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Dec 19, 2019
by: Carrie Larsen
New Year's Resolutions for Better Mental Health
We have compiled a list of 9 New Year's resolutions for better mental health in 2020:
1. Get More Sleep
There are concrete steps to improve sleep. The top way to improve sleep is to have a consistent bed time and awake time. Don’t sleep in on weekends. Don’t try to catch up on sleep with naps. You should strive for a consistent seven to eight hours a night.
2. Exercise More
Make getting more exercise easier. Forget joining a gym or buying a weight set – just go for more walks. Exercise can also help improve sleep, as long as you don’t exercise too close to bedtime.
3. Get a Hobby
There are two types of resolutions - one is to promote a sense of pleasure, and the other to build mastery in something. Finding a new a hobby – or going back to one you’ve let slide – is a great way to do both. Take up a hobby that helps you feel good about yourself.
4. Put Down your Smartphone
Take a social media holiday. Many of us only get more depressed and anxious from our social media feeds. Take breaks, even if it’s for limited times. Resolve to check your feeds once every two hours, and stop altogether after 6 p.m.
5. Learn How to Meditate
Research suggests that meditation reduces stress levels. It helps you be more effective in getting things done. And it can get you out of time (pressures) and help put a pause on the moment. That helps you realize what is really important and allows you to slow things down.
6. Get a Planner
You know how you feel when you have too much to do? Get it out of your head and onto paper (real or digital). Make a log and track the time it takes to do various tasks, then plan for what the day or week will look like.
7. Keep a Journal
This is not the same as your day planner. Use a personal journal - discharge your worries by writing them down. Rumination, which is the process of thinking obsessively about some negative feeling or emotion, is often a symptom of anxiety and depression. And many people ruminate at night, lying in bed. If you have a worry journal to write down those negative thoughts, then you’re done. You can close the book, and then try to sleep.
8. Help Others
Helping others is a great a way to get out of your own head, your own troubles, and connect with other people and cultivate relationships. Perhaps the single strongest predictor of happiness, according to social science, is called prosociality – connecting with and to others. Helping is a wonderful connector. 
9. Be Nicer to Yourself
Give yourself a break. It can feel overwhelming to have a long list of things to do differently, so start with two or three. Develop concrete plans, jot them down, monitor how they are working – or not working – and then re-evaluate after a couple of weeks.
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