SOURCE: BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services
Millions of people around the world face the reality of living with a mental health condition. Millions more are affected indirectly by mental health conditions through family, friends, coworkers, and more. That’s why we’re bringing attention to Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which happens every year on the first week of October.
While mental health is important year-round, this week is perfect to highlight mental health issues in one unified voice. Getting professional help is always recommended, but here are some tips that may help boost your mental health in your daily life.
1. Try to stay active.
Staying active is good for both the body and the brain. Regular exercise can relieve stress, improve memory, and help you sleep better which has a major impact on your mental and emotional health.
2. Talk to someone.
It always helps to talk to a friend or friendly face instead of keeping things bottled inside. Sharing your concerns, stresses, or worries with someone who cares is one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and relieve stress.
3. Learn a relaxation practice.
Pick up something like yoga, mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing because it can help reduce overall levels of stress.
4. Eat a brain-healthy diet.
Eating healthy isn’t just good for your body. There are many foods that can support your mood like fatty fish rich in omega-3s, nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts), avocados, beans, leafy greens (spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts), and fresh fruit.
5. Get a healthy night’s sleep.
Sleep matters much more than you think. It is our body and mind’s best way to recharge and rejuvenate. One tip to get a better night’s sleep is to stay away from the bright stimulation of screens (like phones, tablets, and more) hours before bedtime.
6. Interact face-to-face with others.
Always try and spend quality face-to-face time with other people, especially those you love and who give you energy.
7. Appeal to your senses.
Catering to your base senses can help ground you to reality and keep you in the present. Know of an uplifting song that makes you feel calm? Turn it on. Does squeezing a stress ball help you feel centered? Squeeze it. What about taking a walk in nature and enjoying the sights and sounds of the trees? Everyone has different things that appeal to their different senses, so find out what works best for you.
8. Prioritize leisure.
Taking breaks and having leisure time is a necessity for emotional and mental health. Make sure to make some time every day to relax and do things that make you happy, no matter how small.
9. Get help if you need it.
If you or a loved one needs support, there are many programs and resources that are available. Search for mental health locations or services in your area. There are often many free options to choose from.