Mental health and wellness encompasses a huge range of topics. In fact, the World Health Organization’s definition of health includes mental health: “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
In other words, being healthy is more than just not being sick – it is being well and in balance.
So, how do we maximize our mental health? The Canadian Mental Health Association has Ten Tips for Mental Health that are a useful guideline for what we can all do each and every day to care for ourselves and maintain our well-being. Here are the first five:
Identify your abilities and challenges together, accept them, build on them, and do your best. When faced with difficulties, think about what skills and qualities you have that will help you cope and manage rather than focusing on what you won’t be able to do. There are times when we will all feel like we’ve messed up or failed, and solid wellness and resilience will help prevent these feelings from enduring and affecting us long-term.
Eat right, Keep fit
A balanced diet, exercise, and rest can help you to reduce stress and enjoy life. Mental health and physical health really are intertwined – mental health problems have physical symptoms, and physical health difficulties can likewise affect our thoughts and feelings. Strive to eat well, stay active, and get enough sleep regularly, particularly if you are experiencing extra stress or other demands or challenges. Listen to your body and your mind and make caring for yourself a priority.
Make Time for Family and Friends
“Make time” is the key here, not “find time”. We seldom “find” time – if something matters to us, we need to prioritize it and carve out time for it. Think about the people in your life who get you, lift you up, make you laugh, and listen to you when you need an open ear. Nurture these relationships and connect regularly.
Give and Accept Support
Some relationships will thrive during tough times while others may not fare so well. Know the people you can count on for the kind of support that matters to you, whether it’s a talk over coffee, a shoulder to cry on, or a chance to vent. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need – if you’ve had a bad day and want to meet a friend to talk about it, say so, and show appreciation for your friend’s support. And be that same support for people in your life. Listen to them without judging and encourage them to seek out other help for problems as needed. Even just saying “I am here for you” can go a long way to comforting them.
Create a Meaningful Budget
Oh, yes – money and stress can definitely go together! If financial problems are contributing to worry, relationship troubles, or other concerns, give some thought to your spending. There are all manner of strategies for creating a budget, such as spreadsheets, using only cash, and recording your spending to identify “wants” vs. “needs” and prioritize your purchases. While we can’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t spend your money on, we can say that if you’re concerned about money or having trouble keeping up financially or managing money-related issues, take a step in a positive direction by setting and sticking to a workable budget or consulting with a professional.
Stay tuned to our blog for 5 more tips for mental health!