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Why is January Mental Health Month?


Sue Serre RHN


The holiday season although festive, fun and frenetic can take its toll on our wellbeing. For many, the Christmas season is not joyous – loss of loved ones, painful memories of Christmases past, disappointments and loneliness. Then add to that the stresses of family dynamics, travel schedules in poor weather and the financial strain from over-spending. As if this were not enough, we have the compounded effects of lack of sunlight (vitamin D) contributing to lower mood. And to top it off, all the celebrating we’ve done with alcohol and sugary sweets, we have now depleted ourselves of the very nutrients that support mental health: minerals like magnesium, chromium and zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C. No wonder January is mental health month!


Most mental health disorders appear in the form of anxiety states, depression and stress related disorders. Mental health disorders are multi-faceted - there is rarely any single one cause and we are all biochemically unique, with different life experiences, perceptions and coping skills. The body and the mind are connected. A poorly nourished body (eg. one deficient in amino acids, omega 3 fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals) cannot have an optimally functioning mind. Conversely, a mind full of self-defeating, negative thoughts, a critical and judgemental attitude, full of fear, mistrust and un-forgiveness will then take its toll on the physical body.


A holistic approach to wellness includes physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional health – the whole person. Stabilizing blood sugar, practicing mindfulness, getting plenty of sleep, moderate exercise, belonging to a group, talking about feelings, believing in a higher power, eating whole foods and supplementation - all can contribute to increased wellbeing. Supplementing with Gaba can bring fast-acting relief for nervousness and acute stress, while l-theanine (extracted from green tea) promotes deep relaxation and mental clarity. Stop by The Hollow Willow Health Store for your free sample and discuss what supplements may be beneficial to help your body deal with stress. Most importantly, reach out, seek help, contact your doctor, a mental health professional, or crisis line if you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope at any time.