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5 tips for looking after your wellbeing in 2024

The start of a new year can bring many opportunities and challenges. Something that won’t change, however, from the previous year is people’s struggle with their mental health and wellbeing. After a taxing couple of years, the struggles many of us are facing will simply not vanish with the start of a new year. In fact, they could continue to get worse.

As we enter another year of the aftermath of the recent pandemic, we continue to face a great deal of uncertainty in our lives, finding ways to keep on top of your wellbeing is becoming increasingly important. At a time when so many of us are struggling to cope with our wellbeing and mental health, prioritising your needs and not being hard on yourself will continue to be the best way forward.

Some of us will be struggling more than others. With the current climate continuing to push our physical and mental health, trying to find ways of keeping on top of your wellbeing cannot be understated. Here are 5 tips to help you try and look after your wellbeing in 2024.

Getting a good night’s sleep

Gaining a good night’s sleep is good for your mental and physical health. While asleep, your brain and body have a chance to replenish and repair. Ensuring you can get plenty of sleep helps to:

  • Store new information in the brain

  • Remove any ‘toxic waste’ from your brain

  • Reorganisation and communication of nerve cells for healthy brain function

  • Body repairs cells, replenishes energy and release molecules such as proteins

Without sufficient sleep, we have less focus and concentration, feel more irritable, and can struggle with activities and thoughts requiring mental processing. Not getting enough sleep can also affect your weight, reduce our immune system’s responsiveness, and affect our heart’s health. On average, an adult should get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night.

However, trying to get a good night’s sleep is easier said than done for those with sleeping disorders, or struggling with mental health or stress and anxiety. Those with an irregular sleeping pattern, substance abuse, too much caffeine, exposure to blue light before bed, or a poor sleeping environment can also affect sleep.

Failing to get sufficient sleep over a long period of time can lead to mental health problems and psychological problems. Dramatic changes in your sleeping pattern could be a sign of spiralling mental health.

It is estimated that for a good night’s sleep, you should fall asleep within 30 minutes. Any longer is an indicator of poor sleep.

However, the recent pandemic has a hand to play in people’s poor sleeping. In fact, 70% reported at least one sleep challenge since the start of the pandemic. Women are more likely to struggle with their sleep routine and ability to sleep well.

Trying to get a good night’s sleep at the current time can be difficult. But finding ways to try and improve your sleep can also help improve your wellbeing, physical and mental health. Since the start of the recent pandemic, people have taken to trying different things to help get that important night’s rest. A survey found that activities such as meditation, reading, and listening to soothing music are all good strategies that can be used to aid sleep.

Keep in touch

Humans are social creatures. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, we all need social interaction. Yet throughout the recent pandemic, we had to reduce our social contact with others in a bid to minimise spread. While it does help to minimise the spread of infection, it also leads to a greater number of people becoming lonely and isolated.

It is estimated that around 6% of adults in England often or always feel lonely, equivalent to around 3 million people. A further 19% feel lonely some of the time and a further 23% occasionally feel lonely. With the pandemic highlighting the problem of loneliness, trying to find ways of keeping in touch or staying connected is vital for our wellbeing.

Poor social support has been linked to an increase in depression and loneliness. It also slows downs brain function and can increase alcohol abuse, cardiovascular disease, depression, and even suicide.

Staying in touch and maintaining regular contact with others has many benefits. Socialising can improve your mental health by lightening your mood and making you feel better, decrease risk of dementia, confide in others, and be confided to, and give a feeling of belonging.

Even during challenging times such as during pandemics, there are many ways to keep in touch including social media, phone, or video call. Just be mindful not to overdo online interactions as it can have an adverse effect.

Be kind to yourself

Accepting who you are and being kind to yourself is another tip for helping to improve your wellbeing in 2024. As we enter another year, self-development is one of the biggest helps for your wellbeing.

Often during New Year, many will come up with resolutions in attempt to better oneself. Setting such resolutions only tends to evoke self-criticism of your current self or feelings of failure when you don’t quite achieve what you wanted.

Set aside the new year resolutions for a year and focus on who you are now. Be appreciative of what you have. After all, we never realise how important something is until it’s too late. Taking the time to appreciate yourself can help improve your self-confidence and mental health. Something that we all should take the time to improve.

There are many ways you can try and look after yourself. Making sure you drink plenty of water will help to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated. We should aim to drink around 6-8 cups or glasses of fluid a day to maintain good health. Maintaining a balanced diet can help to improve your mental and physical wellbeing by providing all the essential nutrients needed for body functions. Remember, everything in moderation. While it’s okay to treat ourselves from time to time, we should be mindful to not overindulge.

Taking extra of your body can also help to make you feel better and improve self-confidence, which all aids in improving your wellbeing. Even the smallest of body care can make the world of difference to how you mentally feel.

Become one with nature

Throughout the recent pandemic, many of us have found a new appreciation for the outdoors. After having spent so long stuck in doors, getting outside can provide a wealth of benefits for our wellbeing. Perhaps something many of us took for granted before, spending time outside can do no end of good for your physical and mental health.

Getting outside is one way you try to keep active to keep on top of your mental health during new year.

Being outside in nature can help us to feel calm and relaxed. The glorious greens and blues we become exposed to when outside are colours known to help our body feel more relaxed and calmer. It should come as no surprise then that getting outdoors helps improve your mood, improve your physical health, and improve your physical activity. It has also been known to reduce loneliness.

Whether you take a walk in the park or have access to wider outdoor space, we can all take the time to appreciate nature and connect with the outdoors. You don’t need to get too physical either by running or other physical exercise. Taking a walk and observing the wonders of the outdoors can be just as beneficial to your mental mindset.

You could even try to add a little flavour inside too by bringing the outdoors indoors. House plants, flowers, or growing seeds are all little finishing touches that can help liven up any space. There are also several health benefits to having house plants too. Not only do they look good, but one of the biggest benefits of house plants is the improvement in air quality inside.

Plants can help freshen up the air inside by removing toxic chemicals, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. The improvement in air quality can help reduce fatigue. House plants have also been known to improve our wellbeing by reducing stress and increase feelings of optimism and calm. If you are one of those who struggles with sleeping, placing orchids and succulents in the bedroom release oxygen at night that can better help you to sleep.

Ask for help

When a friend of relative asks for help, advice or just wants to talk something over, how does that make you feel? Being chosen to be confided in can leave us feeling pleased and valued. The same goes for when you need help. Whether it be to talk something over, get advice about your wellbeing and mental health, or feel you need help to overcome something – asking for help is the best help you can receive.

At a time when mental health and other disorders have seen a sharp increase, the current climate only escalates issues. Reaching out and gaining the help and support when you need it most can be the best thing to improve your wellbeing for 2024. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel once you’ve talked something over. Talk to a trusted friend of family member who can help and support you, or just provide an ear to listen. Keeping things bottled up does not help your mental wellbeing in the long term.

If you don’t feel comfortable opening to family and friends, try reaching out for other support. Peer support gives you the benefit of talking to someone with similar feelings or experiences that can better empathise. Opening up to each other can be beneficial to both involved and could also make you feel better for helping someone else at the same time. Support is also on hand from charities and other support organisations, such as our team here at Flourish Therapy Clinic.

We acknowledge that often individuals with one mental health issue have other psychiatric co – morbidities such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), addictions and bipolar, therefore, individuals need a care plan catered to their specific needs, which Breathe can provide. We take a holistic approach to a person’s individual treatment, which takes into account the person as a whole and all of their needs. We offer treatment for all ages and receive referrals on a private basis, from GP’s, Commissioners and Social Services.

Our aim is to address the deep-rooted underlying issues, as well as the presenting symptoms and develop individuals in all areas of their life. For example, when individuals experience pain (either physical, mental, or emotional) it can stunt motivation and interest and/or disruption in other areas of life. Breathe will work with you on setting and addressing your goals with strategies and coping mechanisms to ‘change the way you think and change the way you feel!’.

We aim to provide treatment that has a significant long-term benefit and relapse prevention rather than the historically delivered short term solutions with a higher possibility of relapse. We don’t have a restricted catchment area and offer remote services wherever your residence e.g., Facetime, Zoom or Skype. Our dedication and energy towards wellbeing is experienced through the treatment we provide; the team at Flourish is different – we care and as we wholeheartedly believe recovery is possible!

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