I’m switching things up here on the food blog scene to help in PREVENTING mental health illnesses.
Here is a quick inspiration for this post: For a few years now, a local organization in Toronto called CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) has been buzzing with an annual event to ‘help’ people affected with mental health. The event that just doesn’t feel sound to me is called “One Brave Night“.
Here is an overview pulled from their website about the event:
It’s your time to step up — and stay up — to defeat mental illness.
CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ is a Canada-wide challenge to share one night to inspire hope for the one in five Canadians living with mental illness in any given year. It starts now and continues through to Friday, April 7.
Register today and ask family, friends and colleagues to join our team or support your One Brave Night.
Millions of Canadians experience the pain of living with mental illness, as do their families, friends, and colleagues. As few as one in six youth with mental illness or addiction will access appropriate treatment. As many as nine in ten people with alcohol use disorders don’t seek professional care.”
This year, you can step up and inspire hope in new ways.
-Create a team or join a team to step up and stay up together.
– Stay up for part of the night or overnight as part of our virtual One Brave Night challenge.
-Take on a personal mental health challenge and ask friends or family to support you or join in.
-Share your inspiration for stepping up and staying up.
-At the end, join Canadians from coast to coast to coast with a #OneBraveSelfie to commemorate an inspiring night and the difference you made.
The time to step up and stay up is here. What’s your One Brave Night?
OMG! This is exactly why we have problems in the world today. I’m sorry but who approved this campaign? Who said let’s NOT sleep one night and take a selfie at dawn to ‘HELP’ people with mental health problems. Ummm…. doing THIS is exactly what leads to mental health problems.
It is a fact that sleep helps to heal and prevent mental health problems.
Creating a campaign like this, encouraging people to lose sleep is dangerous. This literally puts you at risk of getting mental health problems.
SLEEP is one of the most nourishing basic human needs that we must practice to be healthy and heal from and prevent mental health problems which can cause disturbing effects not only in brain health but it is also connected to our overall health. Our brain is connected to so many health issues and the ‘symptoms’ overlap. A lot of us suffer from a form of mental health problem without even knowing. Signs of this could be mood swings, depression, anxiety, nervousness, fear, worry, and so much more that it’s hard to really pinpoint to the true cause. Definitely stress, lifestyle factors, eating habits, emotional struggles and poor sleep are the top contributors.
Why in the world would you want to promote the opposite. Why would you encourage healthy people and quite possibly people who are already struggling with a form of a mental health condition, to get worse!? Just for the sake of another fundraiser campaignB, but clearly this is not a smart campaign. Just the cost of the ads that run on our stations are in the thousands. This money alone could easily be handed over to people who need healing from mental health and also PROMOTE GOOD SLEEPING PATTERNS.
I am sorry, but this is not a sound and healthy way to promote good habits. It is the opposite. I know the creators of this event meant well. I guess not all ‘experts’ can fully understand a problem area. Perhaps it’s an Agency and PR thing. I’ve been involved with fundraisers before and I know how these ideas can originate. They don’t always get wrapped around a person who is really in need of the right type of help. But I have also been on the sick end to know fully well how devastating and destructive it is to promote such nonsense. If no one for two years has caught on that this event is ridiculous – well then that’s why I’m here. To stick with the people who really need help and PROMOTE a healthy lifestyle that nourishes our body and mind. A healthy brain is connected to our entire body and beyond – because it is also directly connected to how we connect with others and how we talk to ourselves. And negative habits such as a sleepless night, improper nourishment and/ or unhealthy relationships etc. etc. etc. (so many factors!) lead to these exact health problems.
The link to poor sleep and mental illness directly correlate. To me this is just common sense.
I have also learned my lessons when I dealt with poor quality sleep in my 20s due to running my own business and later with having a newborn and business. I remember all too well that just one night of lost sleep affected my whole body and mind. I couldn’t focus or concentrate, I was easily irritated, I developed anxiety and chronic worry during the day, I ended up making poor food decisions as I relied on sugar and coffee as stimulants to keep my energy up, I was lethargic and got little done because my brain was affected so much. Later the following night I actually had difficulty falling asleep because it created so much anxiety and it created insomnia. Poor quality sleep on one single night can affect you for days. And if you don’t catch up on proper sleep and treat this imbalance quickly and effectively, it can last for several days and it can even keep affecting you in a more negative way over a long period of time. Poor quality sleep is contagious – and that’s why this is so dangerous that I decided to speak out. Because it looks like no one else will. If I’m here to help people, I help!
Here are a few more points why/ how sleep is directly involved with mental health:
- Sleep helps both the brain and body rejuvenate.
- Sleep has been shown to help keep the body’s immune system strong.
- It helps to regulate mood swings and reduce stress.
- It is crucial for brain health and establishing and maintain good habits for restful effective sleep is a key component in managing the symptoms of depression and bipolar illness.
- We also need the full uninterrupted sleep cycle on a regular basis. Interrupted sleep wrecks the natural balance of the nourishment of sleep.
- Sleep is connected to different physiological processes such as changes in heart rate, brain activity, energy expenditure, muscle repair, growth in children and so much more.
- 60-80% of patients with depression report experiencing sleep disturbances of some kind.
- Setting the mood for effective sleep is very important this is why reducing sugar and/ or other stimulants, avoiding meals late in the evening, and reducing electronic use helps you unwind and prepare for a good night sleep. Prioritizing sleep is important.
Even if you try to catch up on sleep during the day, this just doesn’t have the same therapeutic effects as regular sleep cycles. Rarely can a person get 8 hours of sleep the following day due to work and life priorities. And sleeping one night off during the day isn’t even recommended because it will affect your bedtime the following evening… even if you get a nap you risk having trouble falling asleep that night, risk getting insomnia and so on…. get my point?
That’s why I’m speaking out against this ridiculous event created by “professionals” and “health experts” in the industry of health. (I say ‘industry of health’ for a reason). I know these people mean well, but sleep is really neglected these days. And it has such a huge negative effect on people’s lives that this needs to be put in the light.
If I were to redesign this campaign, I would do the very opposite! I would suggest we all do the following:
- Unwind in the evening and reduce the need for watching the news, scrolling through Instagram and other stimulating activities using technology.
- Aim to go to bed at 10 pm.
- Reduce stimulants such as sugar, alcohol, drugs, even late night meals and exercise, and/or other activities that increases blood circulation that interfere with falling asleep.
- Encourage a regular sleep schedule to wake up fully rested (this is anywhere between 6-8 hours depending on your own individual needs).
- If stress and anxiety or insomnia should interfere with falling asleep, there are herbs such as Valerian Extract and other herbal supplements that are very powerful in helping people fall sleep.
(I will get into this in more detail soon)
- There are lots of guided meditations for helping you to fall asleep. Yoga Nidra is a great guided meditation to help you along to relax and unwind and fall asleep.
- There is several ‘tools’ to help with falling asleep also, such as listening to relaxing nature sounds or music, as well as Solfeggio Frequencies which are ancient sounds that help transmit energy to connect on a spiritual basis. Deep Lucid Dreaming Sleep Music such as this is a wonderful way to help you to get more sleep and to tap into a spiritual energy that is important to help your body heal naturally. (EDITED to add in the bottom points)
- Setting the mood in the bedroom is important; making it dark and comfortable. Reducing noise etc.
- Aromatheraphy also helps, such as lavender. (this tip came from a follower on Instagram).
- Brain food and an overall healthy and balanced diet is also important. I get into healthy eating a lot with what I do, but adding more omega 3 fatty acids that are found in wild salmon, healthy fats, hemp seeds, walnuts, flax oil – lots of food help the brain in repairing itself. (I will write a separate post about brain food later on).
- Even relationship issues – for example, I’m completely against the theory that when you have an argument, you should stay up and discuss it until it’s resolved and “never go to bed angry”. Sure there’s a time and place and of course different levels of ‘fights’ between partners. But, a little space and saying, let’s talk about this tomorrow can be a calmer strategy for most issues. (Of course, time and place is critical and everyone knows what I mean, there is no cookie cutter approach to this. I am newly divorced so I know from personal experience a thing or two about fighting with your partner.)
- Moving on… just telling yourself “I can get through this, tomorrow will be much better” is also great to say to yourself. Positive reinforcement with words and actions is very important. You really can change your life when you change the words in your mind.
And perhaps then take a selfie when you do wake up from a good night sleep and post that with the hashtag #GetAGoodNightSleep :)
I can think of numerous ways to support those suffering with mental health and I understand how difficult this time can be and that nights are the hardest. I think sleep clinics and cognitive therapy as well as group therapy are great supportive treatments. Seeking medical treatment is of course a must.
This is a whole other topic though and it varies so much from person to person. I know that even slight symptoms of anxiety and depression should be carefully treated with more self-love and not being so hard on yourself. Support isn’t always easy to find BUT it is there – ask for help, speak out, you can get through this.
You are never alone in this and asking the Universe for help in getting through a difficult time is always something that you should do – any strength you seek is going to strengthen you.
Healing from and preventing mental health problems is really a project of love that starts on the inside. PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) is a key ingredient. You can do this, you are never alone. :)