top of page
  • Writer's picturealliemacs

Take care of your mind.

This past weekend I spent my Saturday in a Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) class. Wait, what? Let me explain. Just as you would take a First Aid/CPR class and learn how save someone's life, the MHFA class is the same idea but for mental health. It helped us be able to recognize different mental disorders (from Depression or Anxiety to Schizophrenia to Substance Abuse), and taught us how to intervene to help the person. The Lynden School District put it on for free (I HIGHLY recommend anyone to take it - they'll be putting on more.)

Mental health. It's a hot topic right now. Did you know that 22.2% of youth have a mental disorder during adolescence with SEVERE impact? That doesn't even count the ones without a severe impact. This is CRAZY. Actually, all the stats are disturbing - check out It seems like we don't take mental health seriously enough. We are encouraged to take care of our physical bodies by exercising and eating healthy and going to the doctor when something is wrong. But are we taking care of our mental health in the same way?

The answer is no - as a society overall, we don't take care of our mental health the same way we take care of our physical health. WHY? There's definitely a stigma about mental health. In general as a society, people are embarrassed and ashamed to talk about it and think if they have to get help or go on medication, then that makes them 'crazy' or 'weak'. How can we change this? I believe the first step is to become educated and talk about it. And even more importantly, we need to be examples to our youth and take care of our own mental health.

What if we thought of mental health the same way as we thought of physical health? What if we taught our youth coping mechanisms to deal with their mental health? The truth is, everyone has mental challenges during their life, whether or not it turns into a disorder. Depression for example - could happen for the first time to someone at any point in their life in the right circumstances (death of a loved one, accident, etc). Don't we ourselves want to be equipped with the skills to help us get through those times when they occur? There are so many great preventative health skills as well as coping skills to help - spirituality, getting outside in nature, pursing activities you enjoy - and of course (you knew it was coming), YOGA.

A lot of people come to yoga for the physical benefits. I was one of them. But what I benefited from equally were the mental benefits. When you have a mental disorder (and I can only speak from depression/anxiety), if feels like you are in trapped in your mind and in a daze. Like there's so much going on and that you'll never be able to get a hold on your life. At least that's what it felt like for me. During that really difficult time, it felt AMAZING to come to a class, get OUT OF MY HEAD for an hour, and just follow directions. It allowed me to be present and to feel my body and my breath. Since I've been practicing yoga regularly, my mind feels so much clearer. (I won't get into the physical benefits in this post, but I will say that I also haven't gotten one cold or sickness during cold and flu season - like, at ALL! Knock on wood. If I get one now I'm gonna be pissed). The yoga didn't completely cure my depression but it helped for sure.

Now I use yoga as preventative health and a coping mechanism for stress. When I start to feel stressed and there's a lot going on, I can come to my mat and breath, move, pray, do whatever I need to do. Maybe I don't have time to come to my mat.

When I drop my kids off at school and have a moment of silence, I breathe and enjoy the silence. Yoga.

When I'm in the kitchen making dinner and have 2 seconds, I stretch. Yoga.

When I'm exhausted and feel like I've hit my max, I leave the house a mess and go to bed early. Yoga.

At the end of the day, I think about what movements I've been doing all day and do some to counteract those. Maybe it's 2 poses. Yoga.

You're getting it. Yoga is just taking care of yourself. Giving yourself what you need. If you thought you couldn't do yoga, I'm hoping you just realized you're wrong.

I believe that the number one thing we can do to help the mental health of our youth is to demonstrate healthy practices and taking care of our own minds and bodies. When you're stressed, what do your children (or kids around you) see you do? Do you reach for a glass of wine? Do you snap at your spouse or kids? Do you rummage through your pantry or freezer for something sweet? Do you hold it all in and let it fester? I'm only saying these, because I've been there. Or do you take a moment to BREATHE, PRAY, go for a walk, call a trusted friend to talk to, exercise or practice YOGA?

Let's all work together to take better care of ourselves and teach our youth to do the same!

Peace XO, Allie


Youth Mental Health First Aid Manual. 2017.

National Alliance on Mental Illnesses

68 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Jun 05, 2019

Thank you Becky!💙


Apr 17, 2019

Excellent discerning guidance. You go girl!

bottom of page