School’s out, COVID restrictions are easing, the weather is warming and new life is emerging all around us. Open the door and step outside. Take a deep breath and look around. It’s hard to deny feeling at least a little hope and a sense of renewal. These external conditions can definitely help, but we know they aren’t the only ingredients that go into experiencing mental well-being. The journey to recovery requires us to find internal peace as well.
And for those of us who experience challenges to our mental health, including substance use, this often means seeking and accepting help from others. That’s why we try to make it as easy as possible to call for an appointment or to drop by our Connect to Care clinic to receive immediate support.
Mental well-being means thriving regardless of mental health or substance use challenges. It doesn’t mean we’re always happy or unaffected by our experiences, but it reflects how we cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. It is a condition of resilience, strength, and recovery.
As we transition into this new season of almost summer, we want to offer some reminders for actions each of us can take to strengthen, maintain, or achieve mental well-being:
We all have experienced some degree of social isolation and loneliness over the past several months. Contact with others is essential to mental well-being. Communication technology has been a saving grace for many of us, but treat yourself by connecting more in person, even if it’s just on a trip to the grocery store.
Our bodies have also felt the impact of our social isolation. We are made to move, and even if it’s no more than a few simple knee bends or trunk twists to start, getting the blood flowing with some physical movement and exercise nourishes our entire body with more oxygen. This is especially vital for our brains, where our thoughts and feelings reside.
A growing mind is a happy mind. Try something new, develop a new skill, play a new game, or go to a new place. We all are creators by nature, and so learning something new gives us purpose and builds self-esteem. Reading counts too!
Helping others can actually improve our own mental health as well. That’s why many of our programs include opportunities for peer-to-peer support. We see clients grow and develop together every day.
Healthful actions aren’t just about doing things. They also include having an active state of mind some describe as mindfulness. Mindfulness means to be attentive and aware in each moment. It can include being aware of our senses—smelling, hearing, touching, tasting, and seeing. Be aware of your body and the sensations you feel as you breathe and move or simply sit. Be conscious of your thoughts and feelings and the impact they have on your body. Look for ways to be present with others and at ease within yourself at the same time.
We will be out and about ourselves, and we look forward to renewing our presence in community events where we can share and support well-being together. In the meantime, we’re here to help if you need us.