Five simple and sustainable changes to improve your mood this year

The beginning of a new year is often an opportunity to rethink old habits and make some positive changes. That’s why many of us set resolutions but by February, you might be feeling deflated as you haven’t been able to stick to them.

This tends to happen because we make big resolutions such as giving up sugar altogether or exercising every day. While we have good intentions, these drastic changes can be difficult to maintain.

There are many minor habits that are easy to implement and can have a positive effect on your mood and overall mental health. This may be particularly beneficial at this time of year when the cold weather can make us feel deflated.

Here are five simple, sustainable ways to improve your mood and promote good mental health this year.

1. Vary your diet

Dieting is a very common change that people want to make. Eating well can improve your physical health and support your mental health too. However, restrictive dieting is difficult to maintain and can cause feelings of guilt or low self-worth if you slip up.

Instead, try changing your attitude towards eating and simply vary your diet as much as possible. This takes the pressure off and leaves you plenty of freedom, and it could do wonders for your health too.

Varying your diet has been shown to improve your gut health and the British Heart Foundation recommends trying to eat 30 different types of fruits and vegetables each week. This could help feed the gut microbiome and reduce your chances of serious health issues such as heart disease.

There is also strong evidence to suggest that your gut health affects your mental health. According to Harvard Health, there is a two-way connection between the brain and the gut. Stress and anxiety can cause digestive issues but, equally, problems with your gut microbiome could contribute to poor mental health.

By making simple swaps to vary your diet more, you could improve your gut health and this may have a profound effect on your mood and overall wellbeing.

2. Reduce your screentime

Spending too much time on your phone could affect your mood and physical health. A study reported by Psychology Today found that excessive phone use is linked to depression and anxiety, and it can also cause problems with your back and neck.

Time spent on your phone may also take away from more positive activities such as exercising or engaging in hobbies.

We rely on our phones a lot in the modern world, so we can’t always avoid using them altogether. But a small reduction in your screentime could make a big difference to your mental health.

Consider using an app that limits the time you can spend on your phone. This is a good way to avoid distractions during work hours and cut your screentime. Even a small reduction is positive, so don’t feel the need to stop using your phone altogether.

3. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day

A regular sleep schedule is one of the best ways to promote good mental health as lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your mood.

There are many factors that could affect the quality of your sleep but maintaining a regular schedule is a relatively simple way to make improvements.

Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day sets your circadian rhythm or “body clock” so you naturally fall asleep easier. You may also find that you’re more energised in the morning and your overall mood is better.

4. Write a journal

Excess stress is often the cause of poor mental health and lack of energy. When work or other life responsibilities pile up, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and when left unchecked, this can lead to more serious mental health problems.

Writing a daily journal is a simple change that could help you alleviate some of that stress. Putting your thoughts down on paper could be a useful way to organise them and leave stress behind you. It may also help you identify specific aspects of your life that are causing you the most tension.

Research from Cambridge University also revealed that expressive writing can have a positive effect on both physical and psychological health, especially when writing about difficult experiences.

Spending 10 to 15 minutes writing your thoughts about the day in a journal could give you clarity and perspective, and help you manage your emotions more effectively. This could lead to a marked improvement in your mood.

5. Stretch daily

You hold stress and tension in your body and if you have poor mental health, you may also experience tight muscles. Chronic muscle tension can also trigger stress responses in the brain and body, increasing feelings of anxiety.

You may be able to prevent this by doing some simple stretches every day. Consistency is typically more important than quantity when stretching, so even a few minutes when you wake up or before you go to bed can make a difference.

Being able to touch your toes is a good measure of how flexible you are, so this may be a useful goal.

Get in touch

Email us at for more information or to book an appointment with one of our advisers.

Posted in Internal.