In May, we observe several awareness campaigns that are interconnected in various ways. These include Arthritis Awareness, Sleep Awareness, Mental Health Awareness, Walking Month, and Women’s Health. Today, I would like to focus on discussing the benefits of walking and maintaining a balanced sleep schedule for mental well-being.
Let’s start by acknowledging the interesting coincidence that May is both Arthritis Awareness Month and National Walking Month. This is ironic because arthritis can significantly impact a person’s ability to walk. Many of us often take walking for granted, but it’s important to realize that individuals with chronic illnesses face mobility challenges. Those of us who are currently able-bodied should appreciate and use the skills and opportunities available to us. Walking can be a powerful tool for reducing stress and anxiety, particularly walking outdoors. It provides a change of scenery, and exposure to fresh natural stimuli, and is generally a low-impact activity.
In my therapy sessions, I often emphasize the importance of spending time in nature through activities like walking. Engaging in such activities can significantly contribute to maintaining good mental health. Rather than searching for a single solution to address specific mental health issues, establishing practices that support a balanced and healthy mind-body connection is often more beneficial.
A vital aspect of overall well-being is maintaining a healthy relationship with sleep. A healthy sleep routine plays a crucial role in managing mental health needs. It allows for processing unconscious thoughts and emotions and replenishes the body’s energy to support our daily endeavors. Quality sleep is associated with positive health outcomes in various aspects of life. Therefore, assessing what might be disrupting your sleep schedule if you wake up feeling unrested is essential. Consider incorporating a calming playlist or relaxation techniques such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation before bedtime, and try to avoid using screens when experiencing difficulty falling asleep.
Good mental health!