Smile....It's Mental Health Awareness Month!!
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Just like our physical health, our emotional and mental health requires attention. Unfortunately, mental health doesn’t get the same attention that physical ailments get, but this month let’s talk about it. Taking care of our physical health impacts our mental health Research has shown chronic illness and a co-diagnosis of depression and anxiety are common (CDC, 2021). Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, cancer, and COPD have high rates of scoring positive or at risk for mental health conditions. For all of those listed above the rate is over 70% with the exception of COPD which is 80% (MHA, 2021). The body and mind are one, so let’s care for them both.
This week on the Counselor’s Couch, I’ll share small manageable steps we can take to promote mental health. Take a look below.
Turn off that late night Netflix series and get some sleep.
Good sleep is the foundation for a healthy mind and body. See a doctor if you always feel tired after waking, or if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep.
Remember you have food at home, skip the line at your favorite fast-food place.
Eating a quick service food isn’t the end of the world, but the quality of food you eat on a daily can impact your overall physical and mental health. Highly processed food has little nutritional value and can increase the risk of developing depression by as much as 60% (MHA, 2021).
And…no popcorn doesn’t count as meal. Try to eat at least 2 full meals a day.
As yummy as popcorn is, a full range of vegetables, fruits and grains decreases the likelihood of depression by up to 35% (MHA, 2021).
Stay active, run/walk away from toxic thinking, toxic people and toxic discussion.
Just one hour of exercise a week is related to lower levels of anxiety and depressed mood. Just 15 minutes of vigorous exercise 4 times a week can get you the recommended amount (MHA, 2021).
Interact with positive people and stay present in the conversation
Connect with positive people, developing strong social relationships can increase the likelihood of a longer life by 50%. Strong social support helps increase your ability to recover from mental illnesses and improves the ability to bounce back from stress. (MHA,2021).
Take some time for your self-daily… 5-10 minutes can do the trick just as much as 60minutes.
As much as 10-20 minutes a day of self-care time can bring relief from chronic stress, “zoning out” is a great way to relax.
**If you are taking steps to care for your mind and body, but still feel like you are struggling with your mental health please reach out to your primary health care physician or mental health professional for an assessment and recommendation for treatment.
Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/mental-health.htm
Mental Health America: https://www.mhanational.org/