Pause & Breathe
- Meditation and mindfulness activities help you manage and reduce stress.
- Regular mindfulness practice improves mood and ability to focus.
- Yoga, tai chi, and similar activities offer exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation, especially if you pay attention to your breathing and focus on the present moment.
- Relaxation techniques: Breath control help quell errant stress response https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Meditation In Depth https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm
- The role for mindfulness in public health https://www.globalhealthnow.org/2017-03/role-mindfulness-public-health
- Use a free meditation app (like Calm, Insight Timer, Aura, or Simple Habit)
- You can find lots of guided meditations and relaxing music on YouTube
Focus on Sleep
- Create a sleep routine. Be consistent with the times you go to sleep and wake up.
- Sleep refreshes your mind and your mood, helps your body heal, and improves your memory.
- Sleep in a cool, dark space. Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sleep and chronic disease https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Tips for better sleep https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html
- National Sleep Foundation www.sleep.org
- Find a guided meditation that focuses on getting to sleep
- Try an app like Calm, Insight Timer, Aura, or Simple Habit, or search on YouTube
- Use a sleep-tracking app to learn more about how you sleep
- Examples include Sleep Cycle, Sleep Score, Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker, or Alarm Clock Xtreme
- Try walking just 10 minutes 3 times/day for 3 days out of each week.
- Moving more may help you control weight, lower your risk of heart disease, and lengthen your life.
- Walking and moving more can help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012): More people walk to better health. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/walking/index.html
- SAMHSA.gov: Walking fact sheet (Program to Achieve Wellness) https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/wellness_initiative/paw-walking-fact-sheet.pdf
- Scientific American: Regular walking can help ease depression https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/regular-walking-can-help-ease-depression/
- APA Monitor: The exercise effect www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
- Check out YouTube for exercise videos, including dance, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates
- Search for free exercise apps that you can use on your smartphone
- Consider joining a gym—many offer low monthly rates
- Walking has amassing benefits
Eliminate Harmful Substances
- Cut down or quit smoking, other types of tobacco and nicotine, alcohol, opioids, and other harmful drugs.
- Many harmful substances cause mental and physical health problems.
- Many harmful substances are linked to depression and suicide.
- Alcohol, and other substances can disrupt your sleep.
- Many harmful substances are associated with cancer, liver problems, heart disease, difficulty breathing and more.
- Depression and opioid use go hand in hand https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/external/2018/06/depression-and-opioid-use-go-hand-in-hand/
- National Health Service (UK): Stopping smoking is good for your mental health https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/stopping-smoking-mental-health-benefits/
- Find local 12-step meetings (search for AA, NA, GA, OA, and others). Here is a useful list: https://sobernation.com/list-of-12-step-programs/
- Find AA and NA meetings using the Pink Cloud app (this app is ad free and allows anonymous use)
- Look for smoking cessation programs offered by a nearby hospital or the local American Lung Association https://smokefree.gov/tools-tips/get-extra-help/speak-to-an-expert
- Try a sober meditation or recovery support app or a collection of daily readings. Examples include 12 Step Meditation Daily Reflections, Sober Grid – Social Network
- Track your progress/ Examples include I Am Sober, Nomo – Sobriety Clocks, Quit That! Habit Tracker, Sober Time, Sober Tool
Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) focuses on 10 evidence-based health and resiliency factors, including restful sleep, healthy eating, cognitive skills to avoid negative thinking, and the benefits of service to others.