Building Wellness Habits

Now that you know more about physical health, mental health, illness AND stigma, we think you’re ready to DO something with that knowledge!

If we know that there are all sorts of things that can positively and negatively impact our health and wellbeing, how do we figure out WHAT to do?

Well, we’d like to introduce you to the concept of habits!


What are 'Habits'?

Maybe you’ve head this term most when it is next to the words “good” or “bad” (e.g., like “biting your nails is a bad habit!” or “getting 30 minutes of physical activity every day is a good habit!”), but let’s take any judgment away for a minute and just say…

Habits are really just actions and choices that we don’t have to think about too much because they’ve become kind of automatic for us.


Why do we need habits?

Habits are super important for basic human functioning because, well, life is complicated and we all need some short-cuts to help us out!

Just imagine, it would be pretty hard to get anything done if every time you thought about brushing your teeth you had to think about: why is brushing my teeth important? What is the best method for brushing my teeth today? How long should I do it for this time? Which toothpaste should I use today?

Yep. Now I feel tired just thinking about brushing my teeth!


Why do we need habits?

Habits help us skip all these questions and just DO the thing because it’s something we’ve already decided to do and something that we repeat again and again until the action becomes second-nature to us.

Once we’ve formed a habit around something, it can be tough to change. This can be a good thing, but it can also be a challenge for maintaining our mental and physical wellness because we can get into habits that help us feel better or habits that can cause more stress and problems for us (often in the long term).


Wellness Habits 101

Motivation will naturally go up and down so we can’t always rely on our will power to make sure we do the things we need to do to take care of our mental health.

This is where building wellness habits comes in!


3 Simple steps to building wellness habits

Make it rewarding:

When we get positive feedback or have a positive experience with something once, it can help our bodies and minds categorize that action or behaviour as a good thing to do again in future (plus, it also just makes habit-building more fun!).


Put it into a routine:

Once you commit to adding your new habit as part of your daily routine or bundle it with other habits, it will become easier and easier to repeat your desired habit without having to plan too much or motivate yourself to do it.

Create a cue:

A cue is something either in your environment, your behaviour or your thoughts that helps remind you of the action or choice you want to turn into a habit.


3 simple steps: Example Time!

Practice with this Wellness Habit: Let’s say you want to get a better night’s sleep… What could you do to build this habit?

Make it rewarding:

Better sleep could bring rewards like:

  • I’ll have more energy
  • I’ll be less grumpy
  • I’ll be able to focus!

Beyond any rewards that the habit itself may bring, make sure you start a new wellness habit by offering yourself a real, concrete reward to get you motivated, like: “After I go to bed at the same time every night for a week, I will reward myself with a movie night!”

Now think about that reward, how awesome it will be and how much you’ll enjoy it!



Put it into a routine:

Try thinking about and writing down.

When you want to engage in your new habit and what else around it could help you stick to it:

  • Set a consistent time you want to be in bed by
  • Plan how much time you need to get ready and wind down before actually being able to sleep


Create a cue:

Try thinking about & writing down the ways that you will remember to engage in your new habit!

  • Put an alarm on your phone for the time at which you want to start winding down for bed
  • Bundle it with other habits that help you move towards better sleep habits (e.g., maybe make a sleepy time tea every evening at the same time, or make yourself a bedtime calming playlist, etc.,)

Cues can be super simple or obvious at first and then later on as you practice your new habit, they can often become more subtle or not even needed!



Wellness Habits: What Now?


As you may already see, each of these steps reinforces one another. That’s because the more excited you are about the reward, the more your brain connects that reward with the positive habit, and the more you actually want to do it again!


“If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again!”

– Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland (that’s right, even kings don’t always succeed!)


You made it! What now...?

You made it to the end of E-Module #1 – CONGRATS!

We hope you now feel more equipped to take care of your mental health and make talking about it the new normal!


Check out the options below for what to do next 🙂

1. Continue to next E-module?

2. "Save" and Quit

Click the “Save and Quit” button in order to enter into a monthly prize draw for a $50 gift card for completing this e-module, receive an automatic reminder to keep going on the next one, and sign up to our Programs Waitlist. You will also then be invited to other join our Monthly Coping Challenge and other fun ways to participate and win!

3. Take a Break...

Take a Break Option #1:

Check out the Youth Advisor Committee’s (YAC) review video on “Whats Up: A Mental Health App”:

Take a Break Option #2:

Just take a moment to enjoy these cute animal pics – scientifically proven to boost your mood!