January is National Mental Wellness Month. We often discuss the challenges associated with mental illnesses. Mental health is similar to physical health in some ways in that it’s possible to provide yourself with preventative care. This type of care promotes mental wellness and helps minimize the chance that mental illnesses will develop in the first place. Simply existing is not necessarily promoting mental wellness any more than simply sitting promotes physical fitness.
That’s one of the things that National Mental Wellness Month is all about: We should all do what we can to help ourselves feel good about things in general. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and to simply not take care of ourselves in this regard. We hope the awareness behind National Mental Wellness Month prompts some people to incorporate healthy steps into their routines that will improve their lives. Below are 5 ideas to consider for you or a loved one that could help with mental wellness.
Decompress To Start and End Your Day
Far too many of us are all too familiar with the notion of leaping out of bed when our alarm goes off and then sprinting into our day without a moment of peace or reflection. The same thing happens at the end of the day, as too many people will fall asleep on the couch or lying in bed just trying to catch their breath after an exhausting and non-stop day.
This does not promote mental wellness. We would all be very well served to take even just 10 or 15 minutes at the start and end of each day to decompress. That may seem impossible, but it can be done even if you’re extremely busy. If you make the time at the beginning and end of each day to think about positive things and relax, it can make a difference with your mental wellness.
“Unplugging” Can Promote Mental Wellness
Think about the things that we make sure to have with us whenever we leave home or the office: our keys, our wallets, and… our smart devices. That wasn’t the case 20 years ago, but really, at this point, most people would rather lose their wallets than their phones, which should tell us how important our connection to the world and everything within this virtual universe is in our minds.
During National Mental Wellness Month, see if you can find even 30 minutes or one hour per day to unplug from your phone or tablet. Leave social media and other forms of media behind. Focus on you and the real world around you. There are mountains of literature out there that discuss the link between getting away from these things and improved mental health over time. Give it a try.
Give Yourself a “You” Night
A lot of us spend almost all of our daily lives providing for others. This support can include any or all of the following types of support:
- Day-day, such as cooking/cleaning/laundry
It’s selfless and noble to dedicate oneself to helping others, but it can also take an extreme toll on a person’s mental wellness. It’s far too easy to lose sight of oneself and to ultimately fail to provide ourselves with the care that we need so we can continue to provide that support to others.
During National Mental Wellness Month, try to find one night per week – or even an hour or two if an entire evening is not possible – to dedicate to yourself. You deserve it, and we all need to be good to ourselves. You can celebrate yourself by making your favorite dinner or going to your favorite restaurant. Watch your favorite movie with some popcorn or go and visit with a good friend to talk about the good things you’re doing with yourself. Several studies have shown that treating yourself with compassion brings numerous health benefits.
Share Your Own Time
If you find that you actually have time to spare every now and then, perhaps you could make use of it to provide not only others, but yourself with some mental wellness benefits. You could do so by finding 30 minutes or one hour per week volunteering in some capacity. Examples of things a person could do include:
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen
- Walking dogs at the shelter
- Reading for children at the local library
Once again, the possibilities are basically limitless. As is the case with all of the other mental wellness examples provided here, sharing your time and giving of yourself can provide a person with both physical and mental wellness benefits. Several studies have defined this potential link.
Protect Your Sleep
We mentioned the benefits of unwinding at the end of the day and easing into your day above. One of the most positive results is that people who try to go to sleep in a peaceful state of mind tend to enjoy more success with falling asleep and enjoying restful sleep. The importance of this cannot be overstated, as the link between healthy sleep and mental wellness has been documented for years.
Therefore, it may be worthwhile to consider adjusting your schedule if necessary to make sure that you have enough time for a proper amount of sleep. That specific amount can vary for every individual, but there are guidelines out there that can help you to at least formulate an idea of how to organize your sleep schedule. Generally, you should give your sleep the same priority you do eating, grooming or anything else you do on a daily basis.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
We hope that National Mental Wellness Month brings about positive results for everyone who makes an effort to improve their status in this regard. Almost everyone could use a bit of focus when it comes to exercise, nutrition and other aspects of life, and mental wellness is no different.
If you find yourself or someone you love struggling with mental wellness, you should not hesitate to contact us for help. We will listen to you situation and recommend next steps that, whether it involves us or not, will be geared towards getting you the help you need. Contact us today if you think it’s time to get that assistance.