| We all deserve an occasional mental health day or two but May is the month designated to bring awareness to the serious implications of mental health issues. The good news is that programs around these issues are working. Doctors, social media, television, talk shows, etc. have all brought mental health issues to a public forum and in doing so have helped remove the stigma once associated with depression, anxiety, addiction, etc. It's time to have open conversations with the people you love if they need help and with your doctor, family and friends if you are in need of some help yourself. Support is becoming more and more abundant for all types of mental health diagnosis. And, while it isn't a cure, knowing you are not alone and have nothing to be ashamed of puts you ahead of the battle.
May is a happy and active time around the clubs. Be sure to watch for the announcement of summer kid's programs, new classes, pool openings and everything else that Prairie Life Fitness has to offer.
Here's to your physical and mental health,
Article of the Month
More than 60 years ago, long before depression and anxiety were "acceptable" topics of discussion, Mental Health Month was created to raise awareness of the importance of mental health. While negative attitudes and the stigma associated with mental health issues have shifted during recent decades, it is still critical to stay aware of your own mental health and of those you love. Mental illness affects not only those who are afflicted with the diagnosis but also their friends and family. The greatest gift you can give to yourself or to someone is need is to remove the shame often associated with depression, anxiety, stress, bi-polar, addiction, etc. Discuss it openly and work together toward solutions or treatments.
Social connectedness is the central theme of the May 2013 Mental Health Month. Staying connected and not allowing yourself or others to become isolated with their illness is an essential component of maintaining and protecting mental health. There are many ways to "Get Connected" and create an environment that supports mental wellness.
- Get connected to family and friends to feel close and supported.
- Get connected to your community to feel a sense of belonging and purpose.
- Get connected to professional help to feel better when you're stressed and having trouble coping.
When a mental health condition is present, it is easy to forget about your overall health. It is easier to fight illness of any kind when you take care of your body and mind. In fact, many mental health problems can be avoided by making healthy and positive lifestyle choices. Encourage those you love to take responsibility for the prevention of mental health issues during times of personal challenge and stress in the following ways;
Spending time with positive, loving people you care about and trust can ease stress, help your mood and improve the way you feel overall.
Advocate for Yourself
You deserve good health care. Too often, people with mental illnesses develop other health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, because their health is overlooked. Talk to your doctor about your overall health.
Get the Care You Need
Get routine check-ups and visit your doctor when you're not feeling well. It may be due to your medicine or a symptom of your mental illness. But it could also be a different health problem.
Plan Your Sleep Schedule
Sleep can affect your mood and your body and is important to your recovery. Not getting the right amount of sleep can make day-to-day functioning and recovery harder.
Watch What You Eat
Sometimes, medicine can cause you to gain or lose weight. Read the labels and weigh the positive affects with any potential negative side effects. Talk to your doctor if something isn't working.
Stress can make you feel run down. It can also cause your mind to race and make it hard to focus on the things you need to do. If you have a mental illness, lots of stress can make it harder to function. If you are feeling stressed, there are steps you can take to feel better:
- Slow down and take one thing at a time.
- Know your limits. Let others know them too. Don't be afraid to say "No".
- Do something you enjoy, exercise, connect with others or meditate.
- Know your triggers.
- Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor.
Regular exercise can increase your self-esteem and confidence; reduce your feelings of stress, anxiety and depression; improve your sleep; and help you maintain a healthy weight. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and try new things. Sometimes it can be as simple as turning on some music and dancing! You may want to shut the blinds first or maybe not - encourage your neighbors to join the fun.
Do Something You Enjoy
During the week, find a couple of hours or whatever you can fit in–to do something YOU enjoy. Taking time for yourself can help you relax, ease stress and improve your mind, body and spirit!
Exercise of the Month
Elevated Push-up on a Medicine Ball
Put your feet on a sturdy elevated surface, hands on a medicine ball. Keeping your whole boy in line (like a plank), touch your chest to the Medicine Ball. Then, push yourself back up so arms are completely extended. Repeat as many times as you can!
Water Aerobic Exercises
|| 1. Spiderman
How to do it: While standing in water at the side of the pool, stabilize your upper body by sweeping your hands back and forth as you run your legs up the side of the pool and then back down to the floor. Do four Spiderman exercises, alternating the leading leg each time you reach the end of one jogging circuit.
|| 2. One-Legged Balance
This strengthens your leg and core muscles, the ones responsible for balance.
How to do it: Standing in waist-high water, lift your left knee up and place the middle of a noodle under your left foot. (Its sides will float up into a U-shape.) Keep your hands by your side and balance with your left foot on the noodle for one minute. Then move your left knee out to the side and balance for another minute. Switch legs and repeat with the right knee lifted and the right foot resting on the noodle.
|| 3. Fly Backs
On land and in water, fly backs work the muscles in the upper chest, back and arms. They also improve posture.
How to do it: Start in a lunge position with your right knee bent and your left leg extended straight behind you. Reach your arms straight out in front of you at chest height — palms touching, fingers extended and thumbs up. Open your arms straight out to the sides, then return them to the starting position to complete one rep.
|| 4. Cardio/Resistance Combo
Strengthen your upper chest, back, arms and core with this challenging drill. It also raises your heart rate and burns more calories.
How to do it: Straddle a noodle as if you were sitting on a horse. Pedal around the pool as fast as you can while doing the arm portion of Fly Backs (see above). Sit up tall with your spine vertical — no leaning. This will force your core muscles to keep you stable. Continue for 3 minutes.