5 proven ways to reset your mindset. Summer can help boost your mental health, writes Mordechai Rothman


Mordechai Rothman

With mental health incidents spiking — by up to 25 per cent globally, according to the World Health Organization — and a recent study showing a third of Canadian workers are experiencing burnout, now’s the time to undo the toll events of the last few years have taken on us.

Thankfully, summer is the perfect time to do so. As a psychotherapist and head of a charity that has been supporting families with seriously ill kids for the last 15 years, I’ve learned a few things about helping people deal with challenges. Here are five proven ways to reset your mindset.


1. Mental preparedness and fighting depression start before the day begins — beginning with getting enough sleep and eating properly. Ask yourself: When was the last time I got 7-8 hours of sleep and ate three balanced meals even for just three days straight? To promote better sleep, avoid using your cellphone as a clock. The temptation to check messages during the night or early morning sends a hit of dopamine to your brain and wakes you up.

2. Motion is emotion, says Tony Robbins, leading author and coach. Exercising every day — even a five-minute walk around the neighbourhood to get sunshine and fresh air — makes a difference. If you work on the computer all day, consider investing in a standup desk. They’re great for refocusing, and alleviating stress and fatigue.


3. Review your schedule before you start your day so you know what to expect and can deal with whatever comes up. Consider pre-playing in your head how conversations might go. This will get your subconscious mind going to help you tackle issues and prepare to deal with any unforeseen circumstances.


4. Take breaks and get outside. Remove yourself from your regular environment to mentally reset and free-flow think any issues that have come up. At work, you can also use your break to talk with co-workers about things other than work. Do you know your colleagues’ children’s names? What’s going on with them? You will find that the more you give to, and connect with, others around you, the more you’ll receive in terms of emotional support and feeling more upbeat.


5. Focus on the fact that every activity has a meaningful side to it. Whether you’re gardening, helping file people’s taxes, or pressing a machine button all day, there’s always a bigger picture. What happiness are you bringing to others? The gardener who uplifts passersby, the factory worker who makes products that make people happy, or the office worker who helps behind the scenes … each serves some higher purpose. Try to understand how your daily activities bring joy or positivity to others, which in turn will add joy to your own life.


Recognizing that people have much less human connection today than they did in the past — which is affecting their state of mind — our organization has launched a unique podcast, called On Air with Chai, to deliver inspiration, hope, resilience and strength to anyone going through a tough time. The goal is to restore human connection by sharing stories and advice from real people who have seen sadness transform into joy, even in the most dire circumstances.


Implementing even some of these tactics this summer is an effective way to emerge stronger and prepare for whatever weather lies ahead.


Mordechai Rothman is Executive Director of Chai Lifeline Canada, a Toronto-based charity that helps support families of children who suffer from life-threatening or lifelong illnesses. The organization provides dozens of free initiatives to help give children stability and their families a sense of normalcy, including counselling, tutoring for children missing extended periods of school, family retreats, sibling programs similar to that of “Big Brother, Big Sister” and summer camps for kids.