May 2 – 8 marks the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 65th annual Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s inspiring to see how much the conversation about mental health has advanced over the last six decades. At TELUS, we’re always looking for ways to promote good mental health for our team members and all Canadians.
Mental health is about more than eliminating mental illness, it’s also about trying to live in a constant state of well-being. To ensure that we’re emotionally stable and ready to face life’s tough events we need to engage in proactive, preventative behaviours because stress is often a trigger for mental illnesses. We’ve developed a model to help our team members improve overall brain health. In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week we’d like to share it with you. Below are four strategies to start practicing today to help you deal with life’s curveballs when they come:
- Eat well: Far too many of us eat unbalanced diets. Fueling your brain with the right nutrients improves its function. It’s important that we eat the right foods, such as dairy and poultry, that both include tryptophan – an amino acid that builds our ‘happy hormone,’ serotonin.
- Reduce the use of stimulants: Caffeine and alcohol are drugs. Aim to keep your daily caffeine intake at two small cups and your weekly alcohol intake at a maximum of two drinks, twice per week. Consider alternatives, like drinking green tea to help optimize brain function.
- Sleep well: Simply put, your brain needs rest and cool down time. Ideally, sleep should be uninterrupted and a minimum of six hours per night. Your brain also loves to get a mid-day rest. Try meditation which has been shown to regenerate the brain and improve its elasticity, making you more resistant to stressful situations.
- Be active: Neurologists often say, what’s good for your heart is good for your brain. Daily activity and frequent walks will get blood flowing throughout your body. A good way to monitor your activity is to use wearable technology, such as a Fitbit. Exercise causes us to secrete ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins. By exercising at least 30 minutes vigorously, you can feel an immediate sense of euphoria that can last for much of the day.
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re deeply invested in health; we believe that mental health awareness should be more than just a week-long event and brain health is equally as important.
To ensure that well-being stays top of mind for all of us year round, we’ve partnered up with Baycrest Health Sciences on the #TheBrainProject, a collection of 100 brain sculptures painted by internationally acclaimed artists, designers and celebrities. Tweet a picture of yourself with the brain at our 25 York Street office in Toronto – tagging @TELUS and #TheBrainProject – and we’ll donate $1, up to a maximum of $1,000. Together we can raise awareness and promote good mental health.
May you be well, physically and emotionally!