Your mental and emotional health determines how well you bounce back from disappointments, hurts, trauma, and betrayal. It directly impacts your well-being. Mental and emotional health in turmoil can make a person physically ill.
For example, suppose you develop anxiety from too much stress over a long period. In that case, you might experience headaches, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, insomnia, and irritability.
To keep your well-being at optimal levels, consider setting goals for your mental and emotional health.
Examples of goal setting for mental and emotional health.
You might set goals and resolutions every New Year’s Day. Maybe you plan to lose weight, declutter the house, or take a cruise. But have you ever set goals to improve your mental and emotional health? Our ability to process information and manage our emotions will carry us further in life than dropping a few pounds, cleaning the house, or traveling around the world.
The following are examples of how to set goals to improve your health using the SMART method of goal setting. These goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
Make exercise essential.
Endorphins are friends when it comes to our mental and emotional health. These chemicals, as well as dopamine and serotonin, release when we make exercise an essential part of our day. Working out can ease tense muscles, boost confidence and self-esteem, and improve body composition. It also reduces anxiety and depression. You can even think clearer after a sweaty workout session.
Goal examples: I will walk two miles every morning this week for 30 minutes. I will follow along with a weight training program on my tablet every morning at 5:00 a.m. in the family room.
Plan social events with friends.
Isolation was difficult for many people at the start of the pandemic. Are you still isolating? Do you tell yourself false stories like “No one ever wants to go to the dances with me?” This means recognizing when we lie to ourselves because we don’t want to face a painful truth.
Check online and at the library for local events. Do you like Christmas lights throughout the historic district? Find plays, concerts, or game nights at your local community center, then consider your friends’ interests. Would they be willing to go with you?
Goal examples: I will attend the play the night it premieres at the local theater with my book club group. I will schedule one social event in my planner per month and invite a friend to join me.
Schedule time for fun.
What do you like to do for fun? Have you done the activity in the last week? What about in the last month? Life bombards us with commitments and responsibilities, and we forget to take time out for ourselves and just have fun. Is there an activity that you feel you were born to do?
For example, maybe your favorite activity is surfing, but you haven’t gone in two years because of work. Schedule a day to spend in the ocean on your board. You might be surprised at how well you can manage stress after you return.
Goal examples: I will spend a three-day weekend next week surfing every day. I will work on my novel’s work-in-progress every Monday and Tuesday for three hours starting at 10:00 a.m. at my desk.
Create a bedtime routine.
Your days are probably filled to the brim with family, work, housework, kids’ schoolwork, aging parents, commuting to work and back, church, and other responsibilities. All of this is both a blessing and a toll on your mental and emotional health. You need time after the kids are in bed to unwind.
Your personalized bedtime routine will look different from your best friend’s or your mother’s. Your nightly routine gives you a sense of peace in this season of your life. For example, after the kids go to bed, maybe you lay out your outfit for work the next day, take a warm shower, massage collagen lotion into your skin, then climb into bed and listen to ten minutes of meditation before falling asleep.
Keep your nightly routine fluid and be willing to adapt. Your routine during perimenopause will look different than the routine you need at 80 years old.
Goal examples: I will create a five-step bedtime routine and be in bed by 10:00 p.m. every night. I will drink a cup of tea as I read a book before bed and turn off the lights by 10:30 p.m.
Volunteer to help others.
Would you like a salve to help heal mental and emotional wounds? When we serve others and remove the focus from our own inner turmoil, we find that by blessing other people, we are, in fact, boosting our mental health.
Generosity and kindness lift our spirits. Even if we start out dreading a volunteer position, if we put a smile on our faces and observe how our presence is helping others, we will forget about our reservations.
Volunteering also boosts our self-confidence. Do you want to learn leadership skills for your career? Watch how the organizer of a charity event handles the flow of people and volunteers. These people are excellent examples of those who put their talents to good use for the Lord.
For example, if you volunteer at a Christmas coat drive but dread serving because you will need to stand in the cold, pause, and observe the people coming out to the drive. You may see men, women, and children who desperately need coats to go to work and school. When you see the smiles on their faces, you may forget about why you were dreading working the drive.
Goal examples: I will volunteer to work with a charity organization once every three months. I will travel out of state with a construction ministry every May to build houses for the less fortunate.
Learn something new.
When we do the same things day in and day out, we become stagnant. Our minds naturally crave knowledge and challenges, and when we don’t answer that call, we become depressed and discontent. To avoid these feelings, make it a point to learn something new. You can set a goal to learn a new subject every month, quarter, or year.
For example, maybe you want to learn a foreign language over the next 12 months. You can take a class in person or virtually. You can place yourself in environments where you will hear more of that language spoken. If you decide to learn Spanish, then in a few weeks of studying the basics, you might have dinner at your favorite Mexican restaurant that you know is owned by native Spanish speakers.
Goal examples: I will learn American Sign Language this year to communicate with my next-door neighbor, who is deaf. Over the next six months, I will complete a course on Irish history and culture to understand my heritage better.
Meet with a counselor.
Consider meeting with a counselor if you have something weighing heavily on your heart and mind. Having an unbiased third party to listen really helps you to process events and situations and understand people’s motives. In addition, a counselor provides a safe place to share your worries, fears, and doubts.
Your licensed counselor knows what therapy techniques will help your specific situation. Many people like that you don’t have to attend sessions forever. Depending on your mental and emotional health, you might only participate in four to twenty face-to-face or virtual sessions.
Goal examples: I will research counselors in my area this weekend and send a contact form. I will schedule time in my planner to meet with my counselor every Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Do you need a counselor for your mental and emotional health?
If you need a counselor to help you nurture your mental and emotional health, give us a call today. We can schedule an appointment between you and a licensed counselor specializing in improving well-being and helping people reach the peak of their mental health.
“Feelings”, Courtesy of Brock Wegner, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Standing on the Dock”, Courtesy of Andreas Dress, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Mindfulness”, Courtesy of Lesly Juarez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sitting Among the Flowers”, Courtesy of Melissa Askew, Unsplash.com, CC0 License