To help people with mental health issues and their families and all of us for that matter, cope with and rise above challenges, HelpPRO brings you this Jan/Feb series of practical tips and suggestions from Cheryl Johnson, certified WRAP (http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrap/) and NAMI (http://www.nami.org) instructor. Cheryl “connects the dots” between lifestyle choices we control and our ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Explore your options below and these next few weeks with the HelpPRO Blog and Cheryl.
Last week we talked about food affecting your mood. Remember Vitamin D? Plenty of sunshine can improve your mood. Get outside, enjoy the sun and eat food rich in vitamin D in combination with K vitamins to improve your mood (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx).
Vitamin D and a pet that likes to be outdoors is a sure recipe to boost your mood and lift your spirits. We recommend owning a pet, however, only if you are stable and healthy enough. Pets require a lot of care. Alternatively, you can walk or spend time with a friends’ pet. Are you ready for a pet? http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/are-you-ready.html Keep in mind puppies and kittens are much more work than older dogs and cats. There are many older pets in shelters that need homes. These articles present considerations to help you decide to own a pet or not. Owning a pet is a huge commitment. Your life as well as your pets’ is at stake.
A fish tank is much lower maintenance option for a pet. Ever wonder why you see fish tanks in doctor’s offices? Fish have a calming effect on mood, but even fish require food and attention. http://www.mynycdoctor.com/aquarium-therapy-adhd/ http://aquariumdesignindia.com/residential-aquarium
One of the biggest benefits to my two puppies, Patty and Selma , is that one is a lap dog who likes to snugglewhile the other is active and a constant reminder to get up and out and enjoy the sunshine! I work from home and sit in my office with Patty stretched out on my lap. Selma on the other hand tugs on mysleeve or arm several times a day to remind me to get out and enjoy the sun. I go out for 5-10 minutes,even in the bitter cold and rain to play ball with Selma who does not understand bad weather.Even when I am not in the mood to boost my mood – each animal is a mood booster -- either a calming spirit or motivation to get up and move and enjoy Mother Nature, whether I am in the mood or not! Both provide that nudge I need to feel good.
Cheryl Johnson is a certified NAMI and WRAP instructor and regularly teaches courses that provide families and individuals who face mental health challenges information to help them lead full and satisfying lives. To get more information on Cheryl’s work or programs you can be in touch with Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.