Have you felt your mental wellness drop off during the COVID-19 pandemic? Or, maybe you’re experiencing effects from mild seasonal affective disorder. We are joining the national movement to raise awareness about mental wellness this May for Mental Health Awareness Month. Let’s dive into 3 ways you can better your mental wellness this year while in Wisconsin.
Getting regular sun has been shown to help reduce and prevent depression. With summer right around the corner, you can head outdoors and soak in the sun for a natural boost in energy. Sunlight raises serotonin levels in the body to help you feel happier! But what about the winter season? One of the best ways to naturally fight off depression is by dressing for the weather, facing the cold, and getting outside!
One way to soak up Vitamin D this summer is to hit those sun soaked beaches. Wisconsin is home to a large abundance of beaches but here are some of our favorites! Up north, you can find Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands. At the beach in the park, you can explore by paddle boarding, take in a beautiful sunset, and enjoy spectacular views of Lake Superior. In the middle of the state at Devil’s Lake State Park, head out for a morning hike on the trails and then hit the beach all afternoon! Picturesque views make this stop a great place to soak in all of the sun. On the southeast side of the state is North Beach in Racine, which USA Today named as one of the “51 Great American Beaches”. There is 2,500 feet of shoreline making for a great day of sandy fun or a picnic stop for lunch.
Whether you’re heading out for a walk in the park or a workout in the gym, exercise is great for your body and mental health. Both dopamine and serotonin are found in your gut, and studies show that exercise will stimulate the activation in your gut to release those hormones throughout your body. A great way to stimulate them? Move your body! Even just a simple walk outside will do the trick. In fact, walking outside in nature can also improve your memory by almost 20% according to a University of Michigan study.
A great part about Wisconsin is that we have 66 state parks: perfect for getting outdoors, exploring nature, enjoying the fresh air, boosting mental health, and getting exercise! The Elroy-Sparta State Trail makes for a day filled with cycling through rock tunnels and small towns. Or, at Wisconsin’s oldest state park, Interstate, grab your kayak or canoe and head out along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and explore the scenic views of the river and the steep-sided gorge known as the Dalles of the St. Croix.
For each of us this may be different but it is so important. Taking time for yourself and doing what makes you happy, is a natural way to help boost your mental health. For some, it may be heading out on your kayak on the Wisconsin River, while for others it could be visiting a new local coffee shop. Take it all in and take it day by day, enjoy the things you love most!
Other ways to boost your mental health during the summer can be as simple as heading outdoors, queuing up a Wisconsin podcast (like The Cabin, of course!), and enjoying the fresh air with a nice run or long walk. In the winter, find some time to explore new coffee shops, delicious fish fry’s, or whatever simple pleasure you can partake in. Lastly, all year long you can be sure to find some of the best sunset spots all over the state of Wisconsin. What are your favorite ways to boost your mental health? Let us know in the comments below!
If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, concentration problems, sleep issues, weight gain, irritability, or a sense of helplessness or hopelessness, make sure to reach out to your doctor. You CAN take control of your mental health and it WILL get better.
The WCA Group Health Trust was created when county officials joined together to create an employee benefit program that would meet the unique needs of local governments. Today, their founding principles still remain at the core of their close working relationship with their members. The WCA Group Health Trust is governed by officials from participating units of government and school districts, making the organization more responsive to local healthcare needs. Learn more at www.wcaght.org