From the Desk of Hazzem Koudsi, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward-Hastings.
January is Mental Wellness Month. It’s appropriate that we focus on our mental health especially at this time of year. With shorter days resulting in less vitamin D, this can contribute to mood fluctuations and a general feeling of malaise. On top of it all, bills from the holiday season are now arriving and it’s no wonder people get into a funk.
So, what can we all do to remain productive in our lives and supportive to family, friends, and colleagues going through a rough time?
A great starting point is reducing the stigma and judgements around mental wellness. Promoting open conversations about mental health helps provide supportive environments for everyone to share their experiences without fear of repercussion, with an eye toward feeling valued. That means we need to have strong, nourishing relationships with those around us. These valuable relationships allow us to express our feelings openly and reduce feelings of isolation.
Self care is critical in these times when we are down. Vitamin supplements such as vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D as well as magnesium in the evenings, helps us keep our immune system strong and get the sleep we need to stay focused and positive through the month.
With all other factors at play, it’s understandable that stress can be magnified during times where our mood and perspectives may be altered due to lack of exposure to day light. It’s easier said than done, but exercise can support our energy levels and fruits and vegetables help us obtain key nutrients to nourish our bodies. Even trying out short meditation exercises can make a difference in keeping those January Blues at bay.
Finally, know the signs that something isn’t right and if your social network isn’t keeping you balanced, then seek professional help before your perspectives and attitudes dwindle to the point of becoming too hard to bounce back.
This is not by any means a professional perspective on mental health. I am not an expert. But I’m aware of when I’m not functioning at my best levels, and its usually in January. The above comments help me, and they may not work for you. Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to seek professional support. Know that you are not alone, and the days of later sunsets are on the horizon.