Do you know what month it is? Mental Wellness Month!

Written by Miracle Hawkins, Contributing Writer

1/2/2021

Along with the new year, Mental Wellness Month is upon us. The International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP) is an educational organization for insurance professionals. The IAIP designated the month of January as Mental Wellness Month. According to Rose Hill Center “Since the late 1940s, mental health organizations have noted January as Mental Wellness Month.” [1] Mental Wellness Month serves several purposes which includes “increasing the public’s awareness of mental health and the high cost of ignoring it.” Additionally, “the month serves as a way for mental health organizations to help destigmatize health challenges and mental health treatment.” [1]

Mental wellness is all about understanding how our mental, social, intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects intersect together and impact our functioning and well-being either positively or negatively. Mental wellness determines how we think, feel, and act. Therefore, our mental wellness plays a major role in our decision making, the way we cope with stress, the way we interact with others, and how we show up in our daily lives. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, addressing health and wellness is more important than ever before. The following are factors that could have affected your mental wellness during 2020:

  • Increased stress and anxiety due to abrupt change
  • Feelings of isolation and depression
  • Being diagnosed with a severe health condition
  • Losing a family member
  • Witnessing the death of a loved one
  • Friction in relationships with family and friends 
  • Losing employment
  • Losing a sense of stability 
  • Experiencing other traumatic events

One or more of these factors have impacted us all and even as we close the chapter of 2020 and move into 2021, it may seem difficult to find ways to move forward from what has happened. It may also seem hard to feel hopeful for what is to come. Therefore, Mental Wellness Month is important as we transition into 2021. This time should be used to recognize the challenges that COVID-19 has created for our mental wellness and overall well-being. It should also be used to continue breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and mental health treatment. 

In honor of Mental Wellness Month, the following are some tips to help improve your mental wellness and overall quality of life: 

The Spiritual:

  1. Engage in prayer and meditation daily 
  2. Practice mindfulness 
  3. Engage with your faith/spiritual community for support and resources

The Physical:

  1. Get enough rest and develop a consistent sleep schedule 
  2. Exercise and eat a well-balanced diet 
  3. Attend routine medical appointments and consult with your doctor when needed
  4. Follow safety precautions provided by the CDC 

The Social and Intellectual:

  1. Find ways to stay connected with your family and friends (i.e. video calling)
  2. Find local community groups or organizations to join 
  3. Volunteer in the community (safely, of course) 
  4. Surround yourself with positive people
  5. Read books that you will enjoy 

The Mental and Emotional:

  1. Utilize healthy coping skills and relaxation techniques (i.e. journaling, deep breathing)
  2. Engage in self-care 
  3. Practice gratitude and affirmations
  4. Seek professional help from a therapist if needed (individual, marriage, and/or family therapy)

 

References

Rose Hill Center. (2019). It’s mental wellness month 2019. https://www.rosehillcenter.org/mental-health-blog/mental-wellness-month-2019/

Published by Counseling With Leslie

Leslie Stevens, M.Ed., LPC is a North Carolina and Virginia board certified licensed professional counselor. She owns a successful practice in Carrboro, North Carolina. Through Counseling with Leslie, PLLC, she helps individuals navigate stress, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. Additionally, she has been a leader, speaker, teacher, mentor and administrator for over 15 years.

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