Though not easy, physical health is a lot more approachable to identify issues and make improvements. Mental health can be much more complex and is often ignored but it is so important. Like when we make a diet or exercise commitment to just feel healthy, taking action towards mental health does not mean something must be very wrong. One does not have to be “depressed” or “crazy”. They are efforts to improve and maintain a system that we greatly depend on to get us through every day – tactics for making life easier and better. Just like you would keep feeding anything to your hurting stomach. If your mind isn’t feeling at its best, stop and give it some peace and rehab time.
This post was inspired by a card distributed by volunteers of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). I was one of few people who actually read the card and I wanted to share what it showed me. It indicated that the lifestyles we maintain have made us more prone to developing mental health issues and they are not getting the importance that they require:
- 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness at some point in their life.
- 2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection.
- At any given time, almost 3 million Canadians have serious depression.
- Mental illness is NOT a form of weakness.
- You CAN recover from mental illness.
This problem is not prevalent only in Canada. The evolution of lifestyles has given way to an increase in mental health issues around the world. We can recognize and easily address these issues with little positive changes. On the other side, the card gave 10 Tips for Optimal Mental Health:
- Build confidence.
- Eat right, keep fit.
- Make time for family and friends.
- Give and accept support.
- Create a meaningful budget.
- Manage stress.
- Find strength in numbers.
- Identify and deal with moods.
- Learn to be at peace with yourself.
- BONUS TIP: Exchange some hugs.
These are great suggestions. Improving mental health is not easy but making these little loving habits a part of your life will definitely help.
On the other hand, mostly ignored, my own struggles with mental health have grown in the past few months. I kept thinking they would pass but they just didn’t. If you want to read more about my struggle, I did a post on What My Depression Looks Like. Exactly as with our physical health, symptoms and ailments can manifest very differently. So, there is the take on my own most prevalent challenges.
Now for the good news! Thanks to the CMHA, I discovered a free program offered here for people with mild depression, stress and anxiety. It helps to understand, relate and provide possible resolutions. It is a few steps before one-on-one professional therapy. Here, we can try to resolve our issues more independently with proven theories and some coaches to help us to stick to the program. I just started it this morning with my first call and am expecting my first set of reading/workbooks in the mail next week. I have my first goals set, for now specific to making sure I commit to the program so that I can get real benefits from it. I will definitely be circling back soon to tell you more about what happens and hopefully to report some progress and mental health improvement on my end. I do know that my biggest asset at this point is that I have some hope that things can get better and I am determined to see myself through to better times.
Have you or someone you know struggled with mental health issues or tried to improve them? What do you think of the CMHA tips? Is there anything you would add to the advice for day-to-day mental health?
Click here to learn more about The Momentum Project.