Food for Thought:

A Tool for Wellness

Planting Seeds of Mental Wellness

GROWTHMINDFULLNESSSELF CARESUPPORT SYSTEMRESILIENCE

Kathrina Cann

2/15/20244 min read

Food For Thought
Food For Thought

I have always found plants to be a great analogy to our mental well being in so many ways. Just like plants, our minds need nurturing and care to build roots, weather the inevitable storms of life, and thrive. With the right conditions, there are plants capable of surviving almost uninhabitable places, like cactus in a dessert. By engaging in wellness practices regularly and seeking out the proper care and support, we too can create a strong foundation to overcome the seemingly impossible. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of cultivating our mental health, the long-term benefits it brings, and how small actions can lead to significant transformations--even if they are not apparent at first!

The Importance of Mental Wellness

Mental wellness is the state of having a healthy mind and emotional well-being. It encompasses various aspects, including self-care, stress management, emotional intelligence, and resilience.

In today's "hustle culture," it's not difficult to put our psychological well being on the backburner. We often prioritize external achievements and material possessions over our inner peace and happiness. Easily we are carried into a lull of "tomorrow" or "next week" or "later on this year, when things are less hectic I will take some time to take care of myself." But invariably tomorrow or next week never really comes. And so we may end up neglecting our mental health, and doing so can have surprisingly detrimental effects on our overall functioning. We may experience increased stress, anxiety, and depression, making it difficult to cope with daily challenges; we may have trouble performing work or school functions, like keeping up with reports or focusing in class. And it definitely takes a toll on how we interact with those around us, how impatient or irritable we get, and how well we can or cannot maintain healthy relationships. Over time, untreated mental health issues can escalate, leading to more severe symptoms including physical health problems, as the mind and body are intricately connected. If you have noticed you experience more muscle pain, fatigue, compromised immune system, or chronic health issues during periods of time when you are highly stressed, you know first hand how true this is.

When we prioritize our mental well-being, we become more resilient, better equipped to handle the stuff life throws at us, and able to build healthier connections with others.

Cultivating Growth: The Power of Small Actions

Maintaining a sense of balance and inner peace is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process; in most cases, the results of our efforts may not be immediately apparent. The key words here are consistent and intentional; through regularly making time to engage in the present, dip into activities that fill our cups and avoid (where possible) those things, places, or people that drain us, we become a more confident, grounded and strong person. Have you considered the amount of time you spend weekly or even daily carrying out tasks or engaging with people that are not only unnecessary, but leave you feeling more fatigued afterwards? Perhaps because you think you have to? If so, a small change I would challenge you to make is to remove just one of those tasks/events from your day, replace it with something brief and simple you get enjoyment out of, and notice how you feel after. Then rinse and repeat.

One of the most powerful aspects of self-care is its accessibility. We don't need grand gestures or expensive resources to cultivate it. Instead, it's those small changes we make it a point to squeeze into our day that can make a significant difference in our well-being.

Practicing mindfulness, for example, is a simple yet effective wellness practice. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on the present moment, observe our thoughts and emotions without judgment, and practice deep breathing can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and improve overall mental clarity.

Engaging in regular physical exercise is another way to plant the seeds of mental wellness. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, which can boost our mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Whether it's going for a walk, practicing yoga, or participating in team sports, finding an activity that brings joy and movement to our lives can have a profound impact on our psychological balance. Simple self-care activities could include journaling, practicing gratitude, engaging in hobbies, or spending time in nature.

It's important to remember that setbacks and challenges are a natural part of this growth journey. However, by being consistent in our self-care, we can move past obstacles and continue to thrive.

Building a support system of friends, family, or professionals is crucial. Sharing our experiences, seeking guidance, and receiving support can provide us with the strength and encouragement to keep going, even when the path seems difficult. And people who care about us often help keep us accountable for reaching our goals. I would invite you to consider who are those people in your life who provide true support, and how can you carve out time to connect?

The Journey Towards Flourishing

In the same way that a planted seed holds the potential to become a mighty tree, the foundational actions we take today can lead to significant transformations in our lives. It's a journey, not a marathon, and giving space for the process is a part of it. So, let's start planting the seeds of mental wellness and watch ourselves grow roots so strong they can weather one of our Florida hurricanes--and come out that much better for it!