This blog post has been adapted from a previous post, How to maintain mental health, for our current situation, in which many of us are physically distancing ourselves from one another due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This from a blog we posted for CMHA’s 2018 Mental Health Week.

Everyone has mental health, and everyone maintains their own mental health somehow, just as they do their physical health. We can take actions as individuals to help keep ourselves mentally healthy.

Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean being happy all the time. We all go through ups and downs in life, and that’s normal. Mental health is about how to balance our lives and manage those ups and downs constructively.

Here are some key factors for maintaining mental health, including examples of how to put them in to action. The goal is to be better equipped to deal with the lows in life:

  • Social supports that make someone feel loved, respected and strongly connected to others are important for our mental health and resiliency
    • Meet with friends over Facetime for a coffee or dinner date
    • Call a friend or family member
    • Be genuinely interested in the lives of others and be sure to let them know you care about them!
  • Physical activity and psychological health go hand-in-hand; exercise promotes positive mental health
    • Look up at-home workouts on YouTube
    • Get out for a walk
    • Do some yoga
  • Positive lifestyle and health choices can help us avoid coping with stress in negative ways that ultimately add more stress, like drinking alcohol excessively
    • Eat healthy foods
    • Limit consumption of drugs and alcohol
  • Spirituality can help us find deeper meaning in our lives
    • Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation
    • Take three deep breaths first thing in the morning and before you go to bed
    • Find a virtual worship service; find an online group within your faith to connect with
  • Gratitude and optimism in the face of challenges can positively influence our experience
    • Try see the silver lining in life’s situations – if something negative has happened, try to find a positive aspect of the situation; can limitations be turned in to opportunities?
    • Practice gratitude: write down a list of things you’re thankful for in the midst of challenges

Ultimately, promoting our mental health helps us build resilience so we can better weather the ups and downs of life. That means that more of us will be able to cope with our mental health issues before they overcome us and potentially even cause us to consider suicide. Also, being self-aware and actively doing things to build resiliency can help us help others when they need us to!

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, call Canada’s crisis line at 1-833-456-4566.

For more information on mental wellness and suicide prevention, check out our article on the subject.