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Microsteps to Restore Your Mental Health from Dr. Deborah Fernandez-Turner

Dr Deborah Fernandez round headshot Deborah Fernandez-Turner, Acting Chief Psychiatric Officer of CVS Health and Aetna

Microsteps to restore your mental health from Dr. Deborah Fernandez-Turner

Hi, this is Dr. Deborah Fernandez-Turner, acting chief psychiatric officer of CVS Health and Aetna. 
We've all been through a lot over the last few years. The stressors have been significant, and close to 60% of people have noticed new or worsening mental health challenges.  
If you haven't been feeling quite like yourself lately, there are many things that you can do starting today to help support your mental wellbeing.  
And they don't have to be big steps. Small steps can make a really big difference. 
Let's talk about a few things that you can start today to positively impact your mental wellbeing.  
First of all, prioritize you. Take time for yourself away from work, away from family demands, just for you.  
Maybe you could journal, read an uplifting book, talk to a friend who makes you laugh. Even take a 10-minute micro-break during your day can make a big impact.  
Next, pay attention to the things that you bring into your body and into your brain. Try, for example, to increase the amount of color in your meals by adding fruits and vegetables.  
Make sure that you drink enough water throughout the day. Also, notice the things that you're bringing into your thoughts.  
Pay attention to what you read and how often. It's important to stay informed, but limiting the amount of time you spend reading the news or on social media will also have a positive impact. 
Next, think about your movement and how much sunshine you're getting every day. Try moving even for five minutes a day, especially if you take those five minutes to be truly present outdoors, noticing the beauty that's all around you. 
Next, think about your sleep. We know from study after study that sleep is absolutely vital to your brain health.  
And last, connections. Do you spend time every day making connections with those people and communities that help you feel replenished? Make a plan to build those connections each and every day, even if it's just for a few minutes.  
For example, maybe setting up a five minute phone call with your friend. Put it on your calendar and make sure it happens as an absolute priority.  
Fine-tuning your daily habits is a great way to start your mental wellbeing journey today. But know that resources and help is available. Be proactive and reach out to the supports that can help you. I always like to say that perfection is the enemy of progress, so start small and celebrate each and every win. And then connect to the resources that are there to help you. Have a great day. 

As the Acting Chief Psychiatric Officer of CVS Health and Aetna, Deborah Fernandez-Turner shares some microsteps to help people who are struggling with mental well-being get back on the road to recovery.


If you’re in need, find support for your mental well-being by seeking care from a therapy resource of your choice:

  1. Schedule an in-person or virtual therapy appointment at a CVS MinuteClinic (schedule online or call 1-855-417-2486
  2. Find a therapist
  3. Speak with your provider or insurer about the right care options for you


As you’ll hear in Deborah’s video, something as small as adjusting lifestyle habits, eating fresh produce, and getting enough water, physical activity, or sleep can make a big difference on mental health.

Fine tuning daily habits, like the above, may be the right solution, and seeking help from others, like professionals, family or friends, may be the right path. The bottom line -- there are tons of resources, both big and small, many free, that are available for people seeking support. And all it takes is one microstep to get started.

1Mental Health Counseling is available through MinuteClinic at select CVS HealthHUB locations. As of July 1, 2022, this service can be accessed both in-person in select markets and virtually wherever you are in the following states: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Additional states and locations will be made available later this year. Check our Mental Health Counseling services webpage for updates and more details.