Mental Health Awareness month in October comes at a time of year that allows us to think about how our mood and our state of mind affects our physical health. We can better gauge our emotional health along with our physical state of wellbeing, as we enter autumn and begin to feel a change in the rhythm of our environment, and perhaps within ourselves. Our nights become longer, our days shorter, just as we pick up a quicker pace rounding out the year.
We strive in our busy day to eat well, to find time to exercise as best we can, to sleep well when possible, and hopefully to make time for meditative moments. It is not easy fitting these things into an already hectic schedule while juggling life. Even more reason that preventative health is so important for us today, given the degree of stress that many of us live with. We are encouraged to schedule a preventative yearly physical to help gauge our health. Visiting with a primary care physician is crucial to help catch health problems early on. The same is true for mental health check-ins.
Personal mental health check-ins can be done at any time. And should be part of our routine to bring in reflection and introspective thinking into our contemplative practice, or as part of our centering routine in the evenings. This helps us gauge how our mood affects us throughout the day, or how it might vary with the seasons. Our mood affects our interactions with others and the way it manifests physically affects our overall health. Awareness is the first step in addressing areas of concern.
A body scan at the end of a long day can help you identify areas that absorb stress. And with awareness you can focus on those areas to change how your body mitigates it. I raise my shoulders when I am stressed which leads to deeper knots in my neck and back. With greater awareness during hectic moments, I roll my shoulders back and relax my neck, and try to breathe through the agitation, which helps reduce the physical effects of my emotional state. Engaging the parasympathetic system through breathing helps reduce my stress and refocus in more productive ways. We know that increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) can lead to hypertension, headaches, fatigue, irritability, intestinal problems, and chronic anxiety. A nightly body scan can help you identify your zone and with awareness correct what you can work on.
There are also important questions to ask yourself often: How am I coping with my day? Am I releasing stress and anxiety in a healthy way, or am I self-medicating? Coping mechanics come in many shapes and forms, some good, some hazardous. Managing chronic stress or pain can easily lead to habits such as substance abuse, among other high-risk behaviors. Left unchecked, these scenarios can heighten mental disorders that one may be predisposed to or lead one into depression, or possible suicidal ideation if never addressed.
At Ketamine Health Centers, we encourage you to have a comprehensive mental health check-in as part of your preventative health routine. A Licensed Mental Health Provider conducts an in-depth depression screening at our clinics that can help you identify possible mental health concerns early on, and provide tailored treatment options if necessary. Contact us today, or call us at 1-833-542-3040, to set up your mental health check-in at one of our clinics throughout Florida.
Together we can build a stronger community by checking-in with our friends and loved ones this season. It is more pressing than ever as we navigate a new normal. Let us each take preventative health a step further to ensure a happy and healthy season of change.