Mental Health Awareness Month!

“People often say motivation doesn’t last.  Neither does bathing – 

that’s why we recommend it daily.”  ~Zig Ziglar 

A Silver Lining

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!  Following April’s barrage of holidays, I am very content to focus on this single, very important, designation for this post.   

One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been an increased awareness of mental health and more willingness to discuss emotional challenges in everyday life.  We are slowly chipping away at the long-standing, unnecessary stigma associated with seeking help for mental well-being. 

Mental Health <> Physical Health

We all have mental health as well as physical health.  One cannot exist without the other.  Attending to mental fitness is necessary to effectively attend to physical fitness, and vice versa.  If you were experiencing chest pains, you would not hesitate to seek out medical care.  Why would seeking out help with coping skills or bad habits or anxiety be any different? 

According to the American Psychological Association, “mental health is a state of mind characterized by emotional well-being, good behavioral adjustment, relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish constructive relationships and cope with the ordinary demands and stresses of life”.   According to Virginia Weslayan University, “physical health can be defined as a state of well-being when all internal and external body parts, organs, tissues, and cells can function properly …[and] a person is physically fit to perform their daily activities without restrictions”.    As you can see, good mental and physical health mean more than just the absence of disease or illness. 

Mental & Physical Fitness Habits

As a coach, I assist clients to develop the habits that improve mental and physical fitness.   Although we might wish it wasn’t true, excellent fitness requires ongoing behaviors and thought patterns.   Zig Ziglar hit the nail on the head with the quote above.  We must perpetually motivate ourselves in order to achieve and enjoy physical and mental fitness. 

Developing a Fitness Toolbox

Below is a short list of habits and behaviors to add to your fitness toolbox. 

  1. Develop a positive mindset & associate with positive people. 
  2. Practice healthy boundaries. 
  3. Learn effective coping skills, such as meditation, journaling, or time-outs. 
  4. Exercise most days of the week.   (Some of my favorite exercise equipment may be found here.)
  5. Establish a set bedtime and stick to it. 
  6. Limit social media usage, especially close to bedtime. 
  7. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others.  Compete with yourself. 
  8. Practice gratitude and kindness. 
  9. Eat mostly whole, plant-based foods & avoid processed foodstuffs as much as possible. 
  10.  Reduce or eliminate alcohol & caffeine from your diet.  Opt for water instead. 
  11.  Quit smoking. 
  12.  Work with a qualified coach who can provide structure, accountability, encouragement, & support. 
  13.  Bathe daily! 

There are countless other ways you can improve your mental and physical fitness.  The important thing is to find what works for you and commit to doing those things on a regular basis.    

These are challenging times in which we live.  Please remember to be mindful of others.  Lend a helping hand or a listening ear whenever you see an opportunity.   


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