Mental Health Month

SidhasanaEven though we are already 23 days into the month of May, I wanted to highlight that it’s Mental Health Month.

This year’s theme is “Pathway to Wellness,” which is meant to create awareness of positive choices that lead to a more successful existence and well-being.

Personally it has been a challenging month for me and an even more difficult year. However, I think the key is turning the negative things that happen to us into positives. May sound crazy or even impossible, but if you can look for even the smallest thing that is a positive in a negative situation or even remind yourself, “That it could always be worse.” You will eventually find yourself laughing at your current turmoil or if not now, days down the road you will even have a great story to tell your friends.

For example, my car just broke down last week. I broke my timing belt on my way to work and had to get my car towed to a shop. After they did the free diagnostic, I found out that for a new timing belt, a new water pump, adjusting the ignition timing, new pistons and labor, it would cost me $997.60. I’m currently moving and don’t have that kind of money at the moment, and I also can’t afford to be without transportation. The repair shop opened a line of credit for me and had my car fixed the next day. Anyone who has had timing belt issues knows that this type of turnaround is pretty uncommon.

Long story short, I could either curse my car and the money I owe, or I can just laugh and say remember that time I got stranded on the freeway and looked like I was hitchhiking to work? Life could always be worse, remember that.

Here are four other ways to make sure that you are taking good care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally:

  • A healthy diet – Eating a healthy diet improves your ability to learn and gives your body the energy it needs to be successful throughout the day. Skipping a meal or eating a lot of processed/fried foods can make you lethargic and less motivated.
  • Regular exercise – Exercise has been proven to relieve stress, elevate your overall mood, increase energy levels and release endorphins. Endorphins cause an elevation in one’s happiness. Being healthy and in shape increases your self-confidence and appearance as well.
  • Relaxation – Taking the time to let your mind and body wind down at the end of the day is very important. This is especially true before you go to sleep. Try reading, listening to calm music or watching a movie before bed. Or whatever it is that helps you forget about the day and your problems. Distract yourself from the things that cause stress and focus on something calm and relaxing.
  • Sleep – I struggle with getting regular sleep, but have been more conscious of it these days. Sleep is the way that the body restores itself and gets ready for a new day. When sleep deprived, coping with daily life problems will require more effort due to the lack of energy as well as fighting inconsistent moods throughout the day. Studies have shown that we need 7-9 hours of sleep, but there are always exceptions to the rule. I personally try to get exactly 7 hours. If you feel yourself dozing off during the day, then take a nap if you have time. Your body is trying to tell you something and decrease your alcohol consumption, because it disrupts your sleep patterns.

Remember, life is what you make it and learn more about Mental Health Month here.

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