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Today is World Mental Health Day and given the past 18 months we have all had a dose of the blues at one point or another, am I right?

Seriously, I think there has definitely been an awareness around our state of mind, as we felt increasingly isolated from each other. We may not have been going into work and seeing each other in person, or perhaps we were not picking up the normal social cues from all our masked encounters. Heck, there were times we didn’t recognize someone because half the face was covered. Disturbing, no?

And not being able to touch or hug was difficult for many of us to handle, particularly if it is someone we love. That tamping down of a natural response just doesn’t feel good, does it?

And what about the front-line workers who must deal not only with their own anxieties, but also the stressed clients they are engaging with? Students, people living alone (particularly elderly), and those with pre-existing mental conditions that are exacerbated by the environment have all had a bad time of it.

Our normal outlets for supporting our mental health, such as community and exercise, were severely limited too initially, which caused anxiety and depression to increase during COVID. As well as increased consumption of alcohol, drugs and overeating to console ourselves.

On top of that, we have had to face the hard truth that mental well-being is difficult to maintain when the resources just aren’t there. If you don’t have health insurance coverage that includes therapy, or don’t have health insurance, or just can’t connect with a therapist right away you are left to your own devices. Recently, the supply has been outstripped by the demand. There just aren’t enough skilled therapists available.

Why? According to the CDC, an average of 2% of the national budgets of all countries is spent on mental health. This has not increased in decades.

The two most common mental health conditions are depression and anxiety, which costs the global economy over $1trillion annual in loss of productivity.

The good news is that during the World Health Assembly in May, countries recognized the need to improve mental health care and committed to increasing the availability of quality mental health services over the next decade.

So, what’s the synergy I was alluding to?

This weekend I had the opportunity to connect with a group of women around the topic of empowerment and self-worth, as a facilitator of a breakout session on self-care. We spent several hours together on Saturday talking about alignment, living our authentic lives, what is stopping us and how we can help each other move forward. Thanks to the agile leadership of Tina Sophia, we managed to make some great connections and hopefully create some needed space in which to start to heal in the Awakened Woman Festival Day. Did I mention it was fun, too?

I encourage you to investigate the concept of Sister Circles and check out The Evolutionary Life Project on Facebook. Here is a safe space for women of all ages to connect with and support each other, which is so needed, not only during a pandemic, but every day.

Today I participated in 5K walk/run event for the Friends of the Burlington County Animal Shelter and that was a joy as well. Even though rain threatened most of the day, the energy from the dogs and cats (and the people who love them) was palpable. Pets bring so much value to our lives, particularly when we are stressed, going through a life-changing time, or feeling isolated.

Many people now are bringing their pets back to work with them as mental health support and adoptions of shelter animals has increased during the pandemic. This too was a joyous event and I felt quite centered in my role as a health coach, knowing the work I do through nutrition, mindset and fitness education is in alignment to support mental health.

Sure, I am exhausted tonight but as they say, it is a good tired. I am glad to have spent my weekend getting to know other like-minded women, and hopefully educating, and supporting others in their pursuit of their individual health and wellness goals. That, my friend, is synergy. That is the stuff that fuels you. Have a good week!

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