This year World Mental Health Day reminded us that mental health is a human right.
At UMBRA International, our primary goal is to ensure that a secure lifestyle is accessible to everyone, encompassing not just physical security but also mental well-being. We firmly believe that a healthy mental state enhances one’s overall strength, resilience, alertness, and safety. Furthermore, this mental well-being extends its positive influence to various facets of our lives, including our physical health, emotional well-being, digital security, and reputation.
Investing in our mental well-being is crucial, which is why we asked SilverBell Global for their top 5 tips on how we can go about fortifying our mental health.
Sleep plays a crucial role in the brain’s processing of emotional information. While we sleep, our brain sifts through, collates, and consolidates thoughts and memories, with REM sleep being particularly vital for positive emotional content. Insufficient sleep can severely impede the consolidation of positive emotions, impacting mood and emotional reactivity – potentially exacerbating mental health disorders.
- Prioritize healthy sleep as an essential component of emotional security/mental wellness (black-out curtains, white noise (forest sounds; water; white/brown noise) weighted/gauze blankets, eye mask, ear plugs)
- Allow your body and brain to rest, repair, and reset by aiming to get to bed and wake up at the same time each day to regulate your circadian rhythm (sunrise alarm clock, wake to a favorite song or sound, create a non-negotiable bedtime)
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine (limit screens an hour before bedtime, use a Bluelight screen shield on all devices, take a hot bath or warm shower before bed, indulge in a skin-care ritual with essential oils, aromatherapy or herbal tea/valerian)
- Set aside time for your healthy sleep practice the same way you would for yoga or working out (use the BEDTIME/SLEEP feature on your phone to turn calls off at a set time; schedule bedtime in your calendar each night)
The human need for social connection is well documented– whether we thrive in the company of many or find fulfillment in the companionship of a few close friends. Our social nature is deeply ingrained, and persistent isolation can intensify mental vulnerabilities while depriving us of invaluable opportunities for personal connection and growth.
- Connect with sage, supportive people who allow you to feel seen and heard
- Consider areas of personal expertise to offer personal or mentorship/guidance to others
- Take initiative by inviting friends or acquaintances for a coffee, a walk, or a meal.
- Explore more creative settings for social engagement- changing the environment can yield deeper connection arising from new experiences
- Engage in one-on-one conversations with others to build rapport and foster deeper connection
- Share openly with friends or confidants about challenges in your own life to create intimacy, trust, and symbiotic friendship
From reducing stress and anxiety to improving overall mood, being in nature is a respite from the pressure of daily life and a much-needed infusion of inspiration and energy. However you choose to be in Nature – from a walk around your neighborhood, to an afternoon in the park, to a serious camping trip – the benefits of heading outside are limitless.
- Take your coffee to go – to the park
- Explore a friend’s garden or yard (weeding optional)
- Spend a Saturday at the beach – even in the winter (wellies and wool a must)
- Show your toes a good time – take your shoes off and walk barefoot in nature
- Sit on a park bench and watch the changing sky
- Stargaze: chart the moon’s path across windows; identify constellations in view
Movement can take many forms – the release of stress-relieving endorphins and endocannabinoids is but one of its numerous benefits. Movement of all kinds is a powerful tool for enhancing mental health. Even modest exertion – a quick 5-minute stretch, daily walk, 10 minutes wheeling oneself in a mobility device, or doing chair-based weight lifting – has been shown to provide significant benefits, including heightened focus, an increased sense of well-being and accomplishment, and improved social interaction. Get your body moving:
- Go for a walk with a friend
- Kitchen Dance Party
- Take a yoga class
- Get to the gym
- Move your Commute: get off one stop early and travel on your own steam the rest of the way
- Offer to carry someone’s groceries down the block or up the stairs
- Conduct your favorite piece of music – a great upper-body workout
All foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle, and all bodies can be healthy and deserve to pursue health, regardless of weight, shape, or size. While “healthy” may look different from individual to individual (some may prefer to eat meat, while others maintain a vegan lifestyle), a truly “healthy” way of eating sustains and nourishes physical, emotional, and mental wellness. Nutrition and Cognition go together: let the tank linger on empty, and our miraculous human machines will sputter, idle, and break down. On the other hand, when we fuel our bodies, we ignite our precious minds. Nourish mind, body, and soul:
- Regular balanced meals with delicious treats
- Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate (alternate H2O with that caffeine)
- Nutrient packed smoothies
- Your favourite chocolate cake
- Brain boosting salmon
- Explore Sheet-Pan recipes for maximum ease and flavour
- Cook locally, seasonally, and creatively
- Integrate one new food a month into your diet – hemp seeds in your granola, or sunchoke in your mash
And above all else….be gentle with yourself. Perfection is simply the unquenchable quest to find fault. Honor your intentions, and celebrate your efforts. Look out for what Deb Dana, author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy and co-founder of the Polyvagal Institute calls Glimmers – brief moments of engagement with the ventral vagus nerve as the body regulates its mental state.
Petting an animal, feeling soft spring rain, the sound of a baby laughing, inhaling the scent of warm bread, dancing to a favorite song, glimpsing a sunrise, rainbow, or sunset, marveling at the twinkling stars, hugging a loved one… Glimmers are personal in nature, different for each one of us. Like a flash of inner light, Glimmers bring heightened inspiration, clarity, creativity, productivity, connection, and self-awareness.
If you would like to find out more about how UMBRA International and SilverBell Global can assist you in rejuvenating your mental health, please contact us for more information.
From all at UMBRA International, we wish you a safe, secure and happy future!
Written by Kim Garrett and SilverBell Global.