YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City

While the COVID-19 pandemic began as a physical health issue, it’s clear that mental health across the globe was also impacted. In the wake of constant change and slowly fighting their way back to normalcy, people have found themselves facing anxiety, depression and other mental health battles more than ever before.

At the YMCA, our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Our focus on a healthy spirit and mind continues to increase as we strive to improve the overall well-being of our members, participants and community.

On World Mental Health Day, we wanted to share some tips on how to sustain your own mental health:

  • Establish and stick to a routine. Routines help your mind stay on track. Get up and go to bed at similar times every day, exercise regularly, and establish a work/life balance that allows for time to rest. Be sure to consistently make time for things you enjoy so you can avoid burnout.
  • Be social. Don’t let social media be your only outlet for social interaction. Make plans to spend time with your friends and family throughout the week. If you’re unable to meet physically, try connecting over phone calls instead of text messages or emails.
  • Take regular screen breaks. If you work at a job that keeps you in front of a computer most of your day, set alarms to remind you to get up and walk around your office or do some quick stretching. Put the phone down during meals and turn the TV off before you get ready for bed.
  • Go for a walk. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, just 30 minutes of walking per day can help boost your mood and improve health. When the weather allows, take a stroll around your neighborhood. Stuck inside? You can still walk around your house to get your heart rate up.
  • Get moving! Whether you’re stopping in for a cardio dance workout or hitting the fitness center to build some muscle, the Y has a long list of group exercise classes that can help you lower stress and get in shape. Yoga classes are great for mindful relaxation and can help increase flexibility, too.

No matter how small it may seem, each step toward a healthier mind can make a big difference in your mental health. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you to ask for help and encouragement along the way. The stigma surrounding mental health is shifting, and progress is being made in an effort to make mental well-being a priority across the globe.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach a trained counselor at the Crisis Text Line.

Written by Laura Wolf, lwolf@ymcaokc.org