Mental Health Awareness Month is in May 2022; however, I believe mental health awareness should be a daily conversation. In 2019, of mental health awareness month, according to Mental Health America, was to “…promote a variety of ways to nourish mental health, including through social connection, leisure time, and therapeutic animal companionship.” I am glad to see the conversation around mental health extends beyond mental illness and actually brings awareness on ways to achieve mental wellness.
The 2022 theme of mental health awareness week according to The Mental Health Foundation (May 18th-24th 2020) will focus on “sleep” or the lack thereof. I am super excited about this conversation because again we are talking about ways to maintain our mental wellbeing, and we are beginning to be more proactive about taking preventative measures against stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health related issues.
Mental Rest is similar to sleep, but it is not actually the act of sleeping. Mental Rest is about becoming so mentally absorbed that outside pressures don’t bother you for the moment. Some people refer to this state as “flow” or being “in the moment”. This type of rest calms the nervous system and can lower blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate, according to. Sleep or the act of sleeping can seem almost automatic. You wake up, you go to work, you come home, you go to sleep. This “sleep routine” is more of a rehearsed cycle. Rest, on the other hand, must be intentional. You don’t automatically decide to rest. You must be intentional about powering down your mental faculties.
Taking a short nap 3-4 times during the day (yes, 3 to 4 times) or taking mental breaks throughout the day to do mindfulness exercises will recharge our brain much like rebooting a computer after an update. I encourage you to let’s keep the conversation going around mental health awareness and dispel the myth that rest is not that important because it is.
The need for enhanced employee wellness programs is widespread because traditional mental health benefits do not provide them with resources for improving their overall lifestyle choices.