December 28 2021

Mental health resolutions can improve 2022

Contributed by Carolyn Rice, Montgomery County Commissioner

Have you decided on your 2022 New Year’s Resolution?

Many people choose to focus on their physical health and make a resolution to lose weight, eat healthier or exercise more. But have you considered resolving to improve your mental health?

We know that our Montgomery County community has experienced numerous traumas over the last several years, and a focus on our mental health is more important than ever.

On Dec. 7, the Surgeon General issued a rare public health advisory warning of an emerging youth mental health crisis. The Montgomery County Prevention Coalition, a group of 200 local volunteers focused on reducing substance use and improving mental wellness in Montgomery County, has offered 10 resolutions you can carry with you throughout 2022 and beyond to focus on your mental health. Which will you choose?

  1. Take time each day to stop and breathe. Practicing mindfulness for 5-10 minutes each day can have a huge impact on reducing stress and anxiety and improving your mood. Find what works for you! Maybe it’s meditation, writing in a gratitude journal, or just sitting in stillness before jumping into your day-to-day activities.
  2. Unplug from your digital devices and social media. Set screen-time limits, unfollow people or pages that cause you stress or anxiety, and set up “no phone” times (like at meal times!). DigitalDetox101.org is an excellent resource to help you recognize signs of tech dependency and give tips and tricks for reducing screen time.
  3. Make time for human connection. Grab coffee with a co-worker, schedule a Zoom date with a family member, or text a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. The last two years have required us to socially distance, but it’s important to still keep our important relationships close and a support system in place.
  4. Practice grounding yourself. There are several different grounding techniques you can practice to start your day or handle moments of anxiety. One of our favorites is taking a moment to focus on your senses. Place your feet flat on the floor and focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
  5. Get out in nature. Five Rivers MetroParks offers four short, easy Mindfulness Walks where visitors will find signage inviting them to stop and engage in a variety of simple breathing and meditation activities. Mindfulness Walks can be found at Eastwood, Huffman, Possum Creek, and Sunrise MetroParks.
  6. Focus on well-rounded self-care. We need self-care in all aspects of life, but we often find ourselves lacking in one area or another. This year, try to find ways to practice self-care that fosters your physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, personal, and professional health. Visit www.preventionmc.org and click on our self-care committee’s site for examples of how to focus on each of these areas.
  7. Ask for the Alternatives. It may seem simple to grab painkillers or opioids for injuries or pain, but opioid use may be taking a toll on your mental and physical health. This year, ask your doctor for some other options! Find tips to advocate for your needs, and other examples of pain management, at AskforAlternatives.com.
  8. Find time for play. What did you love to do as a kid? What brings you true joy in life? What activity leaves you feeling energized and fulfilled? Find more time for those activities in your life, and make sure to prioritize them in your busy schedule.
  9. Explore your hometown. Find tech-free things to do in your very own Dayton, Ohio! Find a 101 Things to Do in Dayton list at DigitalDetox101.org and start exploring.
  10. Know your local resources. Download the Local Help Now app to find local substance use and mental health support services in Montgomery County. Locate support lines, find a provider and connect to community support by downloading this free app.

About the Montgomery County Prevention Coalition (MCPC): The Montgomery County Prevention Coalition is comprised of community leaders with a passion for preventing substance use and promoting positive mental health. The coalition’s mission is to mobilize Montgomery County to prevent youth substance use and promote positive mental health by implementing evidence-based prevention strategies and community collaboration. The coalition’s vision is a community where every individual lives a substance-free life with optimal mental health. Learn more about the MCPC and access free community resources at www.preventionmc.org.

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