Learn about mental wellness and how to care for yourself and others

January is Mental Wellness Month, an opportunity to talk about caring for your mental wellness, where to go for support, and when to reach out.

It can be easy to put mental wellness on autopilot, only pausing when there is a crisis. But it’s important to be mindful and care for your mental wellness – even when you are not in crisis.

Being mentally well does not mean you don’t have “bad days,” or even that you do not have a mental illness. Approximately 15% of people have a diagnosed mental illness – but 100% of people people need to pay attention to their mental wellness.

Mental wellness encompasses our mental, emotional, social, and psychological functions, including how we process and use information, how we manage and express our emotions, how we connect with others, and how we function day-to-day. It impacts every element of our daily lives, from our performance at work, to how we treat our family members, to how we handle stressful situations.

Signs of decreased mental wellness can include trouble concentrating, being easily distracted, worrying more, feeling overwhelmed, and feeling “low” or tearful. These feelings may persist or be intermittent. Regardless of the frequency, taking care of your mental wellness is vital to living well.

The National Institutes of Health recommends six ways to improve your mental wellness. Learn more here.

Brighten your outlook

People who are emotionally well, experts say, have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster. This quality is called resilience. Another sign of emotional wellness is being able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times.

Reduce stress

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Stress can give you a rush of energy when it’s needed most. But if stress lasts a long time—a condition known as chronic stress—those “high-alert” changes become harmful rather than helpful. Learning healthy ways to cope with stress can also boost your resilience.

Get quality sleep

To fit in everything we want to do in our day, we often sacrifice sleep. But sleep affects both mental and physical health. It’s vital to your well-being. When you’re tired, you can’t function at your best. Sleep helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better. Take steps to make sure you regularly get a good night’s sleep.

Cope with loss

When someone you love dies, your world changes. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. Although the death of a loved one can feel overwhelming, most people can make it through the grieving process with the support of family and friends. Learn healthy ways to help you through difficult times.

Strengthen social connections

Social connections might help protect health and lengthen life. Scientists are finding that our links to others can have powerful effects on our health—both emotionally and physically. Whether with romantic partners, family, friends, neighbors, or others, social connections can influence our biology and well-being.

Be mindful

The concept of mindfulness is simple. This ancient practice is about being completely aware of what’s happening in the present—of all that’s going on inside and all that’s happening around you. It means not living your life on “autopilot.” Becoming a more mindful person requires commitment and practice. Here are some tips to help you get started.

When life feels tough, Foundation 2 Crisis Services is here to support you. We provide mental health support and suicide prevention and intervention services for all people, any time, every time (24/7, 365 days a year). Call for free, confidential support at 319-362-2174.

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