Lincoln –There is no true health without behavioral health – a point that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Behavioral Health is highlighting with January’s Mental Wellness Month.
Emotional well-being can be negatively affected by many things, such as work, school, relationships, financial problems and excessive stress. Physical factors like illness can make one susceptible to mental wellness issues as well. Mental wellness creates a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and purposefully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
“Proactively taking care of your mental wellness can prevent more serious problems from developing,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS. “Everyone has unique circumstances that contribute to maintaining mental wellness. Take some time this January to focus on personal wellness. Simple, no-cost strategies can improve your quality of life and increase your years of life.”
There are eight dimensions of wellness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): emotional (coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships); spiritual (expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life); intellectual (recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills); physical (recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition); environmental (good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being); financial (satisfaction with current and future financial situations); occupational (personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one’s work), and social (developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.)
Tips to enhance mental wellness:
- Create a mental health wellness plan. Create a guide of coping skills, people to talk to in stressful situations, and enjoyable activities to ensure that you maintain the balance between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
- Practice self-acceptance. Use the new year as an opportunity to practice self-acceptance and self-esteem.
- Put yourself first. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s important to take time every day for yourself and your mental health. This might include enjoying a hot bath, treating yourself to a movie or spending time with family or friends. Do what helps you relax and re-charge, and seek out experiences that have a calming effect.
- Join a club, social group, or volunteer group.
- Be creative about budgeting and spending.
- Find a community whose spiritual outlook you share.
- Exercise. Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Go for a walk, take a fitness class or play a sport with friends and family.
- Be grateful. Practicing gratitude every day can invoke feelings of thankfulness and optimism that make managing challenges easier. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake – everyone makes them.
- Eat well. A balanced diet contributes to both physical and mental health.
- Get enough sleep. Most health authorities recommend that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day.
Need someone to talk to? The Nebraska Family Helpline at (888) 866-8660 makes it easy to obtain assistance. Trained Helpline operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to screen calls and can help your personal wellness journey. The Helpline is supervised by licensed mental health professionals.