Prioritize your mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the purpose is to raise awareness of mental health and mental illness.

Mental health is the overall wellness of how you think, regulate your feelings and behave. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health as it affects your ability to be present, stay focused and function on a day to day basis.

Mental Health also affects your relationships and ability to be proactive with being the best individual you can be.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, The Gadsden County Sheriff’s Criminal Justice Diversionary Program would like to offer some healthy coping skills.

Here are some tips that can help you stay balanced and improve your overall mental health:

1. Stop to enjoy small aspects of the day. Enjoying the small things may seem simple, but it is essential to personal contentment. Try watching a movie or going walking in your neighborhood just to appreciate the beauty of nature.

2. Get plenty of sleep. Adults should get as close to 8 hours of sleep per night as they can. Although every individual’s body differs, sleep is essential for improving daily productivity.

3. Eat breakfast. A lack of nutrition can lead to fogginess in brain function. Psychology Today magazine notes the importance of a daily diet of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. These and other foods have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other mental disorders.

4. Use a stress ball or some other stress reliever. The way we handle stress directly affects our health. A common method to deal with stress is a stress ball. Sometimes just squeezing the stress away is helpful.

5. Try being kind. Kindness goes a long way. Helping others or simply doing one random act of kindness can improve self-esteem. Self-esteem improves mental wellness by including a self-empowering sense of social connectivity. Volunteerism contributes to lessening loneliness and depression.

6. Exercise. Exercise contributes to cardiovascular health. Improved cardiovascular health leads to better emotional stability and reduced anxiety.

7. Deep breathing exercises. Health Direct explains that relaxation involving deep breathing exercises can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. These exercises subsequently allow your body and mind to recharge.

8. Don’t schedule meetings every night of the week. Make sure you take time to come home, relax and decompress from the day’s stress.

9. Spend time with family. Family is important. Be thankful that you have them.

10. Establish healthy boundaries. Setting boundaries helps to reduce conflicts which can help to reduce your stress.

Although these activities do not serve as a cure for mental health disorders, they are helpful and vital for maintaining good mental health. It is important to always seek professional support for severe mental health disorders. Make sure to get recommendations from professionals who can help you, if you are struggling with a severe mental health issue.

Make the recommended changes once you receive help from a qualified professional. Listen to them and heed their advice.

Reginald James – Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office


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