Let’s Talk (Mental) Health
When we think of health and wellness, dieting and exercising are normally the first things to come to mind. However by definition, wellness means the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health. Mental health is sometimes the missing piece in the health and wellness world. I know I personally am at fault for not making my mental health as important, if not more important, than my physical health. I run on a regular basis, eat my vegetables and take my vitamins. But what am I doing to take care of my mental health?
Mental health is defined by mentalhealth.gov as including our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps to determine how we handles stress, relates to others and make choices.
This seems fairly important, no? In a country where we’re plagued with minute-by-minute news about the latest fitness craze or diet myths debunked, I find it surprising that there isn’t more of an emphasis on mental health. My own opinion is that mental health gets a bad rep, that people are often nervous or hesitant to talk about it. There is a fear around mental health or disabilities – much as there is fear around diseases we don’t fully understand. Because mental disabilities are sometimes difficult to diagnose and treat, I think talking about mental health has become a faux pas. This is dangerous. Not allowing open dialogue and discussion around mental health causes those struggling with these very real problems to deal with their struggle alone.
So what can we do? Well first, we can talk about it. Mental health doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or scary. It’s just another aspect of wellness. It’s something we should be doing on a regular basis to be taking care of ourselves. Find what works for you in terms of making mental health a priority. Does this mean finding someone to talk to about how to handle your anxiety or better cope with stress? Or maybe this means practicing mediation a few times a week? Other ways to improve your mental health include connecting with people, staying positive, getting enough sleep and helping others. So simply grabbing coffee with a friend or volunteering an hour at a soup kitchen could improve your mental health. When it’s this easy to do, there’s really no excuse. So this year resolve to not only eat better and exercise regularly – but to embrace and cultivate your mental health in order to achieve all around wellness.
Author’s Note: If you are experiencing depression or any other severe mental health issues, please seek medical help immediately: www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/index.html.
From January 5 – 11, Columbus Underground is featuring our Health & Wellness Week series, brought to you by the The Fitness Loft. The Fitness Loft is more than just a gym – it’s a visionary approach to developing a sustainable community and creating an atmosphere that encourages people to lead a healthier life. Our holistic concept includes biometric wellness screening, Technogym exercise equipment that records progress, free group fitness and nutrition classes, an on-site Registered Dietitian, and much more to give you a truly unique wellness experience. Located at 625 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH 43206.