1. Remove apps from your phone that might be stressing you out.
Nathan W. Pyle / BuzzFeed Comics
Seriously. I asked my coworkers at BuzzFeed for one thing they did this year that actually improved their mental health, and about half of them said removing Twitter and Facebook from their phones. Twitter and Facebook might not be your happiness-suck, but chances are, there’s an app that is doing you more harm than good. Try going without it for awhile and see how you feel.
2. Give a name to your negative thoughts and then call them out on their bullshit.
The more you try to ignore negative thoughts, the more power they have over you — and the truer they feel. “Sadly, many people make the mistake of believing the negative things that their ‘inner voice’ tells them, often without even being aware of their right to question whether these things are accurate,” Simon Rego, Psy.D., told BuzzFeed Health. “Catch, challenge, and change negative thoughts.”
And, honestly, treating that voice like a particularly annoying backseat driver or someone whose opinion you don’t respect at all can really help with that.
3. Develop a morning routine that will set the mood for the whole day.
It’ll look different for everyone, but find a routine that will center you and put you in a good mood before you have to face the day. Think: Exercising, meditating, writing out your to-do list, thinking about the things you’re grateful for, even just taking time to actually eat breakfast, have your coffee, and listen to your favorite podcast.
These ways to make your mornings infinitely better might be a great place to start. Oh, and make your bed, because it will work miracles on your life.
4. And while you’re at it, develop a before-bed routine, too.
Wash your face. Make some tea. Unplug and read. Do one of these before-bed activities that don’t involve watching Netflix. Anything that you can do to unwind and put a positive cap on the day can help your headspace A LOT.
5. Replace “I’m sorry” with “thank you.”
Like, instead of saying, “Sorry I’m late,” say, “Thanks for waiting for me.” Or instead of saying, “Sorry I messed up,” say, “Thank you for being patient with me.” Obviously, there will always be things that call for an apology, but if you find yourself saying sorry a lot, this might help shift your thinking to be more positive and it’ll make sure your loved ones are getting your gratitude instead of your negativity.
(H/T Tumblr user vijara for the tip.)
6. Revisit some of your favorite things from childhood.
Infuse some pure unadulterated joy back into your life by rereading Harry Potter, finding your favorite childhood snack, listening to the first band that you ever loved, whatever. Soak up the nostalgia.
7. Call your Person on the phone more often.
Maybe for you, that means calling your parents to check in and get an instant pep talk or maybe it’s your best friend from college. Or maybe it’s just a friend down the street you don’t see enough because of your busy schedule. It doesn’t even have to be a long phone call — just say hi when you have a free five minutes so your day is a little brighter.
8. Find a general practitioner you love if you haven’t already.
Having a doctor you love comes in handy in so many ways — including referring you to where you need to go if you start having issues with depression, anxiety, stress, or any host of mental health-adjacent things. Not to mention, it’s great to have a stable professional relationship in your corner as you shop around for the perfect therapist, if you need one.
9. Try tracking your moods and habits to find the little things that make you feel better and worse.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
“When your life and emotions feel so out of control or chaotic, there is something immensely therapeutic about organizing it into a systematic structure like a bullet journal,” Andrea Bonior, PhD, told BuzzFeed Health. “You lay things out in an aesthetically pleasing way and already it feels more manageable. Like you can really tackle it and make it through. It feels luxurious, too. It’s like saying, ‘I’m worth it. I’m worth this notebook and the time it takes to turn it into something beautiful.’”
For more information on how to use a bullet journal for your mental health, look here!
10. Commit to a work-life balance.
Leave on time, don’t check your email past a certain point at night, and in general, don’t think about your work responsibilities at home, and vice versa. Doing your best in each place — aka not feeling guilty about what you’re not doing — will keep you sane and feeling good about your output.
11. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb at night.
There is nothing going on between midnight and seven AM that can’t wait ‘til you wake up, I promise. You’ll sleep better and your mind will thank you — because lack of sleep can seriously magnify feelings of unhappiness or depression and anxiety.
12. Be liberal with the mute, block, and unfriend button.
Because we have enough to deal with without annoying, anger-inducing, and uninvited comments from people on social media. BYE.
13. Listen to some hilarious podcasts in your downtime.
Because laughter is good for the soul. This list includes some a few comedies to start.
14. Check out your alcohol intake and how it’s making you feel.
Everyone is different, but it never hurts to check in with yourself about your drinking — especially if you’re prone to depression. “When you’re feeling depressed and you drink, that’s when it becomes dangerous, because the protective walls come tumbling down,” Jan Collins-Eaglin, PhD, told BuzzFeed Health. “Drinking is not going to make it better. If anything, it’s going to make it worse.”
If that sounds like you, maybe cut back for a bit and see if you see an improvement in how you’re feeling, or maybe commit to only drinking in certain settings, like on Wine Wednesday with your best friend.
15. Get rid of old things that you can’t use right now.
Charlotte Gomez / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed / Via
If you have stuff in your closet or in your home that make you feel worse when you see them — like clothes that you plan on fitting into again “one day” or mementos of an old relationship — TOSS THEM. You don’t need that shit bringing you down in 2017.
16. Make moves to get out of a shitty job/school/major/living situation/relationship/whatever big thing is making you MISERABLE.
It won’t happen overnight, but if there is something in your life that’s like a BIG DARK CLOUD ruining every other aspect of your life, it’s a worthy 2017 goal to make a change. Take stock of whether there are any big things in your life that are really getting you down and start making a structured plan to change them.
17. Write letters of appreciation to people you love.
Expressing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to improve your mental health day-to-day, so get on it. Bonus points if it’s handwritten.
19. Invest in a massage every once and awhile.
Pampering yourself = great self care. Also, I bet you $10 you’re holding a lot of tension somewhere right now and you deserve to get it worked out.
20. FEEL YOUR FEELINGS.
Don’t squash them down. Don’t force yourself to think positive. Acknowledge your negative emotions as valid. Not only do you you just owe it to yourself, but always distracting yourself from your emotions prevents you from learning how to cope with them, leaving you more vulnerable to getting derailed by them in the future.
21. Learn about resources available to you if you ever need a bit of help.
It never hurts to have this stuff bookmarked for when you need it.
- Here’s a list of mental health resources to use if you’re having a hard time.
- Here’s what to do in a mental health crisis.
- Here’s what to do if you can’t afford therapy.
Here’s to a very mentally chill 2017, everybody.
For more ideas, check out last year’s list here!
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