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Why Self Care Is So Important

Self-care is pretty easy to figure out; it’s taking care of yourself. What’s difficult is justifying the time or expense. But we all need to take time for our own mental and physical well-being. That’s what self-care is about; cultivating a healthy relationship with yourself and maintaining the best version of yourself. Most importantly, self-care is not selfish. WHAT IS SELF-CARE? To be fair, self-care is personal and different for everyone. The important thing is that the action be good for your mind, body, or soul. This can include reading a book, taking a nap, cleaning out your basement, watching a funny video, getting a manicure, etc. WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT The best analogy is the speech you hear from a flight attendant before take-off. We have to put our own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else. By focusing on your own health and happiness, you’re not just taking care of your needs, but you’re helping others, by ensuring they get the best version of you ...

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Why We have Negative Thoughts and How to Stop Them

When was the last time you thought about your thoughts? It’s a bit of a quirky question, but still an important one. Negative thoughts can become consuming. They affect your mood, your work performance, your social life, your personal relationships and more... but not always in bad ways. This article will explore negative thoughts, including when they’re helpful, when they’re not, and how to stop them. WHY DO WE GET NEGATIVE THOUGHTS? Negative thinking is a trap that most of us fall into (at least once in a while). It’s not pleasant, but it is understandable why our minds go there. Dr. Lisa W. Coyne of McLean’s Hospital explains why negative thoughts seem to come so naturally to us: “Humans and our brains have evolved such that we are capable of language, something no other mammals have. Our ability to speak, think abstractly, and reason gives us the ability to plan, problem solve, collaborate in groups, and learn indirectly in the absence of our direct experience. Fo ...

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Toxic Relationships and Mental Health: How to Heal Yourself

Toxic Relationships and Mental Health: How to Heal Yourself It's no secret that toxic relationships can have a serious impact on our mental health. Whether we're in a romantic relationship, a friendship, or even a family relationship, when it becomes toxic, it can be damaging and destructive. In this blog post, we'll discuss the signs of a toxic relationship, how to heal and move on, and some tips for preventing them from happening in the first place.   What is a toxic relationship and how can you identify one? If you've been in a relationship for a while and it feels like there's something missing or not right, then chances are good that the two of you aren't compatible. If this is true, then how do we know what to look out for as signs of a toxic relationship? Here are some things to keep in mind when evaluating your own situation:   When you're with the person, do they make you feel good about yourself? Do they encourage and support who are as an indi ...

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Signs Your Loved One Has a Gambling Addiction

A gambling addiction can be difficult to recognize, not just in yourself, but with loved ones especially. Signs don’t usually become obvious until financial ruin sets in. This is because gambling is crafty and subtle. It gives the illusion of easy money. The industry though is strong and lucrative, because (as you know) it’s designed to ensure the house wins.  Problem gambling will usually lead to a variety of severe personal and professional problems such as depression, bankruptcy, domestic abuse, fraud, theft, and homelessness. These issues can also be damaging to the addicts' loved ones. Gambling addictions have become such a common occurrence that the Canada Safety Council treats problem gambling as a community safety matter and crime prevention issue.  For these reasons and more, we need to learn the signs your loved one has a gambling addiction.  THE ONTARIO GAMBLING SCENE Ontario has more gamblers than any other province, However, provincial laws and regulations ...

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Positive Self-Talk

The Power of Positive Self-Talk   Imagine you are about to attend a job interview for a job you really want. You are waiting for the interview to start and some thoughts start popping up in your head. What are you thinking? What are you saying to yourself? What does it sound like and how does this make you feel? Are your thoughts; “I got this”, “I can do this”, “I know what I am talking about”, or are they “I can’t do this”, “I have no idea what I’m doing”, or “I’m going to mess up this interview”? This is your self-talk. Self-talk is that inner voice we all have, a running monologue of our thoughts, our opinions and our values. It fills our daily lives and plays an important role as it helps us process experiences, events, relationships, and more. Since self-talk is always within us, it knows everything we have done and it can judge us harshly or comfort us kindly. Have you ever noticed your self-tal ...

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Screening Screen Time for Mental Health

Screening Screen Time for Mental Health Written by: Amelia Lomat, Marketing and Communications at ConnexOntario Screens- everywhere and anywhere you want, or don’t, want them. Children, youth and adults alike have adopted cellphones, tablets, video games and laptops as extensions of their bodies and identity. You can manage everything from your work responsibilities and finances to grocery shopping and school work. It allows us to stay connected to those we care about, be part of a larger community and remain entertained with almost endless feeds of content without leaving the comfort of our home. During the first lockdown, recreational use of screen time with children had increased 3x (2.6 hours a day to 5.9 hours). Reports from the last several years show high school students spend more than 7.5 hours a day on screens, with 20% of students spending 5+ hours just on social media. It can’t be surprising that our screen time is higher than ever, but what does that mean, and how does it aff ...

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Managing SAD (Connex article)

Title: Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder By: Scarlett Davidson Community Engagement and Partnership Lead at mindyourmind               One of the first steps in managing a disorder is having a good understanding of what it is. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also referred to as “recurring major depression with a seasonal pattern,” is a subtype of depression that affects an estimated 2-3% of Canadians. SAD occurs within the same season each year (usually fall and winter, however, some folks experience SAD in the spring and summer), and then either improves or remits entirely during the rest of the year. Many people, especially in Canada, find their mental health may decline in the winter. This means it can be important for all of us to do what we can to show extra care towards ourselves during this time. However, unlike those experiencing the casual “winter blues”, individuals with SAD may need some medical ...

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Culture and Stigma; A Barrier to Mental Health Access

Culture & Stigma; A Barrier to Mental Health Access Written by Amelia Lomat Culture & Stigma; A Barrier to Mental Health Access  Written by Amelia Lomat   Simply put, stigma is the lens that negatively impacts the way we view and think about groups of people or individuals in our life, often leading to social isolation. The word derives from the Greek term that signified a mark of shame usually branded or tattooed on criminals and delinquents to differentiate them from the general population. Stigmas nowadays go beyond physical identifiers. One way, in particular, is the stigmas for those who have a mental illness, which affect the way an individual feels about themselves, their future and their likelihood to reach out for help. Though mental illness stigma plays a large part in how we look at mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, there has been a shift regarding mental health topics like wellness, anxiety, and depression and ...

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Checking in with Yourself- Post Pandemic

Checking in with Yourself: Post-Pandemic  Written by Tricia Korbut Manager of System Navigation and Information Services at ConnexOntario   This pandemic has been going on for a long time. We’re living through what feels like an eternal Canadian winter, and spring remains just beyond our grasp. It hangs on us like a winter coat and weighs our steps with heavy boots. Cautiously, we’ve unzipped and enjoyed some warmth, only grudgingly zip up again to brace against more winter weather. We are lurching through COVID strains and emotional pains.    The reality is, our post-pandemic adjustment is about living in a state of flux. Post pandemic has come to mean, “be prepared, for anything, all the time.” There is no magic solution to living in this post- pandemic-COVID world and its variant cousins. We cannot wish it away, nor can we tuck ourselves away, waiting for the day it finally passes. We are bombarded with conflicting media reports and medical info ...

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ConnexOntario Partners With Canada’s Athlete of the Year & Gold Medalist, Damian Warner

ConnexOntario is proud to be partnering with Olympic Champion Damian Warner for our 2022 Mental Health Matters Campaign to increase awareness and reduce the negative stigma around mental health and addiction issues. Damian is a professional track and field athlete and keeping his mental health in the best shape is something he takes seriously. Damian Warner is a London, based professional track and field athlete who represented Canada at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the games, he set an Olympic Decathlon best in the 110m hurdles and an Olympic record in the 1500m. He made history as the first Canadian to win gold in the Decathlon and was named the Canadian Press’ Athlete of the Year after his win, which is widely regarded as the most complete medal at the Olympics. "I understand the necessity to improve mental health and that is something that ConnexOntario is tackling and I thought that it was a natural fit for us to partner together and I’m really looking forward to it." ...

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