Mental Health Is Just As Important As Physical Health

Our mental health affects every aspect of our daily lives. How we feel has a direct impact on our physical health, energy level, social relationships and our ability to cope with life’s challenges.

It goes without saying that during this time of uncertainty, paying attention to the impact that what many are calling “our new normal” is having on both aspects of our health is essential.

If you find yourself struggling with ways to help your body and mind process the ups and downs of the times we live in, there’s good news. You already have the tools inside of you to help yourself. It may take a bit of practice to introduce them into your daily routine regularly, but you can do it. Let’s get started.

Feeling Grounded

The top way to keep your mind sharp is to practice a regular bedtime routine. Most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Get to bed, and wake up, at the same time each day, regardless of the day. Also, take time throughout the day to slow down. Layering in moments of quiet and rest to your day will help clear your mind, so you feel refreshed.

Disengage from media
Whether it’s social media or the news, a consistent bombardment of information during this time may not make you feel less anxious. When engaging in news coverage and social media, do so with a pre-set amount of time and only entertain reputable sources.

We tend to be kinder and have greater understanding and patience for others than we do for ourselves. Hold yourself in a space as you would a loved relative or child. You deserve the kindest of hands to be held with during difficult times. Practicing self-compassion will radiate into a greater sense of compassion for those around you that you may, or may not, know.

Being present
This is sometimes referred to as being mindful or stepping back into your body. By slowing down your breathing, minimizing distractions from media screens, being outside in nature, doing slow stretching and/or yoga and meditating are ways to bring your mind back to what your body is feeling presently— and away from thinking about the past or what-ifs of the future.

Eating for Mental Health

Stabilize Energy, Stabilize Mood
Keeping your energy even keel, by way of keeping your blood sugar in check, is a must for minimizing peaks and valleys of moods. Eat regularly scheduled meals that incorporate plenty of hydration from water and servings from the 5 Food Groups — Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Protein Foods and Dairy. Doing so will provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant-acting plant compounds to assist your body to work as efficiently as possible — for your overall well-being and mental health.

Color Half Your Plate
Although every food group is important, you want to consistently shoot for half of your meals to come from vegetables and fruit. When it comes to weaving more plants into meals and snacks, make selections varied in color, texture and type. For example, include orange citrus, purple berries, red tree fruit, yellow stringy winter squash, deep-colored leafy greens and bright white cruciferous vegetables.

Fill up with Fresh
Building meals and snacks around all forms of fruit and vegetables — fresh, frozen, canned, juiced and dried — is essential. Unfortunately, due to current consumer shopping behaviors, you may be finding some canned, frozen and dried vegetables and fruits are unavailable at your local grocery store. During this time, remember to celebrate The Joy of Fresh™ produce!

Choose Foods Rooted In A Better Mood™
Regardless of how consumers are shopping, farmers currently have an abundance of beautiful and delicious tasting fresh fruits and vegetables making their way to your local supermarket. Virtually or in person, stop by your Produce Department to see the array of colors, textures and type of produce just waiting to help you feel and perform your best. After all, fruits and vegetables are life’s original plants. So here’s the plan, Have A Plant™!

Looking to soothe your soul? This delicious homemade oatmeal feels like a warm hug wrapped in layers of natural sweetness thanks to fresh fruit. Simply add in a side of baby carrots to munch on and you’re good to go for each Food Group with this tasty breakfast!

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