May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Designated to highlight the importance of mental health to overall wellness. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental health disability, that’s 52.9 million people – an issue many Americans grapple with. That’s why I am proud GACO Sourcing has partnered with an incredible organization, the Easterseals of Michigan who, during the first week of Mental Health Awareness Month launched a campaign raising awareness.
Metal Health Awareness Month also offers a prime opportunity to share valuable resources. Below I discuss several tools I use to navigate my often stressful life and other tools, I hope to become better at utilizing.
The idea of meditation can be overwhelming. Images of someone sitting quietly for extreme lengths of time might come to mind. However, the GACO team just finished reading, Atomic Habit in which the author, James Clear provides several useful tactics for building healthy habits. One approach was starting small and staying consistent – he even used meditation as an example. Suggesting, to begin with just one minute of meditation, then two, then so on, and so forth until you reach your ideal meditation time.
Meditation is an effective way to clear the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to overall stress. There are many kinds of meditations that are explored in this article by the Mayo Clinic. It’s worth exploring to find what kind of practice resonates best with you.
Additional Meditation Resources:
Since I was a kid, I’ve sporadically journaled. Little did I know this half-hearted practice was laying the groundwork for what would become an essential habit of mine. About seven years ago I easily transitioned into starting every day by filling one notebook page. It’s such a simple act, but I’ve found making the time for myself translates into a happier, healthier, lighter version of me.
Like building a meditation habit, starting small might be key. One study shows the act of writing three things you’re grateful for daily led to 85 percent of the participants reporting a reduction of stress.
Additional Journaling Resources:
Movement has long been paramount to maintaining my mental health. The times I haven’t prioritized fitness, I felt myself becoming more stressed. To stick to it, I find having a healthy mix of movement types keeps me motivated. On a daily basis, I walk my dogs and work out in a small group setting. When I’m really working through something, I enjoy peppering in boxing. But, my favorite and most consistent workout is P.volve. It’s rooted in functional movement and with very few pieces of equipment, I can get a great workout. This also makes it perfect to rely on while traveling for work!
Additional Movement Resources:
The experts always talk about the benefits of unplugging especially just before bedtime. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey and found roughly four in 10 Americans bring their cell phone to bed. However, the blue light prevalent in devices suppresses melatonin. Melatonin is an essential hormone released to help you feel tired.
More, than just unplugging before bed, it’s important to find other ways and parts of the week to unplug. We live in an ever-connected world, which has many pros and cons. By silencing unnecessary notifications or placing your phone in a different room for periods you may gain sharper focus, add time to your day, have more meaningful social interactions, and most importantly reduce stress.
Additional Resources for Unplugging:
To me, mental health is health – it’s an essential aspect of our well-being. It allows you to effectively deal with the daily stressors, communicate effectively, and make healthy decisions that allow you to live your life to the fullest.