Mental Health in our Rural Communities (Part 4 – Sidebar 3)
Focus on more and better sleep. Take naps. After dinner, start setting your environment up for sleep. Turn your house lights down earlier. Put away technology earlier. Start a 10-minute tidy-up routine each night to help quiet the mind’s To Do list. Get into bed earlier. Do some stretching just before
lying down. Sleep in a totally dark, somewhat cool room. Cover up or unplug anything with a light.
Add movement to your life. Stretch in the morning. Fill your lungs to their fullest and empty them to depletion several times a day. Try new and different forms of movement to help you figure out what’s going to work for you…walking, fitness videos, smart phone apps, weight training, balance exercises, posture training (try The Gohkale Method), hire a personal trainer, go dancing, join a team sport, park further away, buy a pedometer and challenge a friend. Take advantage of fitness benefits through your insurance. Stretch before bed. Say YES! to any new opportunity to move your body. Better physical fitness can be yours in mere minutes a day.
Prioritize your nutrition. What you’re putting into your body can make a huge difference to your mental well-being. Sugar is on par with addictive substances such as cocaine and heroin. Pay close attention to food ingredients; sugar is in almost everything. Focus on whole foods. Do your best to quit drinking all sweetened beverages. Research and adopt a nutrition program that works for you. Millions are having success with low carb/healthy fat lifestyles. Read about intermittent and extending fasting for weight loss and to heal the body. Always work with your medical provider in advance of any major change.
Learn about psychological self-care. There is a massive body of literature on the benefits of meditation, acupuncture, sensory awareness activities, the Emotional Freedom Technique (or EFT Tapping), gentle yoga, focused breathing, cultivating social routines, journaling, praying, spending time in nature, minimizing your belongings, challenging your brain with puzzles, games, or books you wouldn’t normally read, create art of any sort, and so on and so forth. The list is endless.
Take supplements. Research and talk to your doctor about what would be best for you. Some recommendations include the B vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B6, higher dosages of Vitamin D3, St. John’s wort, SAMe, fish oil, theanine, and tumeric. There are many more options out there, but be sure to check your nutrition. Healthy eating in conjunction with supplements is your best bet.
Talk to someone you trust. The power of connection can’t be emphasized enough. Confide in a friend, a family member, a pastor or other faith leader, supervisor, coach, teacher or guidance counselor. Find a local in-person support group. Or to remain anonymous, try a counseling hotline, text message service, a web-based support group, or use tele-medicine through your insurance program. There are many free services out there ready to help.
(Published in the February 13th, 2018 issue of the Warroad Pioneer)
Part 1 What’s Eating Rural America?
Part 4 The New Normal
Part 4 – Sidebar 1 Know the Signs and Symptoms
Part 4 – Sidebar 2 Where to Get Help