Moving Forward and Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Photo by: Natalie Draycott
As we move through these challenging times it is important that we remember to care for both our mental and physical health. The last couple of years have been challenging and many of us have felt overwhelmed amongst other things at times. Now, it looks like there is more change coming our way, which may be welcome for some and difficult for others. Here are some ideas for you to consider in helping you to move forward while keeping in mind the importance of your overall well-being.
Remember your Value:
Be kind to yourself and others. Avoid negative self-talk, practice self-acceptance and
appreciation. Practice positive self-talk, gratitude journaling and acknowledgment of your
worth and value.
Care for your Physical well-being:
Eat well and be aware of the importance of nutrition
Drink plenty of water
Get enough sleep
Support and Relationships:
There is plenty of research to support the importance and value of friendship, family and other relationships for the support of our mental health. Relationships are very important, and many have told us how much they have missed that connection in their lives. As restrictions evolve, we have the opportunity to reconnect and spend time with those we have missed and perhaps felt distanced from.
Deal with Stress:
Stress is part of our lives, in varying degrees, for each of us. Remember the importance of
cultivating good coping skills. It may be beneficial to boost your exercise routine, maybe go for a walk (perhaps with a friend), run, go to the gym or take a yoga class, whatever suits your lifestyle and schedule. Journaling is a valuable tool to reduce stress and focus on the good, joy and potential in life. Laughter is an excellent way to ease your mind, reduce your stress and shift your perspective to a more positive direction.
Give your Mind a Break:
Your brain could probably use a break if you are like many of us and have felt the stress associated with the expectations of life including work, family and relationships. Mediation is a powerful tool to help you relax your mind and body. This can help you cope with
daily challenges both physical and mental by reducing the physiological symptoms associated with anxiety, stress and other things that effect our well-being. Guided meditation is a great way to start the practice of meditation. Find something that resonates with you and your needs. There are numerous APPS focused on meditation or perhaps search Youtube for guided meditations that are relaxing and comforting for you.
Goals, keep them Realistic:
Goals are important, whether professional, personal or academic but need to be reachable. Develop a plan for achieving them but be realistic while challenging yourself. There is a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment as we see progress and realization of our goals.
“Variety is the Spice of Life, that gives it all its flavour” (William Cowper):
Many of us have struggled with routine, whether it be the monotony of being at home more than ever or missing the socialization of co-workers, friends or family. Routine is important and has value and for some, it offers comfort, efficiency and for some, security. A simple change in our daily routines can modify our perspective on life and lift our mood. That might include, a walk, developing a new skill, hobby or interest. A slight shift in our day can lift and improve our mood and enhance our well-being.
Reach out, Get help if you need it, Talk to others:
It isn’t easy to reach out for help, it takes strength. Whether you reach out to your partner, a family member, friend or a professional for support, it is important. Sharing your concerns, feelings and/or needs with others will help you feel better. We all need someone to listen and talk to at times, that is normal, not a sign of weakness but of strength. Please feel free to reach out to those around you or a professional if you feel the need. My colleagues and I would be happy to speak with you.
*Adapted from Student Life/University Health Service/University of Michigan
Natalie Draycott, MACP, is experienced in the areas of anxiety, depression, and relationships, plus many more. For more information about Natalie and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.