“Mens sana in corpore sano”, a latin saying representing the concept of “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. What does this mean to you? How are they connected? Or do you believe they are separate? Should we strive for such a balance? This is what I will explore.

Mental health is no different than your physical health. You have to take care of it. You need to be aware of what makes it feel good and what doesn’t. You have to feed it and rest it well. You have to exercise and train it sufficiently to keep it healthy and clean. You must take care of it, and attend to it when it is not functioning at its optimal level.

The same way you fall and sprain an ankle, you also fall into experiences that harm and diminish your ability to feel your best and think clearly. As you would do to take care of a sprained ankle, you would also need to do for your mind when you go through a traumatic event. Such care involves taking time to rest, seeing a specialist, doing exercises to rehabilitate and strengthen it, and allow it to heal and recover.

A mental illness is no different than someone with a physical illness. Some are acute, they come and go and are due to a situation out of the norm. A loss, an emotional dysregulation due to big decisions, or big changes at work can lead to a disturbance in your mental health. Yet like a small physical injury, such an emotional injury can pass and heal when tended to proactively. A chronic physical illness is no different than someone with a chronic mental disorder. Bipolar, schizophrenia, and Alzheimers are examples of such. It needs to have ongoing extra care and attention. and frequent visits to a professional for support in treatment and improvement. The doctor will give you a regimen and specific care instructions to maintain so you can continue your treatment at home. With chronic illnesses, physically and mentally, you need friends and family to help support you in your care. Physically, a wheelchair, or assistance in bringing you to the gym to do your rehab exercises is needed. So why wouldn’t you do the same if you were experiencing mental illness. Someone to support you in ensuring proper mental hygiene is being practiced, and provide care to emotionally care for you during tough times.

Knowing that your emotional and mental well being is just as important as your physical well being, you must take care of it. As a whole, we endure emotional injuries much more than physical injuries throughout our lifetime, so we need to spotlight the importance of taking care of our mental health just as one would our physical health. Your mental health is a skill that can be developed, and encompasses your emotional, social, and psychological well-being. With the thoughts in your minds, the perceptions of your realities, and the support you surround yourself with, your mental health can either be weakened or strengthened. Thus choose to find the balance of taking care of both your body and mind.

It is important to keep a mental hygiene and care regimen of our mental health. So here are a few tips to help you take charge of your mental health, feed your mind well, and take your emotional well being to the “gym”

1, Develop a practice of gratitude – when you wake up every morning, reflect on what you can appreciate about the day ahead, and before you go to bed, think of 3 things that you can be grateful for that happened that day. How you start your day affects the rest of your day, and how you end your day will dictate on how you wake up the next day!

2, Sleep well and enough – your mind and body repair, reset, and recharge when you sleep. So take your rest time seriously. If at night you lacked the hours (recommended 7-8 hrs), take a nap throughout the day. You would be amazed at the wonders a nap can do for your health!

3, Take time to disconnect and go into nature – take a walk in the park, go to the beach, get lost in mountains. The energy that trees and nature gives you has been proven to improve work efficiency and boost your mood. In TCM, the color green supports to strengthen your liver, your bodies cleaning center, so take in all the green you can get!

4, Meditate – the benefits outweigh the effort of starting such a practice. Download an app, listen to a guided meditation, or let me help you in starting your mediation journey!

5, Drink water and eat foods that support your mental and cognitive health – how you fuel your body affects your mental clarity. Look for nutrient dense foods that support and optimize cognitive and physical function. Stay away from processed foods and chemicals, and take time to enjoy your meals. Appreciating the food you eat, and being mindful of how it enters your body affects how you process your food!

6, Journaling – write things down to clear your mind. Your thoughts, your emotions, your worries, your solutions to your worries, your dreams, your goals, and your action plans. Just put it on paper! The act of journaling can help you declutter your thoughts and release emotions.

7, Exercise – “Mens sana in corpore sano” – reduce your stress, boost your mood, and sweat once a day to keep a healthy mind. This can be as easy as taking a walk, joining a gym class, trying out yoga!

There are many other ways to take care of your mental health, and having the support and guidance to help you through difficult times and challenges is just as important as going to see your doctor when you get ill or suffer an injury. To take a preventative approach to your health, seeing a counsellor can also be just as beneficial as going for a routine check up or dentist cleaning.

If you are wanting to know more about how you can best take charge of your mental health, and would like to optimize your performance at work, with relationships, and at home, make an appointment with Astrid Merkt, and explore what makes you feel good! She can also facilitate meditation and yoga sessions for your home and workplace.

For booking, please call: 25303315 or email: appt@balancehealth.com.hk 

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