Written by Samantha Carter

As the calendar turns to a new year, it’s the perfect time to prioritize and revitalize your mental health. The past year may have brought challenges, but the new year presents a canvas of possibilities for self-improvement and well-being.

If you’re unsure of where to start, here are 10 actionable ways to take care of your mental health in the new year. From self-care rituals to exploring new therapy options, these strategies are designed to cultivate a positive and resilient mindset.

1. Make Time for Self-Care

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to neglect self-care. However, taking intentional time for self-care is crucial for optimal mental health. This can include engaging in activities you enjoy, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or taking yourself on a date to your favorite restaurant.

It can also look like making time for habits that promote mental and physical wellness, such as practicing mindfulness, exercise, healthy eating, or consuming positive content throughout your day. Scheduling regular self-care time can help to recharge and rejuvenate your mind.

It’s easy to make excuses to avoid self-care practices. However, it’s important to remember that everything’s a bit easier when you fill up your own cup first. By taking this extra first step, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in all of your endeavors.

2. Setting Boundaries

Learning to set boundaries is a critical component of protecting your mental health. This may look like clearly communicating your needs and limits to others, both in personal or professional relationships. It can also look like ensuring you get your self care needs met before you go and spend time helping a friend.

Establishing healthy boundaries means that you maintain a balance between giving and receiving support without feeling overwhelmed. It allows you to better maintain your emotional energy because you are not neglecting your own needs.

Unfortunately, not everyone takes kindly to being on the receiving end of boundary setting. It’s important to recognize that not everyone will understand your needs for setting boundaries. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set them. Prioritizing your own needs and feelings may be difficult at times, but it will help promote emotional peace in the long term.

3. Daily Affirmations

Positive affirmations are simple statements that promote a confident mindset and self-belief. Incorporating daily affirmations into your routine can help foster self-love and acceptance. Start your day with affirmations that resonate with you, setting a positive tone and encouraging healthy brain programming. If you’re not sure where to start, consider using any of the following affirmations.

  • I am loving and worthy of love.
  • I am healthy, strong, and resilient.
  • I trust myself.
  • I love myself.
  • I am grateful for …
  • I am proud of myself.
  • I believe in myself.
  • I make the world a better place.
  • I am a good person.

There are literally thousands of affirmations to try on for size. Take note of which ones make you feel good and which ones seem to resonate the most. Studies have shown the numerous benefits of participating in positive affirmations, such as decreasing stress, increasing overall well-being, improving academic performance, and more.

4. Read Books on Mental Health Topics

Knowledge is a powerful tool for self-improvement. Explore books on mental health topics to gain insights, new coping strategies, and a better understanding of your own mental health diagnosis. Whether it’s a memoir, a self-help book, or a research-based guide, reading can be a transformative journey toward gaining mental health awareness.

Additionally, reading books about mental health can help us feel less alone as we read about others who have been through similar situations. A mental health diagnosis is not a death sentence. There are many examples of people who have learned to live successful and fulfilling lives, and you can too.

Of course, there are so many different types of books to choose from. Which books resonate with you will depend on a variety of factors, including your literature preferences, your personal connection to mental health, and more. There are a variety of lists to check out, including recommendations from:

If you’re working with a therapist, they can also be a great resource for book recommendations that may be helpful to you. Also, if reading isn’t your thing, consider checking out audiobooks to listen to while driving or completing other tasks throughout the day.

5. Limit Screen and Social Media Time

Most people are connected to a social media platform these days, and it can be a great way to socialize with others. Still, it’s important to remember that excessive screen time, especially on social media, can contribute to stress and anxiety. Studies have shown the corresponding relationship between excessive screen time and lower psychological well-being for children and adolescents. It stands to reason that similar effects would be true for adults.

By setting boundaries on your screen time, you can avoid information overload and the tendency to negatively compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on real-life connections and activities you enjoy. Not everything you see on social media is as it seems. Many people are struggling, though it’s not always something they choose to publicize.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Quality sleep is a cornerstone of good mental health. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize sleep hygiene by creating a relaxing bedtime routine and aiming for a consistent sleep schedule. A well-rested mind is better equipped to handle life’s challenges.

Multiple studies have shown how improving sleep quality leads to better mental health outcomes. Eight hours per night is the typical recommendation from most health professionals. If you’re not getting eight hours of sleep each evening, consider going to bed earlier or changing your routine in the new year.

7. Exercise

Physical activity has profound effects on mental health. By engaging in regular exercise, you can boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. Whether it’s a brisk walk in the woods, a yoga session, or hot and sweaty gym session, finding physical activities you enjoy will help make them an easier part of your routine.

In a scientific review on the role of physical activity on mental health and well-being, numerous benefits were found, leading to increased sleep quality, decreased substance cravings, and improved mental health outcomes.

8. Eat a Healthy Diet

Nutrition also plays a significant role in managing mental well-being. Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet can help support brain function and emotional well-being. It’s important to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your meals to nourish the body and mind. Numerous studies have shown how diet affects mental health, furthering the need to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle.

9. Limit or Abstain from Substance Use

While moderate alcohol consumption is generally acceptable for many individuals, excessive or frequent drinking can negatively impact mental health. Assess your alcohol intake and consider limiting or abstaining if it interferes with your well-being. Seek alternative ways to unwind and relax, including some of the activities mentioned throughout this article.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recognizes a correlation between substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, acknowledging that substance use can contribute to the development of other mental health conditions. By finding alternative ways to spend our time, we are better supporting our ability to experience consistent and lasting mental wellness.

10. Explore New Therapy Options

Therapy is a valuable resource for mental health care, and there are many different options to explore. Traditional talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based therapy, group or individual therapy, and online counseling platforms are just a few examples. Finding an approach that resonates with you and seeking professional support can help you navigate life’s many ups and downs.

It’s equally as important to be aware of therapy options outside of talk therapy, including medication management or seeking alternative therapies when traditional approaches are no longer working.

Alternative therapies – such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, ketamine treatment, neurofeedback, and stellate ganglion block – have been shown to provide numerous benefits to participants. By being open to new things, you can find solutions that work for your unique situation and mental health needs.

A New Year – a New You

Taking care of your mental health is a journey that involves intentional choices and consistent efforts over time. As you embark on the new year, consider integrating these ten strategies into your routine.

Whether it’s setting aside time for self-care, establishing healthy boundaries, or exploring new therapy options, each step contributes to building an overarching resilient and positive mindset. Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements. You can create a foundation for a fulfilling and balanced life in the new year. I believe in you.

To learn more about mental health services at Plus by APN, call 866-271-6006, or fill out our online contact form today



  • Grajek, Mateusz, et al. “Nutrition and Mental Health: A Review of Current Knowledge about the Impact of Diet on Mental Health.” Frontiers in Nutrition, vol. 9, 2022, https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.943998. Accessed 28 Dec. 2023.
  • Mahindru, Aditya, et al. “Role of Physical Activity on Mental Health and Well-Being: A Review.” Cureus, vol. 15, no. 1, 2023, https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.33475. Accessed 28 Dec. 2023.
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