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Keeping yourself mentally healthy

This week marks Mental Health Week, and the region’s health department is giving residents tips on how to support it.

“Mental Health Week is an opportunity to give your mental health the attention it deserves,” states Keith Rew, a public health nurse with the region’s health department, in a news release.

“According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, positive mental health is a state of well-being that allows one’s self to feel, think and act in ways that enhance their ability to enjoy life and deal with life’s challenges.”

The health department has given these five tips to help support mental health:

  • Be active. Going for a walk, playing on a sports team, or going for a swim can help to create positive mental health. Not only are these activities great for physical health, they are also great ways to release stress and improve mental health.
  • Build and enjoy healthy relationships. Enjoying the company of others is a great way to create positive mental health. Having social connections with friends, family and colleagues gives a sense of belonging. Having lunch with colleagues or eating dinner together with family are great ways to connect.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is a valuable opportunity for the mind and body to rest and recharge. When rested, a person’s focus and ability to make decisions improves and they are better equipped to handle challenges. Creating sleep routines can improve sleep. Turn off electronics two hours before bedtime.
  • Offer to help. The ‘helper’s high’, a feeling of well-being that one gets when helping or giving back, can improve mood. Offering to help a colleague at work or a neighbour in need will also increase connections with others.
  • Be mindful. Being mindful of negative thoughts and attitudes throughout the day is a great way to improve mental health. Optimistic thinking can help put a positive spin on a stressful challenge. Practising positive thinking becomes easier over time. Try placing a note on the fridge with a positive thought for a loved one to see, or do a random act of kindness.

For more information, please call the Durham Health Connection Line at (905) 666-6241, or visit durham.ca/mentalhealth.