Get [Mentally] Fit in 2022
We know it’s tempting to grab the magazine or click on the ad that promises to get you in shape in the new year. However, let’s not forget a part of our body that often gets overlooked when it comes to getting strong and healthy. Let’s show some love to our brains this year. Whether you call it brain health or mental health, here are some simple (and some fun) tips to get mentally fit in 2022.
Get Rock-Hard Resolve
Got goals? Make a plan with smaller goals to keep you motivated. A great way to think about goal setting is with the acronym SMART. Set goals that are::
- Specific – Write out your goal and include details. You can use the 5 ‘Ws to help (who, what, when, where, why).
- Measurable – Include a clear measurement that will show you’ve met your goal.
- Attainable – Make sure your goal is something you can achieve through your own efforts and aren’t dependent on other people or circumstances.
- Relevant – Make sure your smaller goals will lead you to the result you want.
- Time based – Set target dates and include frequency if needed.
For more information and resources check out Eastern Washington University’s goal setting page.
Make Gains for Your Brain
Just like muscles, you need to exercise your brain to keep it in shape. Try a new activity like a sport, dancing, or mental puzzles. Social interaction can also help stimulate your brain, so grab a friend to do these activities or join a team or club. Need some ideas about where to start? Check what activities are offered at a regional community center, Spokane city and county libraries, and the Spokane and Spokane Valley parks and recreation departments.
Practice the Pause
Sometimes you just need time to take a deep breath before responding to an insensitive comment or wait until after lunch to reply to an email, so you have a chance to calm down. Other times, you may be at a point where you need a longer break. Pay attention to your mental state and take a break if you need it. If you can take a two-week vacation, great! If you’re not able to do that, try to take a day once a month to disconnect from your normal responsibilities. Take advantage of any break time at work or home, and do what you can to make it as calm and relaxing as possible. A Mindful State has a great list of resources to help add moments of calm to your day.
Slim Down Your Obligations
It’s hard to do any of the above suggestions if you’re too busy and overwhelmed with obligations. Drop a few events if you’re feeling overwhelmed or if you’re uncomfortable with the level of health risk involved. Make some rules, so you can give yourself permission to say no to things. Maybe your family can only attend one event a week, or you can only go to gatherings where masks are expected. Once you’ve decided this ahead of time, it makes it easier to organize your time, helps you stay consistent with family’s and friends’ requests, and gives yourself permission to say no.
Hopefully these tips give you a place to start the new year. Where could they take you on your brain health journey?