Engaging young people in advocacy, education & prevention
Creating social change around alcohol, drugs, and more

Tips for a Happy, Healthy New Year!

December 28, 2017 11:43 am Published by Comments Off on Tips for a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Here at Straight Up, we advocate for a lot of things but especially mental health and well-being. Mind and body go hand in hand and it’s important not to neglect either. You’ve likely made your New Years resolutions by now but if you’re still on the hunt, look no further! Don’t feel obligated to take on all the things because overloading is a quick way to burn out, but adopting any of these habits or sampling several will certainly benefit you in the new year.


  1. Meditate
    Overwhelmed? Try to commit to just 5 minutes a day. Meditation isn’t holistic voodoo magic. It is scientifically proven to decrease anxiety and depression and improve memory and focus (among many other things) – and our primary aversion to it is simply that it’s unfamiliar (or boring).
  2. Volunteer – 
    It’s great for your brain to get outside of yourself. We often get so caught up in our own worries and obligations that we wall ourselves off in our own little universe. Volunteering is, of course, about helping others but it would be silly to see that as the only benefit. Doing for others feels good and proves that you have the power to make a difference. Volunteering directly correlates to positive feelings of self worth and is also a wonderful way to meet new people.
  3. Break up the routine –
    Ever feel like your trapped in Groundhog’s Day? – Living the same cycle over and over and over again? Making a small change to your day or planning something bigger like a roadtrip are an insta-perk up. A solid routine is great for feelings of security and safety but sometimes you need a little jolt. Change your jogging route, see a movie, paint the bathroom, the world is your oyster!
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help –
    Maybe you’ve got bigger fish to fry. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness and a good therapist is priceless. If you are struggling, give yourself the love you deserve and reach out.
    WebMD states:

“According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 19 million Americans are living with depression right now. And treatment works. The National Mental Health Association says that more than 80% of people who get treatment say it helps. If you stick with it, the odds are very good that you will feel better.”

If you don’t have insurance or the cost is too high, there are free clinics that offer mental health services. If you live in Ventura County, see Westminster Free Clinic or the Free Clinic of Simi Valley (to name a few).


  1. Get those vitamins – 
    Nutrition is important for you mind and body. A healthy diet is life-changing. Feel like you never have enough energy? Eat some vegetables. Always waking up with aches and pains? You should probably stretch and, depending on the severity, see someone about that, but getting essential nutrients has the potential to cure and prevent an immense multitude of ailments.
  2. Drink more water –
    Water’s not exciting – We can probably all agree on that, but it is easy to add more of it to our lives. And it doesn’t hurt to feel good and look good.
  3. Sleep! –
    How we spend our time is where we place our priorities and not enough of us are taking sleep seriously. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep to function at their peak and the benefits are tenfold. Arianna Huffington gives a great TED talk on how getting enough sleep changed everything for her.
  4. Exercise –
    You don’t have to adopt that gym rat life. Even a walk is great for maintaining your weight, improving your mood, and increasing your bone and muscle strength. Exercise is an incredible tool for mental wellness, quality of sleep, and overall health. Visit Healthline’s top 10 list of benefits here.