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Week 4 | March 15-21

Week 1 = 6,662 miles

Week 2 = 6,136 miles

Week 3 = 5, 178

14 National Parks Visited So Far! Parks Visited This Week Include:

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

Glacier National Park, Montana

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Week 4 | March15-21 - This Week's Newsletter Update Can be Found Here

This Week's Focus: Emotional Wellness

Let’s not pretend, life is BUSY! Add to this the current COVID-19 crisis and many of us find our emotions running rampant with stress, anxiety and sleeplessness. Sadly, we tend to forget the importance of brain health despite all the stress of our very busy lives. Our mental health and emotional wellbeing are a huge part of our overall health. Poor mental health can negatively impact our physical health just as poor physical health can impact our mental health. When we ignore illnesses such as depression, anxiety and stress in general we are at increased risk of dying by illnesses such as coronary heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer and other conditions which otherwise could be managed. So, it’s very important that we take brain health equally as serious as we take our physical health. While taking care of our mental health can mean seeking professional support and treatment there are other steps of our own that we can take to improve our emotional health.

With spring fast approaching, this is a great time to start improving upon our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Here are a few easy ways to start working on improving in this area:

Yoga and meditation.

For the novice, yoga can be started at a beginner’s level. You can find a yoga class in your area or go online to find some of the latest yoga classes offered via youtube. Yoga not only increases flexibility, but it relaxes the body and the mind. It offers many health benefits to your muscles, joints, and mind.

Self-affirmation.

Many of us have a difficult time accepting compliments, much less complimenting ourselves. Research has found that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. So, start with saying one positive thing to yourself daily. And soon you will find that you have a more positive sense of self worth.

Walking.

Walking can be a great time to clear our minds while increasing our heart rates, moving our joints, burning calories and staying healthy. You can walk alone, with a friend, or a pet. If the outdoors isn’t your thing, try a treadmill to get your daily steps in. It won’t be long before you have an overall feeling of wellbeing.

Do something for others.

This is my favorite. There truly isn’t anything that makes me feel better than giving back to others. Whether that be volunteering for an organization, event, your school or being part of a bigger movement in your community. There are many, many ways to help others and give back to your community. Please consider finding what feeds your heart, and you will find that it feeds your mental health as well.

Diet and sleep.

These are far more important to your physical, mental, and emotional health than we sometimes realize. What we eat plays a vital role in the release of chemicals in our brains. And sleep deprivation has been found to have a significant effect on our mood. Pay special attention to what you eat and that you’re getting the sleep you need.

Take a break!

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, know when to walk away. Even if for only 15 minutes. Try a breathing exercise, give yourself a moment to regroup before carrying on with your day.

These are only a few examples of how we can start our journey to improved mental health. Just remember to never underestimate the power of the brain and mind. They are equally as vital as our heart, lungs, kidneys or any other organ of the body. We need to start caring for them as we do our physical health.

Provided by Subject Matter Expert Maria Willits, LRH Psychiatry Department