Today is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness about mental health issues and an opportunity to openly discuss the matter. In recognition of this, here are six proactive tips from the 2018 BC Adolescent Health Survey students can use to maintain their mental health through a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
1. Stay Active
Exercise is a proven way to improve many aspects of our health and wellness. Research suggests that regular moderate levels of cardiovascular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Outside of physical education class, the Vancouver School District offers many afterschool sports programs including track and field, soccer, volley ball, basketball, and many more. Visit the Vancouver Secondary Schools' Athletic Associationfor a detailed list.
2. Maintain a healthy diet
A diet that's good for your physical health is also good for your mental health. Checkout Health Canada's food guide for more information.
3. Get quality sleep
Sleep and mental health are closely connected. Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health. Those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders. Here are a few tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you achieve better sleep.
4. Connect with others
There's nothing better than interacting with someone face to face. Join a student club, find similar interests and go from there! Visit your school website to find out what clubs are available.
5. Manage your stress
Stress management is a critical part of our overall mental health. Take inventory of the stressors in your life and proactively address them so it doesn't affect your overall health. Stress levels can be reduced through all the factors we mentioned above, as well as seeking support and mindful stress-reduction practices such as meditation. To learn more about mindful practices visit Mind Up.
6. Be yourself
We are all different and unique and should be proud of that. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn. In the District, as part of the curriculum, students learn about acceptance including topics on anti-racism and diversity. Contact your school counsellor for more information each the specific programs and resources nearby.