Keep Mentally Healthy

HealthPartners #hpHealthySelfie Challenge

Keep Mentally Healthy: A Key Stepping Stone to Better Health

Nearly 3 million Canadians will experience depression at one point in their lives, and half a million Canadians are absent from work every day because of depression. That’s what the stats indicate. But we can all take small steps towards better health — and beat those stats.

That’s where HealthPartners’ #hpHealthySelfie Challenge comes in. We are challenging you to take small steps to healthier living: small steps that can make a huge difference to your health. Here’s just one simple example: we all talk about living balanced lives, but daily pressures always seem to get in the way, right?

Take the Challenge

At HealthPartners, our focus is on helping you make a positive difference in your health. Remember… when it comes to your health, small stepping stones can make a huge difference!

Start Your Own Challenge

You can start your own challenge to keep stress in check. Here are just a few ways to get you started.

On your own:

  • start a journal or diary and keep it by the bedside — do it the old-fashioned way instead of using a computer
  • talk about your concerns to a friend or family member close to you — they can give you ideas of concrete ways to re-balance your life and help reduce your stress level

At home:

  • come up with simple, maybe even crazy things to do on a regular basis — blowing bubbles, telling jokes (laughter is the best medicine), making crazy faces while you’re out in the car

At work:

  • make sure to take at least a 15-minute break at lunch time to get some fresh air
  • start an adult colouring group and meet at break time
  • get a bunch of co-workers together for a touch football game or social activity every week

And while you’re at it, take a selfie or video yourself, your family or you and your work colleagues in action. Tell us about the stepping stones you have taken to stay mentally healthy and reduce stress. 

Share your own mini-challenges — and successes — with all of us at HealthPartners:
Follow us on social media (TwitterFacebookInstagram) and post a selfie using #hpHealthySelfie to qualify for a chance to win a Fitbit!

The Link Between Stress and Reducing Your Risk of Getting a Chronic Disease

Stress is a good thing in small doses. We feel stress before writing an exam or giving a presentation — and that’s a good thing because it keeps us alert and on our toes, so to speak. But chronic stress, when we’re anxious constantly, day in and day out, can affect our physical health in a big way.

Think about it for a minute. When you’re stressed, you breathe faster so you can take in more oxygen, but if you already have trouble breathing, then you’re going to experience significant physical health issues. Stress can also make your heart pump faster, and that can lead to high blood pressure. Your liver releases extra glucose into your bloodstream, so too much glucose for too long puts you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Your digestive system reacts to chronic stress as well.

Then there’s the mind–body connection. When you’re stressed for a long period of time, the chances of sinking into depression are much greater.

Keep Mentally Healthy

Depression that lasts for more than two weeks shouldn’t be ignored. Also watch out for these signs:

  • feeling useless, hopeless, helpless or negative
  • no interest or pleasure in work, hobbies, activities and relationships that you usually enjoy
  • less energy or extreme tiredness
  • trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • feeling nervous, restless or irritable
  • change in appetite and weight and sleep habits 

The Impact

ALS Canada, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Canadian Cancer Society and Canadian Hemophilia Society are all members of HealthPartners, a national organization active in workplaces across the country to represent 16 of Canada’s most trusted national health charities. At HealthPartners, we raise money for our member charities, enabling them to provide critical services, invest in research, and provide health prevention and wellness programs in communities across Canada.

But they have something else in common, too. All six agree that patients with chronic diseases often have anxiety and depression, especially after receiving a diagnosis. And mental health issues also affect family members and caregivers of someone who has a chronic disease or major illness.

Getting regular exercise and enough sleep, joining a support group, talking to a counsellor, keeping a journal and talking to your family doctor are the types of things you should do to keep mentally healthy.

Six major chronic diseases… yet such a simple stepping stone to take to better health. And HealthPartners’ #hpHealthySelfie Challenge will help you get started.

Keep mentally healthy and take part in HealthPartners’ #hpHealthySelfie Challenge.