Nearly a year into a global pandemic, 2021 isn’t much different from 2020 for many people. While many of us have settled into new routines and found ways to work around shutdowns and restrictions to make our lives feel more normal, an uncertain economy and future has many people feeling socially isolated and depressed. For this reason, it’s important to take steps to ensure our mental well-being. If you’re looking for three ways you can improve your mental health this year, read on.

1. Seeking Professional Help

One of the best ways to keep track of your mental health is to hire a licensed therapist for ongoing, regular meetings. If you’re worried about going out during the pandemic, you can find therapists online who offer online therapy services. These therapists can give you online counselling from the safety of your home and work the same way a clinical social worker, family therapist, psychologist, or other mental health professional would in person to help you work through issues.

Regardless of whether you have a formal mental illness diagnosis or have been struggling with stress from the pandemic like most people, a psychotherapist will be able to give you tools that offer an effective way to improve your overall health and peace of mind. Whether you see your therapist for in person therapy or agree to online video chat through an online therapy platform, a clinician will be able to help you learn different ways to manage your behaviors and moods.

For many people, it’s easy to let mental health slip when taking care of others. Often, people wait until they’re in an emergency mental health situation to reach out for psychotherapy. In beginning traditional therapy now, you’ll be better equipped to hold yourself accountable when it comes to your mental wellbeing.

2. Engaging in Self-care

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Engaging in regular self-care is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Any therapist will tell you that creating a regular habit of identifying and doing something about your specific needs for relaxation will add up to a happier life. Make your mental health a priority this year by creating a list of things you like to do that help you wind down. From fishing to that morning cup of coffee, anything that helps you put yourself first is a great first step in better self-care.

Self-care includes your romantic relationships. In nurturing your partner and self and facing any struggles with intimacy head on or working on maximizing your sexual performance, you’ll be well on your way to better mental health. The fact is that human behavior and moods tie together closely. By engaging in regular acts of self-care, you’ll feel more energized and productive, leading to a healthier cycle of better moods and outlooks.

3. Making Positive Lifestyle Changes

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Self-care activities can easily be combined with new and healthier lifestyle changes, too. Think about ways you could help your physical health while finding time to relax. Maybe you enjoy swimming and live near a pond. Walking to the pond and taking a late night swim would be a great way to get exercise and help both your physical health and mood. Perhaps you love to cook. Doing some research on healthier diets or new recipes would be a great new habit to pick up.

Ultimately, our mental health makes a big difference in our overall happiness and physical health. From the quality of our relationships to our productivity, how well we’re able to juggle our daily tasks and responsibilities can sometimes come down to our mental health. Critical to our overall quality of life, it’s important to get help for signs of depression and other mental health issues as soon as they crop up. If you’re struggling with feeling sad, hopeless, anxious, or just not like yourself, consider reaching out to a licensed mental health professional.