Ok, so does anyone feel like they just took off their NYE party hats and watched January fly by? February is coming up in a few days and one of the themes of the month is heart health (Ya know, Valentine’s day and all that). Apart from the physical care of your heart through healthy foods and exercise, another lesser thought of factor is caring for your emotions (stress, loneliness, depression and the like). We so often focus on the physical and often ignore our mental health needs! Our friends at the Rooted Center are guest posting this week to share ways we can minimize stress, check in with our emotions and improve our mental well being to make this February full of self care.
Shruti Sekhri of Rooted Center
Dr. Katie Ray, DC
Heather Fraelick, LMT
Heidi Shimko, LAc MSTOM, NCCAOM BOARD CERTIFIED, ACUPUNCTURIST, REIKI MASTER
When it comes to all over well being it seems as if a lot of us are focused on working out or improving our diet. When we gain weight or get sick, we turn to medicine or again to focus on our physical health. What if taking the time to nurture our mental health and well being could help prevent weight gain and other health issues? Mental wellness is just as important as exercise and nutrition, because when we are stressed, our cortisol levels spike which causes a slew of health issues. When we are stressed, we may not get enough sleep, we turn to emotional eating, and we simply don’t feel well. Here is how we can help lower stress and improve our allover well being with mental wellness tips!
1) What is the importance of mental wellness?
Mental wellness is pervasive and impacts our physical health, intellectual capacity and our relationships. When our emotional life is out of balance, it can manifest into physical ailments (we’ve all heard about stress caused illnesses), it can drive us to make reactive decisions that are driven from hidden emotions rather than clarity, and it can cause us to have unhealthy relationship interactions. By practicing mental self-care, we can reverse these undesired results and instead gain self-confidence, self-worth, and greatly improve our quality of life.
2) How can we become more aware of how we feel?
The first thing that we have to do is set the intention to become more aware. Once we have that, then we have to give ourselves permission to allow any feeling to be OK – in other words, we have to let ourselves know that we don’t have to judge if we are good or bad for feeling the way that we do. This creates the safe space for us to start feeling what we feel.
Once we have the safe space, we can have some tools to dig in: 1) put an alarm on your phone twice a day and ask yourself – how am I feeling? Where do I feel it in my body? How is my breathing 2) do some stream of conscious journaling – that means just write anything that comes to mind even if it makes no sense 3) Try to just grab a set of pastels and start doodling on some paper and see where it leads you.
3) What are some ways to cope and deal with stress?
Stress is pervasive and it can actually even be stressful to try not be stressed. The first thing to do when you’re feeling stressed is to stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath. Then, see if you can go for a 10 minute walk. If that’s not an option, start doodling or journaling to find what is creating your stress. A lot of times, when we know what is creating stress and anxiety for us, the knowledge itself starts to release us from it.
4) What holistic health practices also help maintain a mind body balance that can help with mental wellness?
Some key practices that help our mind and body stay connected and drive towards mental wellness include acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic care, massage therapy, aroma and essential oil therapy, yoga, nutritional balancing, and certainly talk-, equine-, or art- therapy.
5) What are 5 things we can do daily to maintain a healthy mental state?
1) Schedule time for ourselves – even if it’s 10 minutes (you don’t have to stress about how much or if it’s enough)
2) Set alarms on your phone to check in with how you are feeling
3) Notice how you are breathing and see if you can extend your breath once in a while
4) Spend time talking to someone who gives you empathy rather than advice. Advice is good, but to feel understood is paramount. In fact, see if you can find an accountability buddy and just text each other one thing that you did for yourself that day
5) Take a moment to find something you’re grateful for every day
Oh and treat yourself sometimes! Rooted Center is hosting “Be Your Own Valentine” on February 7th from 4-7 pm to give you a chance to Love Yo’ Self with mini spa treatments, expressive art sessions and more. The $25 dollar suggested donation goes to NoStigmas.org. NoStigmas is a global non-profit movement utilizing Peer-2-Peer connections to promote mental wellness and prevent suicide. Their individual approach provides education, support systems and access to mental health resources at no cost.