity during the day. Other ideas to try are sleeping with a weighted blanket or sleep sack, as the deep pressure these blankets offer can be calming.
Create a Schedule
Having a set routine can help with organization and decrease anxiety throughout the day. Start by analyzing your daily routine: is your schedule packed with various tasks? Or is it underfilled, causing you to have unlimited free time? Both extremes can affect your mental health. If you are that person who is always on the go and feels burnt out, simplify your schedule and remove unneeded commitments, be in tune with yourself and when you need to say no. If you are that person that has too much free time on your hands try to pick up a new hobby or add in new tasks such as a chore list for the house, developing an exercise routine, or volunteering your time. Also remember to start small to make your goals achievable and realistic.
Journaling and Positive Self-Talk
Journaling is a great practice to complete on a regular basis to sort out your thoughts, clear your mind, and redirect your focus. If you already think that journaling won’t work for you, change your mindset and be optimistic. You won’t know if it is right for you until you give it a try. The beauty of journaling is you can release all your thoughts and speak freely without anyone seeing it. Be sure to make it a habit, and give it some time since it may take a while to notice the benefits. Give it a chance before you dismiss journaling as being ineffective. Remember that there are no rules to journaling; it can happen any time, anywhere and on any medium. Make it your own and embrace a mindset of optimism and positivity.
This segways into the next point of positive self talk. Your thoughts and attitude are contagious. If you have a negative outlook on life that will affect the events in your life. Changing your mindset can greatly impact your perception of the events going on in your life.
Self-Care: Walking in Nature & Meditation
Practicing self-care is a phrase that has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and with good reason. But what exactly is self care?
Self-care is, simply put, taking care of yourself so that you are healthy and well enough to function. People will often overlook basic self-care, thinking that it is not a top priority. For example, people may feel that their work is their top priority, and end up neglecting their own health, sleep, diet, and general wellness in the process. The idea behind self-care is that you should prioritize your wellness over your work, because not only should your health be your top priority, but by prioritizing your wellness, you will actually be able to perform your work better.
Examples of self-care include prioritizing your hygiene, nutrition, diet, exercise, sleep, and mental health. Various self-care activities include meditation, spending more time outdoors and in nature, taking long walks, eating healthy, sticking to a sleep routine, spending time doing activities and hobbies you enjoy, and spending time with friends and family. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do all of these things. Everyone should find the things that best help them and that fit into their daily lives.
At the end of the day, setting SMART goals for yourself can make a huge difference in improving your mental health and overall quality of life. Start mapping out and achieving your goals today!