March 9, 2018
Did you know 1 in 4 people is expected to deal with a mental illness at some point in their life?
You would think that number would make a lot of people jump up and move towards a life of preventing it, but sadly, most of us don’t. We get hung up in our career, family, stress and chasing the dream. Really, it’s the good old invincibility syndrome. We don’t expect it will happen to us, until it does. Then we’re crushed. We might feel ashamed and weak because that’s how we treat mental illness. Not like a biological disorder but like something is wrong with us. We might also feel like we failed. Failed at taking care of ourselves.
We might also have lived a lifetime of bad habits that might make it long and hard to recover. All of a sudden, we have to start to listen to our bodies, minimize our sources of stress and stop putting ourselves at the bottom of our priority list.
What if we put it in terms of mental wellness? Instead of talking about illnesses and waiting until we are sick to take action, what if we start talking about mental wellness on a daily basis. All of a sudden, it’s a much more inclusive conversation because EVERYONE has to deal with their mental wellness at ALL points of their lives. It’s normal to hear someone say “I’m trying to cut on the sugar. It’s not good for me and I was having too much.” No one is going to look at you funny if you say that, and you don’t have to be diabetic either. What if saying, “My husband and I are downsizing and starting to work 4 days a week to be able to spend more time with the kids”, or “I need to make sure I go ride my bike at least twice a week, I feel so much more relaxed” became the normal way we think and talk.
Although mental health prevention is not yet a very popular concept, we have noticed if we approach the topic as mental wellness, it opens up a lot more conversation. Maybe it’s because a lot more people can relate to it. Especially if you have never been diagnosed with a mental illness, you might not feel as compelled by that discussion. I don’t know but if it’s what’s needed to have an open, honest, conversation about it, than I’m all for it. Because truly, talking about it will help reduce the stigma, make it easier for everyone to find help and solutions, help promote a lifestyle that reduces the risks of falling hard and decrease the risks of relapse.
At Searching for Sero, we like promoting an active and outdoorsy lifestyle as our main tool. There are many reasons for that. First, physical activity releases endorphins in the body giving you a natural high. Overall, you are more likely to feel relaxed, calm, have a better perception of yourself. It is known to help your sleeping habits too which is also important to you physical and mental health. You can find a list of benefits here with a lot of good information.
To that physical activity, we like to add nature. It has been demonstrated through several studies that experiencing the natural world has a positive impact on well-being and mental wellness. It makes us feel more connected to the world that surrounds us, positively impacting our pro-social behaviours. It favours a contemplative state gently forcing us to slow down, breathe and be.
Green exercise is the combination of exercising in nature and poaches on both to reap the most benefits. This is what we promote, but there are tons of other healthy life habits for the mind. What are your ways to care for your mental wellness?