Holistic health is all about balancing the key areas that make up our wellness. These include our mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social health.
When one of these areas becomes unbalanced, it is inevitable that other parts of your health will also be affected. Think of your immune system, for example, and how we tend to get run down and sick when dealing with stressful situations.
Here at Primal Harvest, we make it our mission to share holistic health tips and free resources in all five key areas to help you achieve your health goals and feel your absolute best. And it's impossible to take care of your overall health without a clear, positive, and balanced mind. Without further ado, let's talk about mental health!
It's safe to say that for many of us keeping up with our fast-paced, modern lifestyles can take a toll on our mental health. If you've been finding it hard to relax lately or are suffering from brain fog, low mood, emotional distress, poor sleep, low energy, anxiety, or high levels of stress, you are absolutely not alone.
The Effects of Stress on Mental Health
Research shows that cases of anxiety, depression, and chronic stress are on the rise, with one report by GoodRx finding that the number of prescription fills reached record numbers in 2020. Stressful global events can act as a trigger, worsening symptoms for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or any mental illness. Outside of mental illness, a large percentage of people are reporting just generally feeling less mentally healthy during this time.
This same research also found that 63 percent of those studied reported depression or anxiety symptoms that they categorized as "worse" or "much worse." In addition to this, many of the best tools for maintaining good mental health have been difficult to maintain over the past year, with people reporting difficulty connecting with others, getting enough sleep, relaxing, exercising, and eating healthy foods.
Instead, many have turned instead to more frequent consumption of alcohol, caffeine, unhealthy foods, or even drugs to help deal with the current stressful circumstances. Unfortunately, these unhealthy lifestyle factors can worsen overall brain health, mood, and weaken the body's ability to cope with stress.
Why is Mental Health so Important?
Mental and physical health go hand in hand, and possess a strong interconnectedness. In other words, when the quality of your mental health is strained, it is likely to have an impact on your physical health as well (and vice versa).
Ongoing mental and emotional stress can wreak havoc on your immune system, weakening your body's defenses and making you more susceptible to illness.
How Mental Health Affects Coping Abilities
When you feel good mentally, you are also in a healthier and more positive mindset when it comes to dealing with stressful situations. You are more easily able to see what is needed to connect with others in a healthy way and take care of your body. Giving some TLC to supporting a healthy brain and positive mind makes dealing with the difficult moments in life just a bit easier.
Suffering from poor mental health usually makes it more challenging to maintain a healthy routine, such as eating nutritious meals, exercising, staying hydrated, and keeping a regular sleep schedule. Fortunately, there are many skills and healthy methods we can practice to support our mind, body, and mood.
Maintaining relationships, remembering to eat frequent healthy meals, connecting with family, avoiding alcohol or too much coffee, taking a walk in nature for 30 minutes everyday, and practicing meditation are just a few ways we can begin to feel better.
How Can I Get Mental Health Support?
We all go through periods when our mental health suffers. Maybe it’s the loss of a loved one, unexpected career changes, or other stressful life circumstances. It's important to remember that there is always a community of support, a friend, or a network for anyone having a difficult time with their mental health.
If you or a loved one sense the need to get help, there are so many ways to help yourself or to find purpose in helping others. Always remember, you're not alone and we're in it together!
We're always here to support you, and it's important to speak with a medical professional regarding mental illness or ways to improve your mental health. When in doubt, a professional can provide the best advice, diagnosis, and care during these times.
Someone else is likely dealing with the same struggles and moments of stress, and all we have to do is reach out, talk, and connect to expand our mental health support system.
Here are some simple tips to help you boost your mood and mental health
If you're feeling a bit low these days, here are some things you can do to feel more in control of your mental health.
1. Make self-care a priority
There’s nothing selfish about self-care. Repeat this to yourself as many times and as often as you need to hear it! Try to get enough high-quality sleep, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and spend time investing in yourself, and doing things you really enjoy. Remember, self-care is all about YOU and can include any activities that bring you happiness and peace. Every day, do one thing that brings you joy.
2. Accept the uncertainty
Remember that you cannot change things that aren’t in your control. The best way to cope with uncertainty is to try to accept things for what they are in the present moment. Take a deep breath and recognize your frustration, anger, or disappointment, and try to accept your feelings as a natural reaction. Activities like yoga, guided meditation, and journaling are great options that can help with embracing uncertainty. Trying new skills like a mindfulness practice may help you focus, center, and balance, while staying in tune with the present moment and its many blessings.
3. Be careful with the news
Yes, the news is important, but it often highlights only the worst events in a never ending cycle of negativity. Checking it too often can make you feel anxious, fearful, and overwhelmed. Believe it or not, it can have quite a counterproductive effect on your mood if you already feel vulnerable and anxious.
If you’re feeling down, it could help to try to limit your news intake to include only what you need to know, and avoid keeping it on all day, everyday. A news highlights reel or podcast is a great way to get all the essential news in just five minutes or less, for example. This way, you can avoid the most triggering content and take a break every now and then from upsetting news updates.
4. Stay connected
Keeping in touch with family and friends and having an emotional support system is vital for your mental well-being and overall health.
Make the most out of technology and reach out to your loved ones by phone, social media, or video calls to stay connected through difficult moments. Stress can be shared between loved ones who are also tackling similar challenges, and may make you feel more loved, supported, and in control.
5. Focus on what you can do
...And not what you can’t. When you feel like you’re losing control, focus on the things you CAN control. Sure, you can’t control major life changes, but you can control your reaction to them.
You CAN control your bedtime and getting enough sleep, as well as how often you exercise, and how you care for your body and health. In the words of one famous quote: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
We can still have a huge impact on our cognitive well-being by working on changing our inside world.
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