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” which will be held on Friday, April 7th.
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. (I’ve been on that other end of the spectrum and
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 is. If I’m here to help people, I help! And this is a 3RD annual event – seriously no one realized how ridiculous this campaign is?
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.
- Sleep helps to regulate mood swings and reduce stress.
- Sleep 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.
- Ideally, we need a 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.
- Creating healthy sleep habits is very important to your health and your behaviour.
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 Mental Health “industry”. (I say “industry” 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 create a night where GREAT NATURAL SLEEP is encouraged. For those with mental health problems who are already patients and/ or people who are at a higher risk, I would use the fundraising money from the foundation to create sleep clinics and/ or wellness clinics with a serene and peaceful setting (not very clinical) but more healing as a training guide for people to function well in their life. A facility like this that is monitored by health experts in a casual positive setting where positive lifestyle habits are encouraged, like : exercise, fresh air, nutrition, journalling, laughter, group and individual therapies etc. would be encouraged to help TREAT AND PREVENT people from mental health problems reoccurring.
Instead of staying up – PROMOTE SLEEP!
Here are 20 tips for a better night sleep:
- 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 and/ or start getting ready for bed at 10 pm (for adults). (Children, tweens and teens need even more sleep.)
- Setting the mood in the bedroom is important; making it dark and comfortable. Reducing noise etc.
- 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).
- There are great natural herbs and/ or extracts that help make you naturally sleepy. My favourite is Valerian extract. (I prefer a little extract mixed with 1/4 cup of water as opposed to a full cup of sleepy-time tea which can also make you wake up at night to use the bathroom.
- The previous point makes me want to mention another common-sense point – don’t have too many liquids before going to bed.
- Don’t go to bed either hungry or with a full stomach.
- Avoid alcohol and/ or drugs of any kind (prescriptions don’t count) but you know that I promote a natural happy life! :)
- 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.
- Aromatherapy also helps, such as lavender. (Make sure it’s safe and natural and use a plug-in infuser and not something with a tealight obv.)
- 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).
- Heal from anxiety and/ or relationship issues before bedtime or leave till the next day. 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 arguments 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 disagreements with your spouse/ partner.)
- Natural sleep is the best. But, discuss with your doctor if insomnia is interfering with your life for medical treatment.
- PMA (positive mental attitude) “Tomorrow is another day” ~ letting go of your day’s stress/ anxiety until the next day is great to let go of things you can’t control much in the evening and this will help you ease into sleep. “I’m very sleepy”, (said in a ‘sleepy’ tone even if you’re not) is a great way to switch your mind naturally into sleep-mode and saying it in your head is a great way to manifest sleep. Choose positive thoughts especially in the evening and as you try to fall asleep – positive reinforcement with words is very important.
- Try to avoid creating a ‘to-do’ list in your head for what you need to do the next day. I would even discourage using a notepad/ notes app to jot down ideas. This will only stimulate your mind to think of your to-do list and/ or other creative ideas. All this can wait till the next day. You will have more mental clarity then and have better ideas when you get more rest.
- Build healthy positive habits in your life that will help you get through those days when you feel low. I like journalling myself to get some problems out of the way.
- There are free therapy centres at least here in the GTA covered by OHIP that you can get a referral for from your family doctor.
- Ask for help. If you feel like your body is going against you and you’re having a hard time functioning even if you just feel tired, don’t be afraid to seek help.
In terms of the CAMH foundation and raising awareness about Mental Health – please get proper “support” out there that can actually support and help people. (As someone with a history of Mental Health I can honestly say this is NOT a way to help people who are suffering.) CANCEL THE ‘ONE BRAVE NIGHT’ EVENT And change your advertising to help people get proper treatment and support. For 3 years they did not realize this campaign could put people at risk for developing mental health problems. I have written to the foundation and already started to make changes and have yet to close this case because someone is very proud of this campaign and keep brushing me off. I’ll follow up if need be about how I’ve resolved this issue with CAMH.
As the One Brave Night encourages you to take a SELFIE in the morning when you didn’t sleep – I think if would be better to take a selfie when you wake up from a good night sleep and post that with the hashtag #GotAGoodNightSleep #MoreThanBeautySleep etc. :)
You even look better in the morning when you are well rested as opposed to NOT sleeping well. It’s more than beauty sleep – but those selfies would look so much better, don’t you think?
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 if your suffering is interfering with your life.
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. :)