When your phone battery dies and you plug it in again, it always charges back to life. Shouldn’t we treat our brains and our bodies at least as well as our phone and say “it’s okay to take a break” while we allow ourselves to recharge.
Every day should be mental health day. Understanding mental health, destigmatizing mental health care, and celebrating our personal mental health should be no different than a trip to the dentist, a chat with an old friend, or the pleasure that comes from getting over a bout of the common cold.
Mental health is human health.
We hope that you will join us this week in taking a step back to indulge in a little extra fresh air, a bit more sunshine, and a few quiet opportunities for reflection and self-centering.
Shake out the weekend cobwebs with Movement Monday. However you are able, spend 30 minutes on the move: maybe it is armchair exercises; maybe it is a vigorous hike through a favourite park or woodland; maybe it is 20 trips up and down the stairs of your building with a friend. Drink lots of water. Wear comfortable clothing. When you’re done, take a moment to listen to your body. How do you feel? What did you think about? How do you feel? Challenge yourself to do it again next Monday. Keep a journal of your activities and thoughts.
Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
What’s the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory — and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
It is only the second day of the week and already it is Time-Out Tuesday. Stop what you’re doing to get some sunlight.
Nothing feels better than a day at the beach but we cannot always be there. that does not mean that we cannot take other opportunities for sunshine along the way!
Rainy day? Did you know that most public libraries have light stations with technology that replicates the effects of actual sunlight?
Getting some sun increases your serotonin and helps you stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and sun exposure can also help people with anxiety and depression, especially in combination with other treatments.
Sunlight is powerful stuff – probably more powerful than you might realise. Light affects all of our most important body functions – from sleep, to our mental wellbeing, even our immune system. Here’s an illuminating look at why morning light can help regulate your sleep patterns – and why it’s so important to get outside to experience the full benefits.
Today is Who-Knew-Wednesday. Humans are creative beings–so set your creativity free by learning something new! Whether it’s reading about a topic that interests you, learning to paint or draw, or taking up another new hobby, the challenge and joy of learning a new skill is certainly beneficial to mental health.
Your local library, the internet, a book or magazine you already have around home: challenge yourself to learn a new fact, a new hobby or a new skill. Maybe it is knitting, tai chi, or cooking. The Health Centre has free programs these and many more creative activities.
Not sure what to do? Come visit Zen Zone in the afternoon for a quiet opportunity to colour with friends in a supportive environment. Learning has been shown in the research to help improve and maintain our well-being. It can boost self-confidence and self-esteem, help build a sense of purpose, and foster connection with others.
Award winning arts educator and singer/songwriter Lane Gardner, weaves her own deeply difficult journey through trauma into this compelling exploration: Can the power of creative expression turn our trauma into something beautiful? Can it be an innovative and collaborative solution to our rising mental health crisis? A longtime trailblazer in the field of therapeutic arts, Lane’s work is an emerging voice in a world where innovative solutions to our rising mental health crisis are desperately needed. For nearly 3 decades, Lane has devoted her life’s work to helping herself and others learn how to transform their personal experiences of trauma into powerful works of art. Her passion for the human journey and for cultivating connection through our shared experiences led her to develop a therapeutic and collaborative songwriting program that merges creativity, self-expression, healing and community.
We’re more than half way through the week. Have you learned anything about yourself or your mental health. What about the mental health of others? Let’s call today Take Care Thursday. What can you do to support the mental health of friends, family or a colleague at work? You can make a note or card and tell someone why they are special to you. How about visiting a friend and sharing a skill or craft (teaching someone to knit, how to do sign language, how to play a musical instrument).
Visit a local library and ask about volunteer opportunities in your community. Research shows that acts of kindness are linked to increased feelings of well-being.
Helping others can also improve our support networks and encourage us to be more active. This, in turn, can improve our self-esteem.
There are key ingredients of living a healthy lifestyle. Make sure your wellness strategies include the right mix and dose. To live as long and as well as you can, start to volunteer. Not only will you make a difference in your community, but you will benefit from the side effects of service. Eric Cooper is the President and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank.
Through his dual strategies of feeding the line of the hungry and shortening that line, Eric has received national recognition. It is this holistic approach to serving the entire community that has garnered community support while delivering measurable impact with exceptional efficiency. The San Antonio Food Bank is ranked in the top 2% in the nation for operational efficiencies by Charity Navigator.
Eric’s business strategy has also been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post recognized the San Antonio Food Bank among five not-for-profit organizations to watch. National Geographic highlighted Eric’s commitment to building partnerships, sustainable agriculture, and the food economy. Eric works tirelessly at the Federal, State and Local level to reduce rates of Food Insecurity and Poverty while increasing access to healthy foods, believing that everyone should have access to good nutrition.
It is Friday. Do not let that stop you from continuing to practice mental health activities every day. But since it is the end of the week, celebrate with music, movie or a book on Finally Friday! How long has it been since you heard your favourite song? When was the last time you belly laughed your way through your favourite comedy? Remember that book you bought two years ago? It is still there: an adventure waiting to be unlocked. Take some time to LOVE the things you love.
Music and mental health are closely linked. Music listening can be used to regulate mood and emotions that contribute to symptoms of poor mental health or mental disorders. Because of music’s rhythmic and repetitiveness, it engages the neocortex of the brain which calms the mind and lowers impulsivity.
Not a music lover? Reading can even relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles: it can reduce stress by up to 68%.
Music therapy is an ancient and yet very modern practice that has the power to heal and transform our brains and bodies in significant ways. Kathleen Howland, speech language and music therapist explains how music really does have the power to heal our brain and heart. T
Kathleen M. Howland is a certified music therapist and licensed speech language pathologist. For the past 30+ years, she has worked with a variety of clinical populations using music to enhance speech, language, cognition and movement in habilitation and rehabilitation settings. Her doctoral studies in music and cognition have informed and supported her interest in bridging the communities of science and art in order to identify best practices. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory in music therapy, neuroscience and positive psychology.