May is all about Mental Health! It's Mental Health Week from May 2 - 8 in Canada and Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. So we're giving you some of our pointers to help you take care of your own mental health and help support your family, friends and community.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has some great tools to help you be a better listening, more empathetic and offer support to your people. They believe that everyone deserves to feel well and we, of course, couldn't agree more.
CMHA's key messages around Canadian Mental Health Week are;
Listen - we tend to offer solutions when we hear of people struggling. Instead, try listening and acknowledging so they feel they are not along.
Empathy - make an effort to see things from the other person's perspective and understand their feelings.
Non-judgement - don't try to judge a person or interrupt them to talk about your experiences. Just be there for them exactly as they are showing up.
Mental Health at Love My Mat
At Love My Mat we have an open & compassionate working environment. We have all struggled with mental health issues. We have all turned to yoga, meditation and other wellness practices to help support ourselves through tough times. But also turn to each other for support and advice.
So we're sharing some of our go-to tips and practices that help us manage our anxiety, high stress levels, depression, sadness and frustrations.
Make Your Bed - Messy bed = messy head. This is a great way to ensure you accomplish something each day. We get a boost of serotonin when we complete a task and serotonin is one of those "feel good" hormones we all need and love.
Love Your Plants - "Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity."
(Lee et al., 2015)
Thought Dump - when you're feeling overwhelmed, it can help to get it all out. Grab a paper and a pen (or some brightly coloured markers) to write down all the thoughts that are weighing you down. You can even go one step further and burn your paper to really, "let that shit go."
Therapy - talking about your feelings and experiences with a professional therapists can help to validate you and relieve anxiety and stress.
Regular Yoga Practice - taking up a regular yoga or movement practice can help to manage feelings of anxiety and stress.
Good Tunes - turning on your favourite music can be a great mood-lifter. Maybe even dance! Move through your emotions while moving to the music.
Baking - making your favourite baked good is another way to boost serotonin. When we truly accomplish a task, we feel better in that moment. Plus, you can share your baking with a friend!
Meditate - while meditation won't instantly solve all life's problems, a regular meditation practice can help you better understand and manage your emotions and reactions.
This article is a culmination of our collective experiences and is in no way meant to cure any diagnosed mental health issues. If you or someone you know needs mental health support, there are free programs and services available to help.
- To access free mental health and addictions programs, services and supports tailored to the needs of your local community, please contact your local CMHA.
- For free resources and 24/7 counselling over the phone, please visit the Government of Canada’s Wellness Together portal.
- If you are thinking about suicide, please call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service tollfree at 1-833-456-4566 (1-866-277-3553 in Quebec).
Lee, M., Lee, J., Park, B.-J., & Miyazaki, Y. (2015). Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 34(1).