Mental Health Tips
Tips provided in conjunction with Southern Ontario Diabetes Initiative
- Learn relaxation. Engage in meditation and relaxed breathing. There are many self-help resources available on line to learn the relaxation techniques. Visit a health centre or talk to an Elder in your community to see if they can help you.
- Get enough rest. To maintain good mental health, it’s necessary to take care of your body. That includes getting enough sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night to function optimally.
- Exercise to relieve stress and lift your mood. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. Look for small ways to add activity to your day, like walking to work instead of driving a vehicle. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise every day.
- Get sunlight every day and drink plenty of water. Sunlight lifts your mood. Use the sunscreen lotion and try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day. This can be done while exercising, hunting, and fishing. Please try to make sure you body stays hydrated. Drinking more when the weather is hot will ensure proper hydration.
- Say no to alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and drugs. Taking these may feel good immediately. But it is not a good way to maintain optimal mental health. It actually adds to your stress once these substances wear off.
- Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things to challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it – things like Aboriginal artwork, drawing, writing, playing traditional instruments, or doing something around your house. You can also involve yourself in learning about your heritage and traditions.
- Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Go skating, listen to music, read a book, or talk to a friend or play with your kids like a kid. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.
- Spend time daily, face-to-face, with people you like. Spend time with people you enjoy. Choose friends, neighbours, colleagues, and family members who are upbeat, positive, and interested in you.
- Volunteer. Doing something that helps others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life. Volunteer to help your community and engage in traditional activities.
- Talk to an Elder. Elders have traditionally provided the words of wisdom and encouragement for Aboriginal people. Talk to an Elder in your community about your health concerns.
- Consider professional help. There are many places across Canada where you can get support for your mental health challenges. Below are websites where you can get more information on mental health.
Canadian Mental Health Association: http://www.cmha.ca/bins/index.asp
Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada: http://www.anxietycanada.ca
Mood Disorders Society of Canada: http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca