May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to tune in and learn more about this hot topic that affects us all. In most cases, it turns out that what we’re missing most when it comes to healthy mindset is connection—with each other, with our surroundings and with ourselves. Here are a few ways to take better care of yourself, create connections with the world and nurture important relationships.
1. Build breath awareness by setting aside just a couple of minutes with no screens and no noise (when possible). Close your eyes, practice belly-breathing, and really focus on the act of moving your belly button out in a good, abdominal stretch. Release the breath, and slowly begin again.
2. Eat slowly and with intention. Chew, listen to your body, pay attention to how your food makes you feel. Food is medicine, but it can also contribute to ill health, inflammation, and even mental health problems. Knowing how your body responds to what you feed it is the only way to change your nutrition for the better.
3. Schedule regular movement. Regular exercise helps release endorphins that make us happier, and moderately paced exercise also helps us de-stress and get better sleep. All of us could use better sleep!
4. Look up from the cell phone. It’s safer to walk with your head up, looking at your surroundings and noticing people around you. By looking up, you’ll also be correcting your posture and avoiding “phone neck” and other tech-related maladies, and you’ll be happier and healthier for it.
5. Schedule a social visit once a week. Creating time for others feeds a need to be seen and understood. Make a date with your significant other or get together with a friend or group of friends to reinforce the ties that bind you to the ones who matter most in your life.
6. Embrace the power of touch. Humans need to touch other humans. It’s why children constantly want to be held, and for small infants can even mean the difference between life and death. Hold someone’s hand, give a hug, or schedule a massage to make sure you’re feeding your need for skin-to-skin connection with another person.
7. Play games that involve others. Games are a great way to build community and have fun while being active. Even a board game can exercise your mind and bring playfulness to your day.
Mental health is an important component of your total well-being. As you focus on improving your physical self, take time out to care for your mind, as well. Learn more about the power of movement, mindset, nutrition and recovery from our EXOS-certified personal trainers. We’ll see you at the fitness center!