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Prioritizing Mental Health

Our mental and physical health should be treated equally. We spend countless dollars on our physical health from purchasing workout equipment to gym memberships and the latest gear. However, the brain is a muscle too and needs our attention and care. Healthcare experts are sounding the alarm that the post pandemic is a mental health tsunami at play. According to the American Psychological Association, stress levels are higher than they have been since the beginning of the crisis. The loss of jobs, isolation, health, loved ones and even our daily routines has increased the need for mental health care.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Established in 1949, the purpose is to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness, and to celebrate recovery from mental illness. At Anthem Strong Families (ASF) we’ve learned a lot about the integration of one’s overall health and how it can affect other healthcare outcomes like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and depression, to name a few.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Month campaign theme is #4Mind4Body and focuses on what we can do to promote mental health and wellness.  Following are 7 tools to employ to improve mindfulness and wellbeing:

  1. A well-balanced diet. Consume more whole wheat grains, greens, unprocessed foods, and unsaturated fats. Avoid greasy foods and sugars.
  2. Make sleep non-negotiable. Work backward from when you need to wake up in the morning to ensure you are getting to bed early enough to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep.
  3. Drink more water. Water, like food, is something we simply cannot live without. Drinking water makes everything in our bodies run smoothly. Make a habit of filling your water bottle every day to carry with and have fresh water when you feel thirsty.
  4. Take a break from social media and screen time. Being plugged in all the time can leave you feeling anxious and on edge. At least once a week, commit to turning your phone off or leaving it in the car during a social or solo excursion.
  5. Stay in the present moment. Adding mindfulness to your daily routine is an essential reset that relaxes and helps you get perspective.
  6. Spend time outside every day. Go for a walk right after you wake up, take your lunch to a park, or catch a sunset. Just get outdoors when you can.