Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I would like to take this opportunity to share some insights on mental health, how it impacts your body, and what you can do to promote mental wellbeing.
Throughout my 20s, 30s, and early 40s, mental health was never a topic I paid much attention to. However, over the last decade, I've come to realize that mental health is just as important as physical health. Perhaps it's because I've grown older, or maybe it's because I've found a place that brings me happiness every day. Living in a location where I can see mountains every morning gives me joy. This change also coincides with my decision to become a Pilates teacher, where I can help people alleviate their stress and strain. Since moving to France, I've been able to slow down, focus on my family, and give time to myself.
We all carry stress in our bodies, and one of the best ways I've found to release some of that stress is by using different breathing techniques along with mindful movement and meditation. Many people believe meditation involves sitting cross-legged on the floor while listening to whale sounds and chanting. While there is a time and place for that, meditation can be anything you focus your mind on, from one minute of focusing on your breathing, enjoying time in your garden, or an hour of Pilates where you are consciously thinking about what you are doing and not letting your mind wander. It's about giving your mind space just to be.
If you're new to meditation, I suggest trying some guided meditations. There are hundreds of them available on YouTube, or you can choose a meditation app like Headspace. I've been using Headspace for six years, and it's my favorite app. There's a wealth of information there, including morning wake-ups, various meditations for health, mental wellbeing, work, exam stress, and more. If you're interested in trying it out for free, I have a link for a 30-day free trial. Please send me your email address, and I'll send it to you.
If you're thinking of practicing a better way of breathing that can reduce your stress or you find yourself holding your breath during your Pilates class then have a look at my breathing technique information .pdf and practice some mindful breathing.
Whatever you choose to do, taking a few minutes each day to focus on yourself will help your mind become clearer and your body less stressed. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it's crucial to take care of yourself in every way possible.