BROCKVILLE — May 6-12 is Mental Health Week and the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) wants to highlight some simple steps you can take each day to stay well.
One way to guard your mental health is to take care of your physical health, through proper nutrition, a good night’s sleep and plenty of exercise, says Dr. Alison Inglis, Chief Psychologist with the UCDSB.
“Getting a good night’s sleep is important,” she says. “Many of us, including our kids, aren’t sleeping enough. It’s hard to do because we get so busy, but it’s worth making sleep a priority.”
A good rule of thumb for adults is seven to eight hours a night, but for children and teens it should be up to 11 hours.
“Exercise helps too,” she adds. “When you’re physically active, good things happen to keep you well. Exercise ultimately helps with sleep, and there’s also the release of endorphins that make you feel good. Being physically active also means you’re taking time for yourself or are connecting with others, whether it’s playing on a sports team or family members going for a walk together. Connecting with others is good for our mental health.”
Focusing in the moment is another great technique. While learning from mistakes is important, dwelling on them isn’t helpful. Focusing in the moment allows you to concentrate on the task at hand and gain a sense of accomplishment.
“Really, you accomplish something every day and it’s good to give yourself a pat on the back and be kind to yourself about those accomplishments,” she stresses.
The Canadian Mental Health Association suggests the following:
- Take a deep breath and fill your lungs with cool outdoor air to start your day. Repeat this at lunch and when you get home. It allows you to keep in perspective that we can make a conscious choice to slow things down when they get too hectic.
- Go to bed and rise at a consistent time.
- Limit screen time one hour before bed.
- Connect with others. Spending time with people can boost your immune system and your mental health!
- Spend one hour a day doing something you find fun, productive, or important to you. Taking time to re-energize allows you to continue to be your best in other areas of your life.
- Learn something new to promote a sense of personal growth. Take that course you always meant to try or go online and learn on Youtube.
Inglis also reminds people to know of the supports around them.
“We all need support from time to time, so don’t be afraid to reach out. We have information on our district website and in all of our schools so people know where they can go or who they can talk to at school or in the community if they or someone they know needs help.”
To read more about mental health and Mental Health Week, visit: http://ontario.cmha.ca Children and youth can visit: https://kidshelpphone.ca/.