Mental health is an often overlooked area of our overall wellbeing. The reason it gets overlooked so often is because the signs of detiorating mental health aren’t noticeable right away (if at all, because some will just brush things to the side that later grows).

Furthermore, your mental health is important because it also impacts your physical health as well. For example, stress is a known proponent and catalyst for diseases and other bodily ailments.

So protecting your mental health is something that should certainly be considered and actively monitored if you intend to take a holistic approach to your health in 2020.

I’ll start you off with 9 things. My challenge to you is to leave number 10 in the comments.

1. Eating a balanced diet

It’s no secret that the way you eat affects both your physical and mental health, and this has been scientifically proven. (Read more on this post by the Mental Health Foundation)

So make sure to eat healthily and regularly, starting from breakfast which can improve your mood and spirit.

You can also eat fish as it has a mood-boosting effect as well. But avoid eating sugary foods for a fast energy recovery since the vitality you get from such foods won’t last long, but the anxiety that it brings probably will. Other things to avoid are processed foods, additives, and pesticides; they can cause low mood and depression.

2. Staying active

Get active and you will find more enthusiasm for life. Regular exercise is good for lifting your mood and making you feel better about yourself. On top of that, it also helps improve your physical health. Although it may be challenging to take the time to exercise in the midst of a busy day, you can always do it if you have the will to stay in balance.

Make it simple with small steps you can take every day. You can – for example – walk for 10 minutes during a lunch break, walk for short distances instead of using your vehicle, skip the elevator and use the stairs, or do some gardening. Such activities are simple yet powerful motivational means that are suitable for anyone.

In other words, do a meaningful activity that will make you enjoy life more. It should be something easy to do but will make you feel more alive. It can be as simple as going for a walk, a run, or maybe cycling or swimming.

3. Allowing yourself to relax

Give yourself some time each day to just relax and enjoy life – even if it’s only 30 minutes. You could do it by watching a soccer match (which would take twice 45 minutes, but that’s fine), or reading a book, talking to friends, having a shower, or simply playing a PC game. During this short time, let yourself unwind and get a mental recharge.

4. Drinking more water

Try to replace most of the beverages you drink with water. Yes, drink a lot of pure water every day, at least one and a half glass each time, especially in the morning after you wake up and when your stomach is still empty. Then give it an hour or so before you eat your meal. This way your body will absorb enough of water, which will make you feel more refreshed and healthy both physically and mentally.

5. Living life to the fullest

This one was inspired by Knowledge For Men’s post on living life to the fullest. I suggest you take a read after you’re finished here.

It’s time leave the past, detach from excessive worries about the future, and embrace the now. The present moment is what you have, so you should make the most of it. Set realistic goals to be achieved, remember them, and work towards them. Don’t give up even if you make mistakes or fail. You can always learn and improve. Always do useful things every day no matter how small it is.

Furthermore, do some things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t or didn’t for whatever reason. To ensure you take action on this, I suggest setting targets early in the year (the earlier the better) because once it’s past the half way mark, too many new variables will have been introduced into your life that will cause you to perpetually push your dream to “next year”.

6. Smile at yourself

Unquestionably, it’s very important to accept yourself. Recognize who you are and value yourself. You can express this by smiling every time you wake up in the morning and when you see yourself in the mirror. Just a little smile, but when you do it regularly, it will eventually create a big impact. Unconsciously, you will feel happier than before and have more confidence in yourself. In addition, you can also smile at others to spread the joy, this will open your mind to receiving even more happiness.

7. Getting enough sleep

Sleep is one of the most essential parts of our lives. It’s the way our body rests and restores energy. A healthy sleep cycle will make sure that your body gets a proper rest and will be ready for the next day.

8. Helping yourself

Always decide to support yourself in a positive way. Encourage yourself to make a difference instead of rushing to self-criticism. You should celebrate your uniqueness and make the most of what you have to improve yourself every day, in every way possible.

9. Helping others

Believe it or not, helping others is one of the best things you can do for your own mental health. Doing something good for someone else is such a honorable act that it will automatically make you a honorable person. Furthermore, it helps you feel good, knowing that your presence has value not only for yourself, but also for others. Even doing something kind to a stranger will immediately make you feel more positive.