Intentionality and mental wellbeing

 

Intentionality and mental wellbeing

 

The wonderful organisation Open Source Wellness in the USA has an extremely useful and practical approach to mental emotional health.  Predicate upon the idea that creting structure in your day can make dramatic improvement to mental health.

Whether you’re in generally good health or struggling with chronic physical or psychological conditions, they believe that every person needs these four things, every day!  

  1. Move. Our bodies are designed to move. They need to stretch, reach, twist, bend, step, sweat, to whatever degree works for our unique shapes and constitutions. Our bodies don’t care if it’s at the gym, out in the neighbourhood, or in your living room – activity is vital.  Important – this is not just about “staying in shape.” This concerns your immune health and your mental health, as well! Build movement into your day for at least 20 minutes per day! Try checking out YouTube exercise videos for inspiration – or just walk.
  2. Nourish.You will undoubtedly already have a sense of the foods make you feel lively, focused, resourced, and sane. And, of course, there are those that we know aren’t beneficial in excess – but we still get drawn to them.  The folks at Open Source Wellness suggest not banning or outlawing the small treats that bring you joy, but rather setting up a daily structure that (mostly) fills you with nourishing, healthy foods. Take time to intentionally plan menus – and – again check out YouTube for recipe inspiration.  Also, why not check out The CMA recipe book that we created for those who want to go plant-based.
  3. Connect.This is so important. We humans need to feel connected. We need to feel seen, heard, and understood by another human—and to extend the same in return. And in lockdown situations, it won’t “just happen” throughout your day, so you’re going to need to actively schedule it. More to the point, you’ll need toask for it. To get vulnerable enough to say, “I really want to connect with you. Can we talk?” Tell the truth about how you’re feeling, what you’re experiencing. Invite people to do the same. Listen with kindness. Offer your support with generosity. High-quality human attention may feel like a scarce resource right now, but you can – by being intentional - generate an infinite supply of it.
  4. Be.Amid all the “doing” and the “busy-ness” of your day-to-day, we humans need moments to simply BE. It’s not necessarily about serenity, or warm fuzzy feelings or sitting up a mountain and contemplating your navel. This is about pausing long enough to let your nervous system come back to baseline after prolonged activation. Experiment with what works for you. If meditation or guided relaxation works for you, great! If watching a cheesy TV show while snuggled into the couch helps you to just BE, that’s good, too. And if painful emotions get too loud or overwhelming when you try to slow down, that’s OK, too.

Perhaps begin with a quick inventory.

Of the four aspects of this “Universal Prescription,” which ones are you strongest in? Which ones do you incorporate effortlessly, as a part of your routine? Which ones might need a bit more attention, more practice, more cultivation? Then, pick one to focus on first: How might you structure it into your days? 

In short, this is an opportunity to get really intentional. To choose rather than to drift. In the absence of everything that normally dictates our days, we are called on to create the structures that will support our health, physically and emotionally, in a time of profound uncertainty. Try weaving Move, Nourish, Connect, and Be time into your days, and let us know how it goes for you!

 

With huge thanks to Open Source Wellness.

Please do take a look at their outstanding work and get involved – support them if you can and feel moved to do so.

 

 

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