A- A+

Mental Wellness is Your Key to Health

Mental Wellness in May

May 20, 2021

In May, we celebrate awareness surrounding mental health. The month has been recognized as Mental Health Month since 1949, and each year education, support and advocacy continue to be recognized. This year, Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) local mental health alliance, Mindspring, is offering resources to help reduce the mental health stigma.

Attend Mental Health Webinars

Mindspring (formerly NAMI Greater Des Moines), offers many classes for businesses and individuals alike. Most are easy one-hour webinars that teach people about all kinds of mental illness and related subjects. There is something for everyone curious about mental illness topics. Find more information at mindspringhealth.org. You can also support Mindspring by playing, sponsoring or volunteering at the 6th Annual Benefit Golf Tournament at Toad Valley Golf Course Friday, September 10.

Check in with Friends + Family

Mindspring also continuously encourages people to discuss mental illness to help beat the stigma that surrounds it. This is because mental illness is all around us. You might have a family member or friend affected by it, even if you are not. There are no boundaries for mental illness to present itself. I challenge you to reach out for drinks or a coffee/tea date with your family member or friend yet this month, not only for networking purposes or to catch up, but to ask them how their mental health is and if they need someone they trust to listen or assist with treatment and taking better care of themselves.

Don’t Underestimate the Right Medications

Western medicine, though it’s taken a while, has it right when it comes to mental illness. While the Eastern philosophy works well, I believe in pharmaceutical drugs and preventative care. If you need to stay on medicine, don’t be ashamed to take your medication. Everyone has something they deal with, and I could go on and on listing all the ways that different medications can help alleviate symptoms for people. However, medicine alone won’t do the trick. It’s about belonging to your community, having positive relationships with people, having a life and/or business coach or therapist and having a plan to stay on track or know what to do in case you slip up, a traumatic event happens or you experience a highstress situation.

Commit to Your Mental Health Wellness

Here are a few favorite routine wellness practices that work for my own overall health. These practices can help all of our mental health conditions every day if we commit to them:

  • Get enough sleep. Everyone has different sleep needs so know what your body needs and make sure you get those zzz’s.
  • Create “me” time. This could include early morning coffee, meditation, visioning or whatever makes you happy.
  • Get outside. No matter the weather, walk, sit on a patio, do some yardwork, hit the trails on your bike or go for a jog.
  • Find time to exercise. Try lifting weights at the gym, in your basement, at your apartment, hotel, etc.
  • Spend time with family. Keep your relationships healthy and stay in touch with relatives.
  • Get together with friends. Keep those relationships healthy by making a call and staying tight with people.
  • WORK or have a daytime routine. Whatever it is, having something to do is healthy.
  • Drink enough water. You should drink half your body weight in ounces, at least.
  • Take care of yourself with good hygiene, beauty care, massages and visits to a chiropractor, if needed.
  • Don’t drink too much when it comes to alcohol.
  • Kiss your partner daily if you have one.
  • Make time to journal or write.
  • Read often.
  • Keep your financial health inline.
  • Love your pet.

These are just a few of the ways in which you can create the right environment for your mental health. This month, let’s be proactive about staying on top of wellness practices and reaching out to loved ones. Look for more information, including workplace mental health programs and COVID-19 recovery resources at mindspringhealth.org.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

Matt Connolly

Matt T. Connolly is a real estate broker for NAI Iowa Realty Commercial. Matt sits on the formerly NAMI GDSM board (MindSpring). Matt advocates many ways defeating stigma on mental illness and raises recovery awareness. Matt earned the Business Record's 40 under 40 award in 2013. Matt was the DMwestside chamber 2018 citizen of the year.