As Bell Let’s Talk Day approaches next week, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician in Vancouver, wants to remind individuals of some important steps they can take to not only boost their own mental health, but also the mental health of those around them.
Value Yourself and Others
When it comes to mental health, it can certainly be difficult to look at yourself without avoiding self-criticism and self-doubt, but it’s important to try your best to do so. Remind yourself you’re good enough and that you’re capable of accomplishing anything you set out to do. Likewise, the same goes for those around you who might be feeling down, depressed, or anxious about something. Let them know they are valued and are worthy. Boost their self-esteem. Sometimes a small reminder and a little bit of kindness can go a long way.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Part of valuing yourself also means taking care of your physical health. This means making sure you’re eating 3 healthy and well-balanced meals per day, exercising regularly, and drinking lots of water. You should also avoid things like smoking and alcohol consumption, and ensure you’re getting the right amount of sleep each night, as a lack of sleep can contribute to a decline in not just your mental health, but other aspects of your wellbeing too.
Find Things You Enjoy / Do What You’re Good At
To improve your mental health it’s good to try to get in a routine by either finding things you enjoy doing – this can be things you already know you’re good at, or brand new hobbies. It can be something as simple as writing in a journal, doing arts and crafts, meditation, or volunteering for an organization you support. Finding your strengths can help you build self-confidence, and once you buld that self-confidence you will find your mood also improves.
Practice Stress-Reliving Strategies
A big part of living with anxiety is about finding and practicing different ways to relieve stress. These are known as stress-relieving strategies. For some it may be as simple as knowing how to avoid known triggers. Dr. Ali Ghahary also suggests trying different exercises, such as tension release exercises and breathing exercises. You can find more tips on stress prevention here.
Know It’s OK to Reach Out For Help
Feeling depression, anxious, or dealing with any other mental health issue can be overwhelming, but you should also understand it’s OK if you need to reach out for help. In fact, that is something Dr. Ali Ghahary encourages. Make sure the person you reach out to is a trusted individual, such as a friend or family member, and be sure to include your physician in that conversation too as that can often help steer you in the right direction. Don’t forget that you can also visit Dr. Ghahary’s community page for more mental health resources which include the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, and the Crisis Centre which offers a crisis chat from noon until 1 AM for all residents of British Columbia and the Yukon along with 24/7 telephone support.