It’s ok not to be ok…
It’s National Mental Health Awareness Month, so we figured it was a great time to chat mental health over here at Real Talk. Let’s face it, we are all touched by mental health challenges in one way or another. Whether it’s our own personal struggles or those of the people around us, it’s something that impacts us all. What’s more, mental health is a HUGE factor in our overall health, which is one of the many reasons we think National Mental Health Awareness Month deserves our attention.
And while those struggling with serious mental health issues should be under the care of a medical professional, there are definitely some everyday actions we can all take that can help us on the way to a healthy state of mind. Here are some of our faves.
Move yo body! Seriously, there are few things that can be counted on for shifting a funky mood like a good workout. And the science backs it up. A psychiatry study showed a “26% decrease in odds for becoming depressed for each major increase in objectively measured physical activity,” according this this article. Whether for that means a hard core gym workout or a walk around the block, the key is to just do it.
You can view our library of on-demand RXercise fitness classes on our IGTV.
From the brain to the page, our friends. There is something so incredibly therapeutic about translating the circling thoughts from your monkey mind into a journal. Write down your worries (and see how they instantly become less intimidating, or how you can suddenly see solutions to your challenges,) create an (achievable) list of daily goals, or simply write whatever comes into your mind.
MAKE YOUR SPACE BEAUTIFUL
Want to recreate that feeling of peace you feel when you walk in the woods or somewhere beautiful? Make your own living space beautiful. Whether that means finding a peaceful corner in your home that you dedicate to mindfully eating your breakfast, or you fill your home with houseplants, create a space you will love no matter how big or small.
For some inspiration, see how #RXPartner, Miquelle, made a cozy breakfast corner in her home in just under 5 minutes here.
CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF
If you’re anything like us, you talk to yourself on the regular. Make that self-talk constructive by asking yourself, “What am I doing to prioritize my mental health this week?” You’ll be surprised how much that simple check in will help you put your own needs back to the top of the list.
Love to garden, paint, cook, or dabble with Pinterest? What you waiting for?! As it turns out, “Drawing, painting, or molding objects from clay has been scientifically proven to help people to deal with different kinds of trauma,” according to this article, and we’ve all experienced the meditative effect of being “in the flow.”
MAKE MEDITATION YOUR MEDICINE
Talking of meditation… There’s a reason this simple tool shows up time and again in mental wellness guidance. It’s simple, it’s free, and it’s available to you anytime, anywhere. Even a few minutes of daily meditation can help reduce stress, so give it a go! Need some help?
Check out our RXercise Meditation class from #RXPartner, Jason, here.
POWER DOWN (your tech)
It’s tough to stay present and be mindful when we have 20 notifications firing every minute from our phones. Not to mention that FOMO we all hate to admit we experience when we scroll through social. Establish a time in the evening that you switch your phone off and stick with it. You never know, you might even pick up a book with all that new-found time…
Have you ever snapped at someone after a bad night’s sleep? That’s because sleep deprivation negatively impacts our overall mood. “Studies show that people with chronic insomnia are at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder,” so getting enough shut eye is critical to feeling strong mentally. Turn off screens an hour before bedtime, drink a calming tea, and keep your room cool and dark. Zzzzzz.
Have you noticed how gratifying it is to know you have made a positive impact in someone else's life? Turn your focus outwards to helping others -- whether that means serving food at the local homeless shelter or delivering groceries to an elderly neighbor -- and enjoy the break from worrying about yourself.
These are tough times to be social, and many of us have become more isolated than we are used to. Break out of it! Get outside for a walk with a friend or organize a picnic with your family… The key is to embrace the company of others for an instant mood boost.
And remember, you are NOT alone. Check in with a friend and let them know when you’re having a tough time, or turn to one of the many available resources here.