May was Mental Health Month

As many of you may or may not be aware, May was Mental Health month in Canada.

At no time in our recent history as a nation has the reality of mental health challenges been so front and center. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lives of so many in our country. From lost lives and serious health conditions related to the virus, to loss of employment and countless families and friends coast to coast separated from each other due to restrictions necessary to stem the spread of the illness from person to person.

The resulting toll of theses realities, along with the general atmosphere of uncertainty, have placed a great strain on so many in regard to symptoms stress, depression, and anxiety. The numbers have increased substantially for many who have sought help from us at Touchstone over the last year. As a result, during this month that has ben set aside to focus on mental health in our country, we would like over the next weeks, to provide some encouragement and insight into ways to manage what you may be facing in regard to theses challenges.

Here are a few tips based on what we are seeing over the past year that might be helpful if you are looking for a place to start in moving towards improved mental health.

#1 Connecting – Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, being disconnected over the past year has probably been a challenge. Some have enjoyed working/studying at home and others not so much. Regardless, we need to be intentional about connecting on some platform or in person if possible. Conversations can be brief or lengthy but make time to talk and encourage one another. It will help! Many people around are extremely lonely and feel isolated. You may be coping well but they might not be. Helping them could also benefit you.

#2 Exercise– Even a brief 20 min walk daily will help increase endorphins and blood flow in general. Research is clear that exercise has a positive impact in reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression by increasing endorphins (your feel-good neurotransmitters) and other chemicals in the brain necessary to increase and maintain good mental health.

#3 Sleep– Netflix binging and other habits formed during this time are understandable but staying up late watching shows or on our phones or tablets seem to be consistently reported in our offices. In addition, nocturnal gaming by teens and (older teens) is wreaking havoc on sleep patterns. Get your 8 hrs of sleep and give your body good “REM” sleep (look it up) and you will help your health on many levels.

#4 Eat Healthy– Again, patterns of unhealthy eating in response to reclusive restrictions are common for many this year and the resulting weight gain for some is only increasing personal dissatisfaction. So, try to make some subtle changes towards healthier carbs and less sugar, and you will start to see an increase in energy and better overall mental well being.