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The 5 Pillars of Mental Health

This week was Mental Health Week and with what’s going on in the world and how our lives have been changed, there has certainly been an impact on our mental health.

It’s hard to separate our physical and mental well-being, and there’s something to be said about striving to achieve and maintain a level of balance between both, and in our lives in general. We want to close out this week by providing some information and resources for you to use so you can take care of yourself physically and mentally.

Let’s look at our mental health in terms of five pillars:

  1. Sleep

  2. Nutrition

  3. Mindfulness

  4. Exercise

  5. Communication

1. Sleep: There’s a reason our parents always told us to go to bed early and why they tried to get us to go to bed at around the same time every night .. routine is key to establishing a healthy, effective sleep cycle. Falling asleep and waking up are part of your sleep cycle and you should pay attention to your sleep environment as well. You should avoid blue light at night and especially before bed (the kind of light emitted by your phone, tablet, laptop, TV) When you wake up, open the blinds and expose yourself to the bright natural sunlight.

Tip: Your phone probably has a night light setting to filter out blue light, or a do not disturb mode that you can schedule nightly. Your best best … put down your devices, disconnect, and let yourself get some much needed rest.

2. Nutrition: You are what you eat … that is, what you put into your body affects your overall health and wellness. As much as you like your favourite chips, chocolates or candies, try not to eat too much of them and opt for healthier choices … your body and mind will thank you. Try to eat more whole foods and ones that pack a nutritional punch, and try to get a variety of different foods to ensure you get a variety of nutrients. Also, foods containing zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and probiotics have been shown to support your mood.

Tip: Canada’s new food guide is a good starting point (check it out HERE)

3. Mindfulness: Mindfulness and meditation can have a significant positive impact on the health of your brain, body, and mental health. Practicing mindfulness and meditation helps you feel more in control of your emotions and allows you to calmly respond to them as opposed to react to them. Don’t believe us? Watch a recording of our Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation webinar with Lara Wharton HERE. You can thank us later.

Tip: Use apps like Calm to help you get into meditation

4. Exercise: Humans are not meant to sit still all day. Just take a look at how happy kids are while running around outside, playing with their friends, running, jumping, climbing on things. Consistency is key here as well; try to be active for about 30 minutes each day. Whether it’s going for a brisk walk, jog, a virtual fitness class, or yoga, if you’re getting your heart rate up, you’re on the right track.

Tip: Use apps like Peloton to guide you through exercises you can do at home

5. Communication: Being social is a large part of what makes us human and being social while staying safe is extremely important now. That said, it’s not healthy to hide away from everything and everyone. There are so many tools you can use to easily jump on a video chat with your friends and family so everyone can see each other’s smiling faces.

Tip: Choose an app like Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Meet or House Party … there are too many to list, just choose one and go with it and connect with your friends and family.

The most important thing you can do to help yourself be mentally healthy is by taking care of yourself, and taking care of those around you.

Have questions? Need help? Reach out … we’re here to help.


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