May 4, 2020
Here at McInnes Cooper, supporting the mental health of our team members has long been a priority. We integrate health and wellness into our culture to ensure our team members achieve their best selves, both at work and at home.
As we come together to recognize Canadian Mental Health Week (May 4-10, 2020), we are sharing practices that help many of us maintain positive mental health, especially now.
1. Set a routine
Creating structure and sticking to a routine cultivates resilience, which is key to maintaining positive mental health as it allows us to feel more in control and reduce our stress levels. Our routines will vary, depending on our circumstances and responsibilities. Simple elements of routine include going to bed around the same time every night, getting dressed and ready for the workday, eating breakfast, and making your morning coffee. If you are used to walking to work, stick with that routine by walking around your block at the beginning of each day. The certainty of a routine can bring a level of comfort and will allow you time to focus on what is important.
2. Eat, sleep & hydrate
These may seem like basic things, but they are paramount to staying healthy and mentally fit. Whenever we undergo an abrupt change in routine or experience heightened states of anxiety, it can disrupt our basic habits. By focusing on these basic building blocks of health, we set a solid foundation for maintaining all other healthy habits. To ensure you have a good supply of healthy options in your pantry, make a list and shop mindfully. To help with staying hydrated, keep a jug of water near you at all times, filling it up several times a day or even setting up a reminder on your phone every 10-15 minutes to drink water. If you have trouble sleeping, consider downloading a meditation or sleep assistance app, such as Headspace or Balance: Meditation.
3. Set boundaries & realistic expectations
Reminding ourselves to be patient with others, and set realistic expectations of ourselves will help to maintain positive mental health. Patience and boundaries include taking personal space and time for yourself, and respecting that others need to do so as well. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it enables you to care for loved ones by improving your frame of mind.
4. Get active
Physical activity improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Try setting yourself a goal of moving every hour; this could be as simple as walking across the room to look out the window for 30 seconds, or running up and down a flight of stairs. Taking a minute or two to get your blood flowing can do wonders for your mental wellness. If your situation allows, try going outside. Nature has a deep, calming effect on the human body, reducing negative emotions and alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability and more.
5. Avail of support and be courageous – ask for help.
Sometimes, taking care of your mental health can feel overwhelming. There are days when we will hold the light for others, and days when we need others to hold the light for us. Seeking help is a great first step in getting and staying well. There are various ways you could seek support, from your family and friends, medical professionals, and support groups. There is always someone out there ready to lend a hand.
Trusted resources and national sources of information include:
6. Stay connected (with yourself, loved ones and surroundings, not the news feed).
Social interactions help us with our overall mental health. By sharing memories, successes, or even a quick check-in, we are reminded we are all in this together. When you build personal connections with the outside world, you can increase your feelings of self-worth and happiness. Staying connected could also include activities like giving back to your community.
7. Embrace joy. Practice gratitude. Make time for things that bring you happiness.
We can find joy within and outside ourselves in many different ways. By focusing on the things that bring you joy, even if small, you’ll be amazed with how well you make yourself feel throughout the day. Finding joy is understanding what makes you happy. So ask yourself, “What do I need to do today to be happy?” From a nice cup of joe to enjoying a workout routine, do something today that makes you smile and be grateful for your present situation.
Let’s keep sharing!
This year, the Canadian Mental Health Association is encouraging us to #GetReal about how we’re feeling. To join us in conversation, or simply to follow along on Twitter, search for @mcinnescooper with the hashtags #GetReal and #MC4MentalHealth. We hope the practices we share will help you, too.
To our clients and our communities, we are grateful for your trust in us, and we remain dedicated to supporting through these challenging times.
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