How to help your friends & family with their physical & mental health

At this time of year, I'm usually writing about personal new year's resolutions and how to achieve your own physical and mental goals. However, this year, I'm suggesting something different - that not only helps you but supports the people you love too...

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Happy January everyone! How’s it going for you so far? Did you make any new year’s resolutions that you’ve stuck to? Or have you changed your mind about them already?

If you have decided not to continue with your new year’s resolutions, that’s perfectly fine – and absolutely normal. According to statistics from multiple yearly surveys, most of us will have dropped at least one new year’s resolution by the time we reach February, if not sooner.

There are many reasons why new year’s resolutions fail so, being aware that new year’s resolutions are flexible can make you feel better if you decide not to proceed with one or more of your goals. That said, I’ve come up with a way that can help you become more likely to achieve your goals – and that’s by helping others.

Imagine this: You want to improve your health this year, and your friend does too. So, if you team up and commit to doing physical activities together throughout the year, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and actually show up for them and for yourself.

In the past, you may have been willing to skip workouts or choose to stay home rather than head to the gym but, if your friend is waiting for you to arrive at a class or to go for a walk, you’ll have to either actually call them and let them down, or just bite the bullet and turn up. Considering that you ideally want to make a change, I think I’d be more likely to just do it. Plus, you know you’ll feel better afterwards.

But it’s not just exercising when it’s good to have a ‘health buddy’. It can carry through into all areas of your life. For example, if a family member is suffering from a condition and would benefit from a few healthy changes to improve it, you can help them do that. And focusing on the health of another person that you care about will make you more likely to show up for them.

For example, you can look up their condition to find out how to help someone after surgery or to find out what is epilepsy or asthma, so that you can be best placed to support them. Then, the two of you can do suitable activities together or, if it’s someone in your family, you can figure out a meal plan or a helpful routine.

Plus, looking out for your family’s health or working out with a partner can actually strengthen your bond and help to improve the happiness of everyone involved. And that leads us nicely on to mental health support.

I don’t know about you, but I find January and February to be particularly difficult months of the year. The days are darker, the weather cold and it feels like the year takes a while to get going. Energy is lacking and motivation is low – so it’s no wonder that many resolutions are ditched during these months. In fact, I’ve previously written about why it’s a good idea to start your new year’s resolutions in the spring instead.

While it’s something that many people are now willing to talk about, mental health is not always discussed within the family, between parents and children, or in groups of friends. But the most important first step in improving mental health is to speak about it.

That’s the best way to get support or to help others. Even if none of your friends or family is currently struggling mentally, you can all work together to maintain that healthy mental situation throughout the year. You can meet up regularly to talk (and maybe get moving!), which helps you to stay connected, reduce loneliness and boost happiness.

Which links nicely back to exercising together, as exercise has plenty of benefits for mental health, such as easing stress and trauma reactions, reducing the symptoms of ADHD and relieving anxiety. The mental and physical benefits of doing things together with your friends or family not only support them but massive benefit YOU, too.

And, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a happier and healthier year? I hope you’ll consider teaming up with a friend, a relative, a group of pals, your household or extended family to support each other to achieve your physical and mental health goals this year. Let me know in the comments below what ways you’ve been looking after yourself and your loved ones – I’d love to hear your ideas.

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This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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