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Nowadays, many of us fail to realize that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. 1 in 4 people suffer with a mental illness, so hopefully this month can be used as platform and raise more awareness for those fighting. There are so many factors in our daily lives that contribute to our mental state, such as exercise, nutrition and sleep. In which if continuously ignored will affect your overall welfare. Therefore, it’s highly significant to speak up!

It’s okay to vocalize, “I’m not okay today and I just want someone to listen to me.” Or, “I’m battling something severe and I don’t know how to handle it.” The reason why there are so many untreated mental disorders is because those that are dealing with them don’t want to feel judged or labeled.

Have you ever heard the saying, “check on your strong friends”? Well even the strong are experiencing adversities that they may feel uncomfortable to share because they always seem to have it “together.” They are the friends that hardly ever complain and are usually willing to give advise or help out in anyway possible while juggling their own mental issues. Your strong friends may be emotionally fatigued and need help too.

As previously mentioned, exercise/working out can definitely help your mental health by reducing stress, anxiety and/or even depression. Take 15-30 minutes out of your day to get your body moving and heart pumping. Whether it be yoga, pilates, cross-fit or dancing. Even a quick walk around the neighborhood will do it. Anything that involves movement and will put you in a positive mindset, is key. You will ultimately feel rejuvenated and it will boost your self esteem.

Furthermore, we know that dieting and nutrition is key to a persons physical health right? But what about the mental aspect? Poor dieting actually contributes to worsening mood disorders and ability to function. However, carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains help with anxiety and low energy levels. It’s never too late to start a healthy diet and eliminate foods that do more harm than good. Your body will thank you but so will your mind!

Lastly, let’s not forget resting! There will be days where sleep doesn’t even seem to be a priority to some due to the feeling of not getting everything done. Well, make it a priority because sleep is essential for all of us. It affects our mental and physical health simultaneously and needs to be prioritized more. Sleep deprivation shows an increase in irritability, frustration, or even sadness. What good does that do for stress besides making it worse? The goal is find a relationship between sleep and mental health. Research even shows that there is a connection between lack of sleep and depression. So, take a nap today and then try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep on days when you don’t have to wake up early. If you struggle falling to sleep at night, change your environment to your comfort, it will make a difference. There are various ways to improve your mental health, but the first step is to speak up.

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