Importance of Self-care
This week, we’re talking about the importance of mental health and how this can be affected by loneliness, anxiety and depression. This time of year can be dark and gloomy, especially in the Midwest. Today, we’re going to talk about tips and tricks for how to maintain mental health not just through the winter season, but all year long!
A recent study revealed that through the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 25% increase in anxiety and depression in adults in the United States.
Additionally, from a general standpoint, 33% of adults report feeling lonely at some point throughout their day. Understandably, the limited sunlight, shorter days and lack of Vitamin D throughout the winter months combined with the stresses we face on a daily basis can take a significant toll on our mental health.
That said, current culture has come a long way in its ability to acknowledge and address mental health from it was not even a generation ago.
However, we still oftentimes lack the tools and understanding to be able to properly approach, address and discuss our own mental health.
Therefore, in this video series, we are going to be talking about one – the importance of community, two – the science of relationships and three – the significance of self-care in our mental health and some tools for how to incorporate this into our daily lives.
To get us started, we have a list of a few books that can provide helpful insight in this regard. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, a nonfiction easy and short read that provides helpful encouragement into how to navigate difficult circumstances, and The Power of Positive Thinking written by Shawn Achor, a long-term professor of positive psychology and research, that emphasizes the power of the human mind.
Another awesome tool to utilize to emphasize one’s sense of purpose is to practice gratitude. It’s much harder to feel depressed when you’re feeling grateful. We talked a while back about doing a gratitude walk, where you take a walk-in nature and intentionally verbalize things you are grateful for. Our words are powerful. If we speak our gratitude into reality, we tend to resonate more with these aspects of our life throughout the rest of the day.
Additionally, letting people know that we are thankful for them can go a long way in living into a life of gratitude that is anchored in community. It has been said that “People are in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” Let’s be honest, most people we encounter do not remain in our lives for an entire lifetime. But we can also still be intentional about thinking about the people that have impacted our lives – even for a short time – and letting them know that we are grateful for the impact they made while they were there. Not only can this reflection be profoundly impactful for us, but also has the power to make an impact on someone else’s day in more ways than we might ever know.
Furthermore, you’ve likely heard it before from a variety of sources, that self-care is important for our health and well-being in more ways than one. Exercise is a fantastic example of how we can care for our bodies and our minds simultaneously. Even a quick walk on your lunch break or being intentional about getting outside and moving for a few extra minutes throughout the day can improve mood, boost energy, and reduce symptoms of depression.
This is also a biblical principle. Our existence – our bodies, our mind, and our spirit are a temple – created for a distinct and unique purpose. We are called to take care of our temple. Furthermore, attempting to exercise outside as much as possible – even when it is cold – can then simultaneously expose our bodies to fresh air, to sunshine and to Vitamin D which can also play a significant role in improving mental, emotional and physical health.
In conclusion, we are excited to continue to share helpful tools with you that emphasize the importance of mental health. We hope that as you start to implement these tools into your day that they will combat feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression, and simultaneously allow you to find joy, fulfillment and satisfaction in your day, your week and for a lifetime