National Mental Health Month…

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, we join the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) fights stigma, provides support, educates the public and advocates for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.

You Are Not Alone

NAMI’s “You are Not Alone” campaign features the lived experience of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others and educate the broader public. Now more than ever before, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone. The campaign builds connection and increases awareness with the digital tools that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing. Even in times of uncertainty, the NAMI community is always here, reminding everyone that you are not alone.

Throughout the month, they will feature personal stories from real people experiencing mental health conditions. You can submit your story at nami.org/yourstory. By reading about lived experience, they aim to make people feel less alone in their mental health journeys.

Resources

Share how you stay connected by writing your personal story or sharing #NotAlone graphics and messages with your community.

Step up: walking your way to health …

With the advent of fitness watches, we are now constantly aware of how active we are (or aren’t) being each and every day. If you aren’t a part of this craze, it’s likely you’ve heard people talk about ‘meeting their steps.’ But why is everyone obsessed with walking now? What’s the point, and how much are we actually supposed to be walking in a day?

The number people usually throw out as being the best goal is 10,000 steps. According to this article, “More research has linked a 10,000-step habit to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, better psychological well-being, weight loss and improved body composition.”

Some studies suggest you should be walking 15,000 steps if you’re a women, and 17,000 if you’re a man. However, aiming for 10,000 each day is a good step (excuse the pun) to a healthier lifestyle.

But why is walking so good for you? It’s because, as you may have suspected, humans weren’t meant to be sitting at their desks for 8 hours every day. Throughout the course of history, humans were on their feet for hours on end, walking or doing manual labor. So it makes sense that our bodies are the healthiest when they’re doing what they’re designed to do.

What are some ways you can walk 10,000 steps a day? Here are some ideas I came up with:

-Take your dog for a walk in the mornings, or when you come home from work.

-If you can, walk to go get your lunch instead of driving.

-Take the stairs!

-Return calls while walking.

Should You Be Taking Vitamins? …

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably someone who is pretty invested in their own health. We live in an age of information, so it makes sense that we want to do everything possible to be proactive about our health. The downside to having so much access to information, though, is that it can be difficult to know what exactly to look for. Beyond that, though, it’s difficult to know what is worth spending money on, especially as companies create so new products marketed as necessary for our health.

Such is the case with vitamins. Taking multivitamins has been a popular idea for awhile: the idea is that we don’t get enough of the vitamins we need in our daily diets, so we should supplement our diets with a single multivitamin, or an assortment of vitamins tailored to our individual needs. It seems intuitive that, if we aren’t getting a certain vitamin from our meals, we should try to get them from elsewhere.

But—and here’s the zinger—those multivitamins you’ve been taking might not be doing much. Or anything at all.

According to this article from Harvard Health, there isn’t conclusive evidence that multivitamins have much effect on your health. While there isn’t much evidence that taking multivitamins can actively harm you, there is similarly a lack of evidence that multivitamins perform in the way they are advertised.

The article recommends that you take these steps until we know how beneficial or damaging taking multivitamins can be:

  1. Ask your doctor if you really need to take a multivitamin. Could you have a vitamin deficiency?
  2. Assess your diet. Do you eat as healthy as you could? Is anything lacking?
  3. Do you want expert nutritional advice? See a dietician. Also, Medicare beneficiaries get an annual “wellness: visit with their primary care providers.
  4. Do not take high doses of specific vitamins, especially A and E. These may actually be harmful. Some research suggests that generous daily doses of vitamin D could be helpful.

It seems like the takeaway is that the best way of getting the vitamins that you need is through your diet. And if you think you need other vitamin supplements, talk to your doctor!

Stressed? Try Meditation …

We’re always looking for new ways to deal with stress. In today’s day and age, there seems to be thousands of methods we’re supposed to use to limit our stress. The amount of options we have is simply overwhelming, and the choices we’re presented with range in quality: some things seem pretty legit, while other proposed methods of dealing with stress seem a little gimmicky.

That’s why it’s important to do something that really works. After all, you want a way to reduce stress that doesn’t stress you out. Luckily for you, I know of a tried-and-true way of calming yourself down, and it’s absolutely free. Meditation is a great way of restoring a sense of calm and balance to your life. It’s an ancient practice that finds its origins in not one single culture, but in many. It’s considered to be a really strong technique in order to combat mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Meditating isn’t something you can just sit down and do perfectly the first time. It takes a lot of focus and practice in order to get to the point where you’re reaping the benefits of the meditation sessions.

Meditation is so powerful because it combines a sense of spirituality and science.

According to WebMD, “Meditation is a simply technique that, if practiced for as few as 10 minutes each day, can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation.”

There are several popular meditation techniques. (This website goes into greater detail.) Two of the most common methods are called concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation. According to this site, concentration and mindfulness are both very important in developing strong meditation skills.

One of the best things about meditation might be the fact that you can pretty much do it anywhere. At your desk, in your (parked!) car, in a bench outside your office. If only ten minutes of meditation can make a difference in not only your day, but also your life, why not try it?

Bullet Journals: Organization for Pros …

So you still have a few months until you can go on your summer vacation, and you’re hitting a bit of a lull. You want to be productive, but you need to shake somethings up. Can I tempt you with…a bullet journal?

A bullet journal is like a fancy, completely personalizable planner that will make you feel like you just got a new box of crayons! (With the sharpener in the back!)

Bullet journaling might be a good idea if you’re someone who needs some more creative stimulation in their day-to-day lives, or if you need to get more excited about all of the stuff on your to-do list (yay!) then all the time and effort that goes into making a bullet journal might be worth it for you.

What you’ll need: a journal, some pens (or markers! Or paint!) and a little bit of time.

I’m no bullet-journal expert myself, but I know this organizational method works for a lot of people! I’ve attached some links so you can learn more and get inspired from the professionals. Enjoy!

https://littlecoffeefox.com/how-to-start-your-very-own-bullet-journal/

https://kalynbrooke.com/life-and-style/how-to-start-a-bullet-journal/

https://medium.com/@melodywilding/bullet-journaling-for-beginners-and-impatient-unartistic-people-like-me-6efd7ee97f0e