28 Day Joy of MO’vement Challenge
Mental Health Week (May 2-8, 2022) stands out in people’s minds MO’re than ever before because we have lived together through a long and gruelling pandemic. This year’s theme “#GetReal about how to help” inspires me to tune into the reality of Canada’s mental health crisis so that I’m MO’re aware and able to be of service to others.
As a Health Professional for 40 years, I know that everybody can positively benefit from the mood-boosting effects of exercise regardless of their health and ability level. Keeping active ranks number two on The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)’s Top 10 best practices for looking after your mental health, with ‘talking about your feelings’ at number one, and ‘eating healthy’ at number three.
This year’s theme #GetReal encourages everyone to tune in before we weigh in. I will encourage you to take this time to tune in to our own feelings so that we can become more empathic with others. Tuning into our own feelings will help us gauge our own mental health status. Let’s take a moment to understand what mental health is –an ability to learn, feel, express, and manage a range of positive and negative emotions, form and maintain positive relationships with others, and the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a great resource and in their recent poll (March 2021), CMHA found that 7 out of 10 Ontarians believe that there will be a ‘serious mental health crisis as a result of the pandemic with 50% of all Canadians saying that this crisis will last long after the pandemic. This both highlights and magnifies how crucial mental health is to our overall well-being. Several studies have linked the experience of quarantine to symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress, sometimes with long-term effects. Certain groups of Canadians are more vulnerable to the physical, economic, and social impacts of COVID-19 than others. These include women and younger Canadians (18-24 years of age). One in 4 Canadians (25%) aged 18 and older have self-screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 94% of Canadians who screened positive for at least one of these disorders attribute their decline in mental health directly related to the pandemic. The most common impacts attributing to their decline in mental health are feelings of loneliness or isolation (77%), physical health problems (62%), and challenges in personal relationships (48%). What does this all say to us? We are all vulnerable and there is one thing this pandemic has taught us; it is that being vulnerable is not a weakness but a strength.
We are stronger than we know and with new knowledge, we can grow even stronger. The only weakness is ignoring getting real with how we feel and tuning in to not only our own feelings but also the feelings of others. Getting real with how you feel is a great way to see where you are at—a starting point in your mental health self-care journey. I invite you to BEcome MO’re mindful of your own mental health and wellbeing by participating in my 28 Day Self-Care “Joy of MO’vement” Challenge. Self-care is the gift that keeps on giving”