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  • Six Ways to Safeguard Your Mental Health

    Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. In fact, in order to be truly healthy, a person should prioritize their physical, spiritual, mental and social health. Dave McWilliams is an addictions counsellor at Renascent and is the organization’s Program Coordinator for Tobacco Cessation. Having been sober for over seven years now, Dave knows what it’s like to live with depression and anxiety and he knows the positive effects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips he’s provided to clients and lives by himself to support his mental health.

    Be Positive
    When we focus on being positive we minimize the amount of time we can spend in a negative headspace. To help develop a more positive mindset, consider reading an uplifting book and limiting the amount of time you spend on social media and consuming news media. There are ways to help ensure that you receive more positive information. For example, you can choose to “block” any negative posts that come across your social media feed or “unfollow” negative people.

    Stay Connected
    It’s easy to feel isolated, so be sure to connect with people you care for and discuss your feelings and emotions. If sharing is challenging for you, consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and reaching out to a helpline. This is especially important if you are living with depression or anxiety. There are many supports available to assist you, so please reach out if you need to. Call Crisis Services Canada at 1-866-531-2600 or text 45645. 

    Boost Your Self-esteem
    Some times we need reminders about how awesome we truly are. There are a number of easy ways to boost your self esteem. Try writing and saying positive affirmations aloud daily to help counterbalance the negative self-talk that can come into our heads. Developing a daily habit of journaling can provide an outlet for your emotions and spotlight the many challenges we have overcome. Consider including a gratitude list when you journal to get your mind to focus on the positive aspects of life. Also, don’t forget to smile! Smiling releases endorphins that help improve our mood.

    Get Good Sleep
    We’ve heard time and time again that good sleep hygiene is very important for maintaining good health, yet many of us do not get enough sleep. Be sure to have a set bedtime, and create an environment in which you are comfortable sleeping. Minimize noise when possible and ensure the room is as dark as possible.

    Keep Active
    The importance of regular physical activity can never be understated. We all have different physical capabilities, so it’s important to do whatever works best for you on a consistent basis. This could be going for walks or bike rides, or even putting on some music and dancing. Being physically active doesn’t have to be complex, simply find something fun that you enjoy doing and develop a regular habit of doing it.

    Eat Healthy
    How we nourish our bodies plays an important role in our health. Be mindful about what you eat and drink. Ensure you stay hydrated during the day and eat a balanced diet whenever possible. Pay attention to how certain foods make you feel and take dedicated time to eat so that you can savour each bite.

    About the Authors

    Renascent Staff
    The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.