Mee Memorial Healthcare System Rena Salamacha
Rena Salamacha, CEO, Mee Memorial Healthcare System

In a world where stressors abound and demands seem never-ending, taking care of oneself is not just a luxury but a necessity. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and although we should prioritize every aspect of our health year-round, this is a month to look at some of the steps we can take to boost and strengthen our mental health.

Access to mental health services has been identified as a priority in Monterey County. The widespread nature of this issue underscores an urgency to promote mental health resources and awareness.

Mental and emotional health impacts us all, whether directly or indirectly, so it is vital to know what we can do to support this critical aspect of our well-being on a daily basis. Self-care involves a range of activities and practices to nurture physical, emotional, and psychological health. From adequate sleep and nutritious eating to exercise and relaxation, self-care is a proactive approach to maintaining balance in our lives. It’s about recognizing our limits, setting boundaries and making intentional choices that promote well-being and happiness.

Incorporating self-care into our daily routines can be transformative. Simple practices like mindfulness meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature can profoundly affect our mental and emotional state:

  • If stress is an issue in your life, set realistic goals, break tasks into manageable steps to reduce overwhelm, and be kind to yourself. Take time to acknowledge your strengths and accomplishments.
  • Plan healthier meals with a variety of colorful vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Healthy eating can positively impact mood and energy levels.
  • Practice a structured daily routine to promote stability and reduce stress. Set time aside to prioritize relaxation and get plenty of sleep to support cognitive function.
  • Spend time with loved ones and friends. Take time regularly to laugh, play, and engage in sports and hobbies. Engage in activities that stimulate your mind and foster personal growth and learning.
  • Volunteer or help others in your community. Giving back can provide a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and fulfillment.
  • Make an effort to challenge negative thoughts when they arise. You do not need to believe everything you think. Practice gratitude and carve out a few moments each day to appreciate the positive aspects of your life.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol and substances. Excessive consumption can worsen mental health issues.

Self-care is not confined to individual application but extends to organizations and communities. At Mee Memorial, we are committed to supporting our community with educational tools, resources, and support systems that empower individuals to prioritize their health and well-being. We aim to encourage an environment where community members value and prioritize happiness, health, resilience and well-being.

It is important to note that if you or a loved one are struggling, you should contact your provider. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Whether through therapy, counseling or support groups, reaching out for support is a proactive step toward healing and growth.

In crisis situations, Community Crisis Line of Monterey County provides free and confidential emotional support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1-866-615-1060.

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, let us recommit ourselves to promoting self-care as a fundamental aspect of mental health awareness and advocacy. Let us take a moment to check in with each other, to challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness, and to encourage open dialogue about our struggles and triumphs. Let us embrace self-care not as an indulgence but as an essential component of living a happy and fulfilling life.

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CEO, Mee Memorial Healthcare System


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