May is mental health awareness month. Since most mental health related posts are simple, we decided to go in depth with some self care steps you can take to ensure your mind is looked after. With all of the current challenges in our community what with being locked down and local businesses struggling to stay afloat- this mental health awareness month is of the utmost importance. Mental health issues have spiked since the beginning of the pandemic, and we need to take the time to combat this growth with more awareness, self-love and self-care. See our steps below to best care for yourself: mind, body and soul.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health. Mentally and physically how much sleep you get plays a huge role in your body health and overall mood. Getting the optimal level of sleep improves energy throughout the day, fatigue can lead to anxiety and depression. The sleep foundation recommends that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours a night. Teens and younger children need even more sleep to help their growth and development. You can help your sleep by participating in guided meditations to calm the mind and prepare your body for the day or for rest. Care for yourself!
- Take care of your body
This aspect is seemingly broad and possibly the most difficult- making it vital. Nourish your body by giving it the healthy nutrients it needs! Whole foods that provide non-fatty protein and good carbs can go a long way towards boosting your physical and mental health. As we know, many times the two are intertwined. On top of this nourishment, you should strive to do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise or movement a day. This amazing article from the National Library of Medicine helps draw parallels between regular exercise and serotonin levels in your brain. Raising serotonin can boost your mood and well-being. Over time more serotonin also improves appetite and sleep whose benefits we have already discussed. As you will learn through this article, many of these aspects are connected!
- Consistent Schedule!
An underestimated aspect of this list is scheduling. Our body’s love routine, and flourish when shown consistency. Many aspects of our schedules have had to shift due to COVID-19 and the lockdowns, but we must work hard to keep a sense of normalcy and balance. Keeping this schedule can also help reduce anxiety, giving us something to rely on when it seems as if the world is unreliable. Even if you aren’t working, or your kids aren’t at school- wake up every morning and start your routine! This can be an easily overlooked aspect of self care especially during a stay at home order.
- Limit Time on Social + News Platforms
We must keep in mind that bad news sells! This means that there will usually be a dominant amount of negative news in the media. This is an unfortunate aspect because these media outlets have a lot of power with a huge potential for benefit if they shifted this to intentional positive news. They are paid to cover tragedy and disaster. They also tend to not always be tied to reality. Try to take a break from news and focus on yourselves- a similar break from social media can go a long way towards improving mental health. Taking a mental break to take care of your physical body can do wonders for your health.
There are many hobbies out there, and that area is growing with creativity during these lockdowns. Whether it is becoming a home virtual museum connoisseur, picking up baking (a bonus because you get to try the food), or even knitting all of these aspects bring you back to reality and give you a sense of purpose/ accomplishment. There are tons of free classes you can take online, and YouTube is full of tutorials for everything under the sun. Take a break from your daily grind and institute some hobby time!
- Be Nice to Yourself!
Everyone is in lockdown right now, you are not alone! This makes self-talk and motivation of the utmost importance. We must keep a positive mindset and strive for a healthy mind. Nobody is expecting you to be at your best, because nobody else is. We are in a collective struggle so we must band together and stay strong. Being nice to yourself is a huge act of self care. Sometimes we cannot do everything on our own, Youth Uprising provides telehealth services. Visit this page to check them out and get some confidential counselling.
- Keep Connections Alive
Be sure to stay in touch with your loved ones. Just like you, they are going through a similar but different struggle. We all need someone to check in on us and make sure we are keeping our heads above water. A simple act of kindness like this can go a long way to adding some motivation and perseverance to our friends and family’s psyche. Our elders have been cooped up for much longer than we have, it is also important to make sure parents, grandparents and older relatives are receiving positive communication.
- Visit Your Dentist
Mental and dental health are connected. They have a similar cyclical effect as your sleep and physical health. If one slips, the other tends to follow in a vicious cycle. Poor mental health can result in the neglect of oral hygiene (ie. going to bed without brushing or flossing). This can in turn affect your level of confidence and result in social anxiety and self esteem issues. If oral health and oral health issues are neglected it can lead to a longer and more expensive dental visit. You may have just needed a check up but since it has been neglected you now need a cavity to be filled!Book your appointment now.