Last year was a long, difficult 366 days. It both crept along and flew by. With 2021 dawning and the third anniversary of the MSD tragedy coming soon, Professionals United for Parkland felt it was time to talk about mental wellness. 2020 spawned many memes touting “wine o’clock,” bubble baths and scented candles for self-care. While those strategies help in the short term, prolonged mental wellness requires more.
Mental wellness is the total combination of all the aspects of your life – social, emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual, combining together for an overall sense of well-being. Mental health issues can grow stronger when we are not taking care of our mental wellness. Imagine fueling your car with high quality gasoline while at the same time the oil is sludgy, brake fluid nonexistent, tires are bald and you’ve long since run out of windshield wiper fluid. By only focusing on one aspect of our lives, we can have serious problems crop up elsewhere.
Now, more than ever, we need to focus on the big picture of mental wellness. Each part of our lives deserves our attention. Our physical well-being is a great place to start. Healthy eating habits, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, decreasing our alcohol and smoking consumption all combine to create physically wellness. Humans are social creatures. Even introverts need time with others! Spending time virtually, in person socially distanced, writing letters or texting with family and friends ensures that our social cup remains full. Setting aside time aside to reflect on the day, create a gratitude list, seeking support from friends, family or therapists to keep your emotional wellness balanced. Spending time in nature, contemplating your spiritual or religious beliefs and practices ensure that you will feel tied to the world around you. Learning a new skill or language, considering other points of view, participating in activities that push your intellectual limits keeps your mind nimble and growing.
On this New Year Day, we know many of you have made (and broken) your resolutions for wellness. Rather, each day we need to strive to do our best at building a mentally well lifestyle. Start small and build more competencies each week. By taking the time and working towards wellness, you are creating a structure for increasing your resilience to everything life throws at you. As 2020 has shown us, we need all the resilience we can get! Follow along on our social media each week for more tips on creating a mentally well life.
Professionals United for Parkland was founded to help address the long-term effects of communal trauma. Help is available – please reach out today.
Honoring the 17