The recent Bell Let’s Talk Day is such a great way to kick off the year and spread the word that talking about mental health is an important part of creating safe space, and to give a message that we really are all in this together! We all have mental health, even though some may struggle with mental health challenges.
Let’s not let the messaging that the Bell Let’s Talk initiative so powerfully brings attention to, fade away as we move further into the weeks and months of 2020. Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be viewed as a heavy topic reserved only for situations where there is a problem or issue.
Mental health is part of overall wellness and this is something we need to be mindful of everyday to create balance, joy and success in life. In order to maintain wellness which includes mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health we need to be engaged in practises and relationships that support these various aspects of our lives in a consistent and integrated way.
This is information that most of us know and there is science to support it, the key is to be gentle and compassionate with yourself along the way. The following are some creative ways to include wellness strategies into your day:
Eat healthy foods – a good balance of fruits and veggies, proteins and healthy fats and carbs
Movement of any kind – walking, sports, dance, use a step-counter for motivation
Kindness – simple acts of kindness is good for the brain, mood and body
Gratitude – feeling a genuine sense of appreciation is also good for the brain, mood and body
Relationships – as best you can, be with people who are loving, kind and supportive
Positive activities – engage in activities that help you and others feel good
Learning – exercise your brain with new learnings by reading, workshops, podcasts
Outdoor time – sunshine, fresh air and being in nature is great for brain, mood and body
Positive self-talk – be mindful of how you speak to yourself. Our brains are programmed for negative thinking, so simply noticing negative mental chatter is the first step towards gently changing it
Drink water – water is good for every part of your brain and body
Self-expression – have an outlet for your thoughts, feelings and experiences such as journaling, song, talking with a friend
Mindfulness practises – deep-breathing and pauses throughout the day help to refocus and destress
YouthSpeak includes messaging related to these wellness strategies with youth in all our programs including our upcoming annual A.W.A.K.E. conference. Thank you to Bell Lets Talk, YRDSB and YCDSB for the ongoing support! We are hopeful that schools, even in light of difficult times, will be able to arrange student attendance so they can, once again, benefit from this event. A.W.A.K.E. includes speakers, workshops on hip hop and belly dance, spoken word, knitting, martial arts, graffiti art and engages community partners such as Public Health, York Regional Police, ASYR and various youth-serving organizations. In celebration of our 10th anniversary this year, we are grateful to Imagica who is providing an interactive photo booth for the students https://imagica.ca.