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  • Jennifer Munt

Caring for Your Mental Health

Let’s be honest. COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis have taken a toll on working families. Our need for mental health care has increased due to social isolation, sickness, grief, and job loss.

This article offers valuable tips about self-care. Self-care can help you maintain your mental health and support your treatment and recovery if you have a mental illness.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, act, make choices, and relate to others. When it comes to mental health, self-care can help us manage stress, lower our risk of illness, and increase our energy. Even small acts of self-care can have a big impact.

Here are some tips to help you get started with self-care:

Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help boost your mood and improve your health.

Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of water can improve your energy and focus throughout the day. Also, limit caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks or coffee.

Make sleep a priority. Stick to a schedule, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Blue light from devices and screens can make it harder to fall asleep, so reduce phone and computer use before bedtime.

Try a relaxing activity. Explore relaxation or wellness programs or apps, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises. Schedule regular times for these and other healthy activities you enjoy.

Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done now and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much. Try to be mindful of what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.

Practice gratitude. Remind yourself daily of things you are grateful for. Be specific. Write them down at night or replay them in your mind.

Focus on positivity. Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.

Stay connected. Reach out to your friends or family members who can provide emotional support and practical help.

Always remember that self-care is not a cure for mental illnesses.

Seek professional help if you are experiencing distressing symptoms that have lasted two weeks or more. These symptoms include difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, loss of interest in things you usually find enjoyable, lack of concentration, and inability to perform daily functions and responsibilities.

Don’t wait until your symptoms are overwhelming. Talk about your concerns with our family service advocate (612-676-3730), who can refer you to a mental health specialist if needed.

Nearly one in five Americans lives with a mental health condition like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress. They are our family, friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers – and even ourselves.

Sadly, too many people with mental health needs feel they have nowhere to turn. But Teamsters and their family members can count on our Service Bureau for help. We offer compassion, respect, and understanding. We also ensure that you have access to our network of professional mental health counselors.

We want Teamsters to know that they are not alone. Help exists. It’s free and confidential. Our Service Bureau has helped countless union families get the mental health support they need to heal, recover, and thrive.

All of us need to tend to our mental health, just as we take care of our physical health.

In Unity,

Jennifer Munt

Executive Director

Teamsters Service Bureau

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