By now, many people have adjusted to the “new normal” that is physical distancing and self-quarantining. For many of us, this pandemic has lead to an abundance of free time that may not be being used in a productive way. Rather than spending all of this newly discovered free time re-watching our favourite television series, we could be using this time to learn new skills, or teach our children valuable life skills.
Teaching children from a young age to clean up after themselves is important, as it will help them to develop the habit of picking up after themselves. If children are older, they can always help with dusting, vacuuming and sweeping. Leading by example is a great way to peak children’s interest in helping with household chores. Keeping a clean house can also help with our mental health.
As we’ve likely all seen on social media, bread making has become the newest past time for many of us in quarantine. With most restaurants closed, now is the time to get creative and try your hand at those new recipes you have saved on your Pinterest board. Choosing recipes that your kids can help with is a great choice, as the more children are able to help out with a successful recipe, the more confident they will become in the kitchen. Even small tasks such as pouring their own cereal can make a child feel as though they are self-sufficient and can help with their confidence.
With Spring just around the corner, now is a great time to get started on plotting the garden. Taking the time to explain how plants grow and how to care for them is a great way to teach children responsibility. You can assign your children their own section of the garden to care for; they can make a habit of checking for growth every day.
Sewing is a skill that comes in handy more often than people think. Right now, many people are making their own facemasks to wear in public. This is a great family project whether or not you know how to sew. You can learn together while also creating a helpful project. In addition to masks, projects such as crocheting, knitting and cross stitching are creative ways to pass the time indoors or in our backyards.
Trying to use the time we have at home to teach our children and learn some new skills ourselves is important, but it’s also important to make sure we are taking time to practice self care. Eating well, exercising and sleeping well are all ways we can take care of ourselves in such uncertain times. Adapting to this “new normal” is not easy, but we’re all in this together and we can help each other out, even if it’s from a distance.
When the government, news, and community are urging us to stay home and a large number of us have been laid off, it’s easy to get stuck in a funk of Netflix and junk food. What people may not realize is the effect this can have on our mental health and overall wellbeing. This is the time when we need to take advantage of having some time at home, and shift our focus on taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally.
Maintain a sense of normalcy
Every morning, take the time to adhere to your normal routine. Get up at your regular time, take a shower, brush your teeth, cook breakfast for yourself or your family, and then plan your day from there. Try to eat your meals at the same time you normally would, and continue (or start) your exercise routine from home. Many gyms are offering home workout videos on social media, and there are hundreds of tutorials you can follow on sites such as Youtube for free. Keeping our routines as normal as possible can help keep us on track and assist us in feeling like we have more control over our lives as things unfold.
Limit social media “news”
At this point, news surrounding COVID-19 is everywhere you look on social networking sites. Social media can be great in terms of having communication with our community, but it’s no secret that incorrect information can be shared very quickly through sites like Facebook or Twitter. Try to limit your time surfing these sites and make sure you obtain your information from reputable sources such as the Government of Canada website or the World Health Organization.
Reach out to loved ones
Right now, a lot of us may be starting to feel lonely and isolated, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Pick up the phone and call, text or FaceTime your loved ones. A simple hello can make someone’s day, especially if they are feeling alone. Don’t forget about any elderly relatives or friends you may have that could need some extra help in times like this. Offer to pick up and deliver some groceries to their door, if you are able. Just remember to practice social distancing to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Take this as an opportunity to do what you’ve been putting off
We almost always have the excuse, “I don’t have time to do X, Y & Z right now.” Well, now is as good a time as ever to break out that new book you’ve been wanting to read, or that canvas you’ve been wanting to paint. Being creative is a great way to raise your spirits in this rather upsetting time. Now is also a great time to get caught up on any chores around the house you’ve been putting off. Clean out your closet, deep clean your kitchen, or rearrange your living room. We aren’t sure how long this is going to last, so we may as well try to use the time we have away from work and the outside world in a positive way.
We had a comment on one of our posts recently from someone who has chosen to start some free online classes with their time off of work. This is a great way to spend your time in a productive way- doing something that we normally wouldn’t have time to do. Websites such as Coursera or edX offer college and university classes for free. There are lots of unconventional ways to learn online as well; Skillshare offers online learning classes for a wide variety of categories, and sites such as GeoGuessr allow you to see the world from the comfort of your own home. Many museums also offer virtual tours that you can take for free, which is a great and educational activity for the whole family.
The reality of the world at the moment is not great, but it is really important that we try to look for the positives in every situation. If things are really hard for you right now, reach out to someone. Our need for a sense of community right now is heightened, and resources have been put in place to meet with mental health professionals from home in order to follow social distancing guidelines. If you do not have a therapist, reach out to a friend or family member, or the crisis line (Ottawa 613-722-6914, outside of Ottawa 1-866-996-0991) We’re all in this together.
It’s pretty safe to say that at one point or another in our lives, we have felt like we were in over our heads at school or work, despite having relevant experience or knowledge. This is a very common occurrence, and it actually has a name. Imposter Syndrome, Fraud Syndrome or the Impostor Experience is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.  Most often, this syndrome is found in individuals in college, grad school or who are starting a new job or a new employment position within an existent job.
Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes were the first to study the imposter syndrome in 1978. They originally believed that women were uniquely affected by the thoughts and feelings that come along with imposter syndrome, but since then research has shown that it can affect anyone, regardless of gender. 
Typical symptoms that are experienced with Imposter Syndrome are anxiety, self-doubt, fear of failure, perfectionism  and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that overrides feelings of success or external proof of competence. While it is not an official DSM diagnosis, it has been linked to anxiety and depression, which is easy to understand if you are constantly having thoughts that you are not good enough to be where you are in life, or that everyone thinks you’re faking it.
Knowing the history of Imposter Syndrome is one thing, but knowing ways to combat the thoughts and feelings is an important way to protect yourself from succumbing to the negative side effects. Remind yourself that from time to time, almost everyone has the same thoughts and feelings as you. Reminding yourself of this can be key in not only feeling less alone, but vocalizing your feelings can also help others around you feel less alone too. Another way to combat Imposter Syndrome is to keep a list of all of your accomplishments- big and small.  When you are feeling overwhelmed, or in over your head, take a moment to read through all of the highlights of your career or academic successes.
Having a mentor is another great way to eliminate the thoughts and feelings that come with the Imposter Syndrome. If you’re in a field that predominantly consists of one ethnicity or gender, it can be easy to doubt yourself if you don’t fit into that same category. Finding a mentor who more closely matches your age, gender identity, race, or sexual orientation that is in the field you are in can help a great deal with your confidence.
One final way to help combat the Imposter Syndrome is to speak with a mental health professional. Reaching out to a licenced therapist can help in many ways, and they can help give you the tools you need to push past any feelings of doubt you may experience.
We tend to get bombarded by the media highlighting how important self esteem in girls is, or how
difficult it is to be a girl in the age of social media, how girls are always taught to compare their bodies to others, and how if they don’t look a certain way, they aren’t as important. But what about the teen boys? Why is it that we rarely hear about expectations that are set for young men in our society? This article will highlight some of the main factors that can harm a young man’s confidence, and a few tips to help combat those factors.
Generally speaking, boys tend to have more difficulty with sustained attention than girls do. In a
classroom setting, this can lead to more corrections from teachers which can cause anger and
embarrassment for the student, often times lowering their self-esteem and desire to participate in
classroom activities. One great way to prevent this from happening is to introduce body breaks into the classroom setting, or at any time the child needs to focus for a long period of time. Teachers, parents and students are encouraged to communicate openly when either is noticing an increase in fidgeting or frustration, so that a break can be had to prevent any outbursts.
Studies have shown that boys are more likely to bully others than girls; this, along with the knowledge that boys are constantly comparing themselves to others their age can lead to lower self esteem. Whether it be comparing their height, grades, athletic ability or popularity level, boys are surrounded by others who are all striving to be the “best” at what they do. It’s important to instill in boys the ability to see different rather than better. Encourage young boys to find what they excel at, and not to be bothered by what anyone else is doing.
Social media has a huge influence on teens’ lives nowadays. It gives teens a way to truly compare the amount that their peers “like” them and their friends. Recently, platforms like Instagram have tried to battle against this by removing the ability to see just how many “likes” others have at a quick glance, which is a step in the right direction. Even still, social media has been shown to lead to intensify symptoms of depression and anxiety, cause envy and jealousy, has been tied to sleep deprivation and communication issues. Helping to take action against mental health issues related to social media use can be challenging, but trying to limit social media use is a good place to start. Decide on an amount of time that is fair, but not excessive, for the teen to check and post on social media, and when the time is up, the phone/ computer goes away. Spending more time outside or with friends and family is another great way to avoid the mental health issues that social media can cause. This way the adolescent is still getting social interaction, but it’s in a face to face format rather than screen to screen.
-Pressure to “Be a Man”-
From such a young age, many boys are taught to suppress their emotions or are told that “boys don’t cry”. Breaking down those gender stereotypes is so important to not only the boys’ self esteem, but their overall mindset. It’s important to emphasize that everyone feels a variety of emotions, and that it’s okay to experience any emotion that they happen to experience. On top of encouraging them to be open to feeling emotions, adults should lead by example. Show the young/teen boy in your life that you are open to showing emotions- sometimes you cry when you’re upset and that’s perfectly normal. It’s also important to introduce them to a variety of potential role models; men who are extroverted, introverted, funny, intellectual, masculine and feminine so they can see for themselves that men don’t all fit into one category. Encourage them to ask questions and to express their emotions however they feel is necessary.
-Leading by Example-
Many adults have self deprecating behaviours that they may not even notice. For some, constantly
joking about themselves, or putting themselves in a negative light is a coping mechanism for dealing with their own insecurities; but it can be contagious when it comes to children and teens. If you find yourself speaking poorly about yourself (whether you’re around your teen or not), take note of why you’re saying the things you are. Make a conscious effort not to make the comments or jokes and show your teen how to be confident in yourself. Teach your teen not only how to advocate for himself, but for others around him too.
As with most things, self-esteem is not something that can be changed or created over night. Patience, mixed with any combination of the above tips should slowly start building a more confident teen.
1. Gender Differences in Bullying | PREV Net
2. Social Media's Impact On Self-Esteem | HuffPost | Clarissa Silva | Feb 22, 2017
3. Teens are Divided on the Impact of Social Media | American Psychiatric Association | June 7, 2018
4. Social Media Effects on Teens | Impact of Social Media on Self-Esteem | Child Mind Institute | Rachel Ehmke
5. How to Help Build Your Son's Self-Esteem | Understanding Boys | Chris Hudson | Feb 21, 2017
6. How to Build Boys' Self-Confidence | Child Mind Institute | Beth Arky
7. Boost Your Teen Boy's Self Confidence | SheKnows | Kori Wllis | Aug 4, 2011
8. 5 Ways Social Media Affects Teen Mental Health | Verywell Family | Sherri Gordon | Apr 6, 2019
9. Boys Need Help with Self-Esteem, Too | Psych Central | Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D | May 16, 2016
In our recent wellness survey, our #1 answer to the question “what is the most important aspect of maintaining your personal wellness and ensuring personal growth” was “quality time with friends and family,” was noted by 34% of the participants. However, what are the most valuable ways to spend that quality time? Is spending time with your loved ones defined as having a meaningful conversation that is beneficial to either of you or sitting beside them when one or both of you are glued to your phones? The answer may seem obvious, but it is often difficult to choose to spend your time with others in ways that benefit both your relationship and your mental health. As such, we have some suggestions for activities that may help to improve your quality time with loved ones.
Go for a Walk:
Fresh air, exercise, good conversation and time with your loved one(s) - what more could you need? Take the time you have together to not only spend some quality time, but get outside and increase your heart rate. Not only is it going to strengthen your relationship, it will help you work towards your goal of 30 minutes of activity each day (as discussed in this article). If walking isn’t really your thing, try biking, swimming or doing yoga together; any activity that will get your heart rate up will benefit your health.
Cook A Meal Together:
Cooking is always a great way to spend time with family and friends. You get the opportunity to exchange healthy recipes and learn new tips and tricks. Meal prepping for the week is also a great way to spend your time and set yourselves up for a week of clean eating. When you’re looking for recipes, remember to choose foods that will benefit your mental health and overall wellbeing. In addition to cooking together, sit down and eat your meal together at a table and not in front of an electronic. It’s so easy these days to grab your meal and scatter to your designated rooms, but make the effort to eat your meals with each other as often as possible.
Teach Your Kids:
This one may sound obvious, but many people are quick to give their children a task to distract them while they try to get their own tasks completed. Instead of shooing the kids away, teach them how to help you out; if they show an interest in the laundry, take the time to show them how to wash, dry and fold their own clothes. Not only will it take some of the stress off of you, but it will teach them valuable life lessons and help them prepare for their futures.
Schedule A Family Night:
Dedicate one night per week to family time. This can mean a game night, a movie night, or even a dinner out at a restaurant. Whatever you choose to do, keep the cell phones hidden away and focus on giving your undivided attention to your family. If you keep the day and time consistent, everyone will know not to schedule outside activities and miss out on the time together.
All time that you are able to spend with your friends and family is great, but there are definitely certain ways that can benefit your overall wellness more than others. If you have more ideas, share them in the comments of this post - we would love to hear what you and your family do together that improves your relationships and overall wellness.
One in four Canadians will experience anxiety symptoms at some point in their lifetime. Anxiety can present in many different ways; as the anticipation of new or uncomfortable events, within social settings, obsessive compulsive thoughts, panic attacks, trauma or as a more generalized anxiety. Fortunately for those who experience the discomfort of anxiety, grounding techniques exist to eliminate or lessen the effects of the symptoms. There are many forms of grounding techniques, and not every technique will work for every person; however, if one solution does not work for you, do not be afraid to try out another, or develop your own technique that helps you refocus in an anxious situation.
1- 5,4,3,2,1 Method:
In this method, individuals are asked to combine slow breathing and recognizing their environment. Take a deep breath in for 5 seconds and then exhale for 5 seconds. Once your breath has been regulated, take the time to acknowledge 5 things around you that you can see, 4 things that you can feel, 3 things that you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
For example, practicing this method in an exam may look something like this:
Deep breath in
Deep breath out
See - pencil, pen, paper, desk, chair
Feel - denim jeans, wooden desk, plastic pen, cotton shirt
Hear - pencil on paper, pages flipping, clock ticking
Smell - perfume, fabric softener
Taste - coffee
2- Square Breathing:
This method of grounding is very helpful when you are suffering from panic attacks or simply beginning to feel overwhelmed in any situation. Regulating your breath is extremely helpful in overcoming the uncomfortable physical symptoms that often accompany anxiety and worry. In this method, you will be matching your breathing to the movement of your finger.
Place your finger in the center of your chest
Start taking a slow, deep breath and begin tracing a square on your chest
Aim to finish drawing the square at the end of your breath. This should take about 10-15 seconds.
Repeat this movement and breath cycle about 20 times until your breathing has been regulated.
A variation of this technique is to match your breathing with something moving slowly and steadily. This resource is a great starting point for anyone who needs to slow their breathing during a panic attack or episode.
3- Memory Game:
This method of grounding challenges you to recall as many objects in a category as possible. The aim is to reorient yourself back to the present moment and suppress any negative emotions or memories that are trying to push their way into your thoughts. For example:
List as many dog breeds as you can
Name as many countries as you can
List all of the streets nearby that you can
List as many colours as you can
Grounding techniques are great tools to have when you experience anxious thoughts or feelings. Share in the comments some techniques that you have to combat anxiety. As always, if you feel that your symptoms are too much to handle on your own, consult a mental health professional, or go directly to the nearest emergency room.
Most of us are guilty of using social media on a semi-regular basis. It can be a very useful tool to stay connected to family and friends, but at what point does it change from an innocent look in an attempt to remain current on the lives of friends and family to an unhealthy need and potentially self-esteem damaging obsession?
The results of studies related to social media have had mixed results, but there is a common theme - self-esteem is impacted by the use of social media. A survey of active social media users (both male and female) between the ages of 28-73 report that using social media has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way (1). Another study of teenagers aged 13-17 showed that 24% said social media had a negative effect on their lives with instances of bullying, unrealistic views of others’ lives in comparison to their own, conflict, unrealistic expectations and dissatisfaction within their own relationships (2). A third study showed that social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram led to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, poor body image and loneliness (3)
So how can we eliminate the risk of becoming subject to damaged self-esteem via social media? Here are a few tips:
1- Limit time spent on social platforms:
This may sound simple- but it’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re scrolling through countless pictures and status updates. Try setting a timer to track your social media time. Once the timer goes off, the apps have to be closed for the night. In addition to setting the timer, make it a point to stay off social media close to bedtime. Proper sleep hygiene includes not using screens close to falling asleep to help your brain prepare for sleep.
2- Turn off the notifications:
It’s hard to ignore a list of notifications on your phone. For some, the little red bubble next to the app is impossible to ignore. Turning off notifications will help to eliminate the impulse to check your social platforms.
3- Stick to friends and family:
Many of us are guilty of trying to keep track of what celebrities are doing on social media, but let’s face it - we all know that celebrities have an entourage of individuals who assist with their daily tasks such as professional makeup artists, hairdressers, stylists, photographers and photo editors all to make their photos look as “perfect” as possible. These unrealistic images do nothing but harm to our self-esteem. Try stick to following only your friends and family on social media for a more realistic, natural looking feed.
4- Limit Social Media Platforms:
A study published by Computers in Human Behavior showed that people who use more than 7 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression than those who used two or fewer platforms (4). If you are someone who uses many different social media platforms, monitor which ones bring you joy and which ones do not. Try to choose your top 2 apps and stick with only the ones which bring you a sense of happiness. Don’t be afraid to delete the platforms that do not bring you joy.
Like most things in life, social media is good in moderation. It’s a fantastic tool that allows us to easily stay connected with individuals that we otherwise would have trouble communicating with. Knowing ways to protect your self-esteem is very important for anyone who chooses to download an app of this sort. Feel free to share in the comments ways that you protect yourself from damaged self-esteem.
In our recent wellness survey, 9% of participants stated that the most important aspect of
maintaining an overall healthy well-being is alone time. Time on our own can be used to do a
variety of things, but there are some activities that are more beneficial than sitting down and
Meditation is a great way to reconnect with ourselves, recharge after a long day, or prepare for
the day ahead. It can take as little or as much time as we need to clear our minds. For
beginners, there are many resources available to help you get started; apps such as Headspace
or The Mindfulness App are great ways to introduce yourself to meditation. Benefits of
meditation include lower levels of anxiety and stress, and lower blood cortisol levels (1) which
can improve sleeping patterns.
For some individuals, journaling is their main way to de-stress. It is an outlet that allows you to
release your inner thoughts and feelings through writing or drawing. Journaling can help with
managing anxiety, coping with depression, and reducing stress. It allows you to recognize your
triggers, and to identify any negative behaviors you may not otherwise be aware of. (2)
Exercising has many benefits to your mental health. Instead of sitting on the couch and
watching television for an hour, get your body moving and increase your heart rate by going for
a walk or a swim. Activities such as yoga will also improve your sleep and your ability to
Try replacing your usual Sunday afternoon or evening activities with preparing healthy lunches
for the week ahead. Make sure you include lots of dark leafy greens and complex carbohydrates
to fuel your brain. A meal prep short cut; purchase a rotisserie chicken and use it in salads,
sandwiches, and wraps which makes for a quick and healthy alternative to take out.
Go to Bed Early
It is no secret that most of us do not get the recommended amount of sleep every night. Studies
have shown that sleep problems may contribute to the development or prolongation of mental
illness by making it more difficult to cope with daily stresses. (3) Give yourself the night off and
retire early to catch up on the sleep you may be missing. Remove your phone and any other
screens that may be a distraction to you and let yourself recharge.
No one is perfect, and let’s face it - sometimes we just want to lay on the couch and watch
television, and that’s okay… some of the time. However, if we pay more attention to making the
most of our alone time, it can have significant benefits to our mental health and overall well-
being. For more ideas on how to improve the quality of your alone time, speak to a mental
health professional for suggestions of activities that you can incorporate into your own personal
1. Meditation 101: Techniques, Benefits and a Beginners How To by: Inner IDEA
2. Journaling for Mental Health University of Rochester Medical Center
3. Mental Illness and Sleep Disorders, Tuck Sleep, June 12, 2018
From a young age we are taught to connect the food we eat with our physical health; think of how often you heard “you are what you eat” growing up. We may not be what we eat, but we are what we absorb. What many of us do not put together is the direct impact the food we consume has on our mental health, and the nutrients we absorb can lead to both digestive issues and our mental health. In addition to consistent exercise and adequate sleep, proper nutrition is one of the fundamental elements of overall personal well-being and growth. Everything from genetics to the changes in our diets, to prenatal nutrition can affect our mental health in both positive and negative ways.
What to Eat:
It goes without saying that maintaining a healthy diet (and therefore better mental health) has to include plenty of fruits and vegetables and few to no processed foods on a regular basis. A good way to maintain this is to make it a priority to cook meals at home rather than going out to eat or ordering deliveries. When we cook meals at home, we know exactly what ingredients are going into the meals, and we can substitute simple carbs and processed foods with nutrient rich alternatives. There are a few foods in particular that you should make the extra effort to incorporate into your diet:
Dark Leafy Greens- Spinach, collard greens and kale are rich in iron and folic acid. Iron and folic acids have been shown to reduce fatigue and ward off symptoms of depression. Individuals who ate a diet rich in dark, leafy greens had less symptoms of cognitive decline than those who did not. An easy way to get your recommended leafy greens in is to substitute one meal a day with a salad with lots of vegetables.
Whole Grains- The brain’s primary source of energy is glucose. The glucose found in whole grains such as bulgar, oats, wild rice and barley are much better than those found in other, more processed products. Whole grains are full of complex carbs which release glucose slowly, providing a steady stream of fuel for the brain rather than the fast burning glucose found in sugar-filled white bread or rice.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are often missing from diets- they can be found in foods such as wild cold water fish, seaweed, avocado, nuts and some chicken (if it was fed on flaxseed and walnuts). Our brain is made up of 60% fat, so it makes sense that we need to be eating (the right kind of) fats to maintain our brain health. Omega 3s affect the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin which boost learning and memory, as well as helps to maintain normal cognitive functioning. Diets that incorporate fatty acids have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia, depression and ADHD.
B-Vitamins are incredibly important to our mental health as well. Stress turns to our B-vitamins first and burns through them quickly which can lead to adrenal fatigue. B-vitamins are found in dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, legumes, eggs and dairy products, meat and whole grains.
What to Avoid:
Alcohol- For many of us, alcohol is a substance that we consume from time to time, however what you may not know if that alcohol actually turns the fatty part of our brain rancid. Alcohol has also been linked to depression, memory loss and suicide. Try to limit your consumption of alcohol and offset any drinking with a healthy diet full of nutrients and vitamins.
Trans Fats- A recent study from the University of California showed that trans fats may have a negative effect on anger management. Another study showed that there was a 48% higher chance of depression in individuals who consumed high levels of trans fats. Trans fats can be found in dairy products and meats, any oils that can turn to solids (butter, margarine, etc), baked goods and fast food.
Soda and Sugary Drinks- Fruit juices and soda spike your blood sugar which provides energy spikes to your brain, but they do not give you any nutrients and you eventually crash. Soda is usually packed full of caffeine as well, which can cause disturbances in your sleeping patterns, worsening your mental health symptoms. If you are craving a fruit juice, try juicing your own to avoid all of the added ingredients, or simply eat a piece of fruit and drink water. If it’s soda that you’re craving, reach for sparkling water- you’ll still get the satisfying fizz but without the sugar and empty calories.
Simple Carbohydrates- Simple carbs such as white bread, rice or candy cause blood sugar spikes and crashes which can lead to mood swings. Sugar has also been attributed to ADHD, bipolar disorder and psychosis. Put in the effort to replace simple carbs with more complex ones (purchase seedy bread instead of white bread, and wild rice instead of white rice).
Changing your diet and lifestyle is not something that happens overnight for most people, it takes time and commitment to make the positive changes and stick with them. Make it a goal and a priority in your life to improve your nutrition, and you will see the changes it makes on your mental health. For optimal overall wellness, a balance of proper nutrition, adequate sleep and consistent exercise make the biggest impact.
7 Unusual Signs of Iron Deficiency by Ashley Welch
The Skinny on Brain Fats by Susan Reynolds
How Can the Brain be Both 60% Fat and 80% Water by Angela S. Bryant
Vitamin B: Best Sources and Signs of Deficiency by Teresa Cheong
Alcohol and Mental Health- Drinkaware
Say "No" to Trans Fats- Mental Health Food
Foods to Avoid if You Have Anxiety or Depression - Web MD
The Role of Nutrition in Mental Health Promotion and Prevention- Dietitians of Canada
Simple Carbohydrates- Medline Plus
Do Carbs Make You Crazy by Emily Deans M.D.
Malabsorption Syndrome- Healthline
Everyone knows that exercise has incredible benefits to our physical health, but it also has a positive effect on our mental health. Studies show that engaging in exercises that boost your heart rate can improve symptoms of both depression and anxiety disorders. Aerobic exercises (any type of exercise that increases your heart rate and gets you sweating) have been shown to have beneficial effects on the brain; these exercises release endorphins and enkephalins (the body’s ‘feel-good’ hormones). These hormones are responsible for feelings of joy and happiness. Regular exercise also builds self confidence in a person over time and alleviates stress, which also improves mental health.
The majority of mental health professionals recommend 45 minutes of moderate exercise 3 to 5 times per week; however even as little as one hour of exercise each week has shown to help improve mental health. The long-term effects of consistent exercise on mental health are still being researched, however studies have shown that overall, individuals who exercised regularly for 10-12 weeks had less symptoms of depression compared to those who did not.
Often times when we hear “exercise” we immediately think of going to the gym, but memberships can be expensive, and for some the idea of exercising in front of others can be anxiety inducing. Exercising from home is a great way to get started; there are plenty of videos on Youtube with workout routines for everyone from beginners to experts. Starting out with low intensity workouts such as walking or swimming are recommended if your current activity level is low. Activities such as running, hot yoga, swimming, Pilates, HIIT (high intensity interval training), dance and cycling are all great ways to increase your heart rate.
As an alternate or in addition to working out, simply try incorporating more activity into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, play sports with your kids instead of watching them from the sidelines, or put some music on and dance while you cook dinner. Any movement that increases your heart rate is going to help you hit your exercise goal for the week.
Taking our mental health as seriously as our physical health is very important and should be a priority. In addition to regular exercise, proper nutrition and adequate sleep, speaking to a loved one is often helpful for those suffering from mental illness. If symptoms of a mental health disorder are becoming concerning, contact a mental health professional.
Dr. Diana Garcia
Dr. Diana Garcia has over 20 years of experience in the field of psychology. She has provided psychological and counseling services in Ontario, and the states of Pennsylvania, and Florida