By Amie L. Grant, Tremco Roofing & Waterproofing.
Those are great goals and taking steps to better yourself is never a bad thing! But what about incorporating some goals for self-care and mental health – for January and beyond? We live in a time where there are so many resources available to us on the internet (and even as apps on our phones), which allow making your mental health a priority easier than ever.
Why Talk About Mental Health?
In the United States alone, anxiety affects 40 million adults, depression affects 16 million adults, and PTSD affects 7.7 million adults. And in any given year, 1 in 5 employed adults in the United States experiences a mental health issue.*
So, even if mental health issues don’t affect you personally, they likely have an impact on people you know and care about. You can be a better friend or co-worker by learning more about it.
*Statistics sourced from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the American Psychological Association.
Putting the “Men” in Mental Health
The stigma around discussing mental health is even more prevalent for men. I encourage you to check out www.mantherapy.org, which takes a very humorous approach to the very serious mental health issues faced by men. I promise this website will make you laugh, and you just might take away a helpful tip or two as well!
Not into the idea of “working on yourself” but very into video games? Try something like the app SuperBetter. SuperBetter was made by game designers and lets you be a superhero, complete with power-ups, fighting bad guys, and completing quests, all while building up your resilience, achieving goals, and tackling challenges like anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain, and more.
Self-Care for All – No Crystals or Essential Oils Needed
Self-care has become a buzzword in the last few years, but it really is as easy as making time to do something for yourself. Self-care is individual to every person. For some it might look like exercise, for others it might be spending time doing a favorite hobby, or just making time to cook a meal for yourself instead of going through the drive-thru on the way home.
You know how in case of emergency on an airplane, you are supposed to put on your own oxygen mask before you help your neighbor? Think of self-care in the same way: if you are a little more generous with yourself, you might find you have more to give to others in your life.
Here are some easy self-care habits you can incorporate into your day: Listen to some music or a podcast you enjoy, have lunch with a buddy you don’t see enough, go to bed early, get a massage, hit the gym, volunteer, schedule yourself some “device-free” time, read a book, or get out in nature and go for a hike. There are plenty of things you can do, and most of them are free!
Meditation for the Mind
Do you ever feel like your brain is going a million miles a minute? Or maybe you can’t fall asleep because you’re thinking of all the things you need to do the next day? If that sounds familiar, you should try meditating. Really! Meditation is deceptively simple (sitting still and focusing on your breathing) and with a little practice, you can do it anywhere. Meditation has been shown to decrease anxiety, stress, depression, and even pain.
There are many free guided meditation videos available on YouTube ranging in topics from reducing anxiety, relaxing sore or tense muscles, building your confidence before a big meeting, helping you fall asleep, really anything! The best part is that you can experience the benefits of meditation from doing it for just minutes a day.
If you try it and like it, there are tons of meditation apps you can download on your phone – just do a quick search in the app store and you will see. My favorite is Calm, which has guided meditations on all sorts of topics, as well as some led by celebrities like LeBron James, Matthew McConaughey, and Nick Offerman.
Good Old-Fashioned Counseling
Lastly, if you decide that like 59 million other folks in the United States, talking to someone is right for you, check with your employer to see if you have an Employee Assistance Program. EAPs will often cover the cost of initial counseling appointments. If you are looking for a reputable counselor or therapist in your area, you can search on a website like www.goodtherapy.org. And if you’d rather do everything from your phone, try something like the apps Talkspace and BetterHelp, where you can text and have phone and/or video sessions with licensed therapists.
I hope you found some useful resources in this article, or even just a friendly reminder to be sure to make some time for yourself this year. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2020!
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