School’s out, COVID restrictions are easing, the weather is warming and new life is emerging all around us. Open the door and step outside—take a deep breath and look around—it’s hard to deny feeling at least a little hope and sense of renewal.
These external conditions can definitely help, but we know they aren’t the only ingredients that go into experiencing mental wellbeing. Our motto, “live life to the fullest,” is a call to each one of us to bring all that we can to the experience of living.
And for those of us who experience challenges to our mental health, including substance use, this often means seeking and accepting help from others. That’s why we try to make it as easy as possible to call for an appointment or to drop by our Connect 2 Care clinic to receive immediate support.
Mental wellbeing means thriving regardless of a mental health or substance use challenge. It doesn’t mean we’re always happy or unaffected by our experiences, but it reflects how we cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. It is a condition of resilience, strength and recovery.
As we transition into this new season of almost summer, we want to offer some reminders for actions each of us can take to strengthen, maintain or achieve mental wellbeing:
Connect – We all have experienced some degree of social isolation and loneliness over the past many months. Contact with others is essential to mental wellbeing. Communication technology has been a saving grace for many of us, but treat yourself by connecting more in person, even if its just on a trip to the grocery store.
Move – Our bodies have also felt the impact of our social isolation. We are made to move, and even if it’s no more than a few simple knee-bends or trunk-twists to start, getting the blood flowing with some physical movement and exercise nourishes our entire body with more oxygen—and is especially vital for our brains where our thoughts and feelings reside.
Learn – Trying something new, developing a new skill, playing a new game, going to a new place—the possibilities are endless. We all are creators by nature, and so learning something new, embarking on new discoveries gives us purpose and builds self-esteem. Reading counts too!
Give – The impulse to lend a hand, to share our resources—our propensity to help others in even the smallest ways—returns to us as mental wellbeing. That’s why many of our programs include opportunities for peer-to-peer support. We know that giving of ourselves enables us to participate in ongoing mutual benefits.
Be – Healthful actions aren’t just about doing things—they also include an active state-of-mind some describe as mindfulness—being attentive and aware in each moment. It can include being aware of our senses—smelling, hearing, touching, tasting, seeing. Being aware of our bodies and the sensations we feel as we breathe and move—or simply sit. Being conscious of our thoughts and feelings—and how they might create sensations in our bodies. Being present with others and at ease within ourselves at the same time.
We will be out and about ourselves, and we look forward to renewing our presence in community events where we can share and support wellbeing together. In the meantime, we’re here to help if you need us.