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Mental Health Matters

Everyone has a story and no two stories are identical, however each have similarities that connect us. At some point in our lives we will either be personally affected or know someone who has had a mental illness. Mental health affects who we are as people both at work and at home. At work, poor mental health can make us less productive and will result in an increased amount of days spent at home sick. If you work in the construction or electrical field, poor mental health could affect your safety on the job site. Not focusing on the task at hand, can lead to poor decisions being made that could ultimately cost you your life. At home, poor mental health can take us away from our responsibilities and commitments to our families. All around, mental health affects how we carry ourselves through each and every day.

Throughout the day there are many things we can do to keep a positive attitude and reduce stress that we may feel in our lives. While the below are great ways to help reduce daily stress and anxiety, they are not to replace getting medical advice from a licensed professional, or to replace a prescribed medication. If you are feeling overwhelmed, make an appointment to talk to your doctor today. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do daily to help reduce stress from day to day activities.

-       Let’s start with when you wake up in the morning. The first thing you can do to help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety is a gratitude journal. Have you ever written down what you are thankful for and why? Start each day expressing gratitude for two things that you could not imagine life without. This will help you have a positive attitude and outlook on life. Focus on what you have now, instead of what you don’t.

-       Make healthy food choices. Often times when we are stressed or not feeling our best, we turn to junk food and snack options, or just skip a meal altogether. This does not actually help in the long run and could actually be a contributing factor to how we feel. Try reaching for foods rich in magnesium and fibre to help you feel like yourself again. Fruits and vegetables should be our friends!

-       So, you have been at work for four hours now, and the pile on your desk hasn’t moved? Do not think about getting through it on lunch. Working through lunch “to catch up” is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves. You need to take that break to get away from everything. Good break ideas include sitting in the lunch room away from a screen and talking with your co-workers. Find out what is going on in their lives outside of work, you could be helping someone else just by talking to them. Going for a fifteen-minute walk is another amazing lunch idea! Just fifteen minutes of activity will get your heart beat up and give your brain the break it deserves. It will help you feel refreshed, and put you in an overall better mood. If the sun is shining this is an added bonus! Soak up that vitamin D, and feel your body smile.   

-       If you typically reach for an alcoholic beverage to take the edge off after a long day, consider how it actually makes you feel long-term. Why not try a hot beverage like a hot cup of herbal tea to help relax your muscles before falling asleep at night? Chamomile is said to help relax the nerves and muscles, and that it also has antidepressant qualities. Drinking tea also has other calming qualities like, the warm mug in your hand, and the hypnotic dipping of the tea bag in and out of the water, are just to name a few.

-       Netflix is definitely not endorsing this post. Turn off your TV before bed! Try reading a book and getting lost in a good story, or colouring. These activities give you something to focus on and don’t allow your mind to wander somewhere it shouldn’t. Both of these activities also give you something to look forward to at the end of the day! It’s a nice way to forget about all the little things that happened throughout the day that do not have a large impact on your life.

-       Sleep is so important to our overall health and yet not enough people get the amount of time that they should. Make a bedtime ritual, and make sure you are in bed with the lights out by a certain time each night. Put your phone to the side, and don’t let the last thing you look at be your emails.

-       Let the most important thing on this list be to talk to friends and family. Talking about what you are going through and feeling, may be very difficult at first but once you start you will feel the weight of the world lift off of your shoulders. Talk to someone you know you can trust, and who you know is there for you. If you feel like you can’t share what you are going through with your closest friend, make an appointment to talk to a medical professional. Know that you are not alone and that people want to help. If you are someone who notices that a close friend of yours is acting different, or you know they are going through something, make it a point to let them know that you are there to listen to them.

Take some time today to think about your mental health, and the mental health of everyone around you. When was the last time you were kind to someone? When was the last time you were kind to yourself? For more information and resources please visit letstalk.bell.ca


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