May is Mental Health Awareness Month! This month, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) will emphasize the message “Together for Mental Health.” Mental Health Awareness Month aims to fight stigma, raise awareness, and help those get the support they need. We spend so much time caring for our bodies by eating well and exercising, and we often forget it’s essential to focus on our minds. Check out these tips to care for your mental health so you can lead a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Eat Well & Exercise
Eating well and exercising does more than just improve our physical health. Both are actually linked to mental health as well! A healthy, consistent diet means fewer mood fluctuations and an increased ability to focus. Additionally, a healthy diet is shown to help symptoms of anxiety and depression. Similarly, exercise reduces anxiety, depression, and negative moods. Let this be another reason to focus on living a healthy lifestyle!
Make Time for Things You Enjoy
Days can become redundant if you aren’t careful. After all, waking up and going to work or school for five days a week can take a toll if you don’t make time for activities you enjoy! So, every day, make sure you are doing something for yourself. Perhaps you like to cook, do crafts, or spend time outside. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, it’s crucial to make time for the things that bring you peace and joy. So, each day, make it a goal to do at least one thing for yourself!
Step Back and Reframe
It’s easy to find yourself in a spiral of thoughts and worries. When you find yourself in this situation, pause for a moment. The World Health Organization suggests taking deep breaths and asking yourself:
- Five things you can see
- Four things you can hear
- Things you can smell
- What does it feel like to touch your knees or something else in reach?
Doing so can help you feel present and focus on the current moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. So next time you find yourself in a spiraling scenario, pause for a moment and ground yourself.
Talk to Those Around You
One of the most important things to remember about mental health is that you shouldn’t bottle it up. Talk to someone you trust, whether a family member, significant other, friend, or therapist. Gathering insight from a trusted person in your life can help provide you with a different outlook while also getting it off your chest. There’s nothing to feel ashamed about when it comes to taking steps to improve your mental health. Like we exercise our bodies, we need to take that same care for our minds. Start today by searching for a counselor that will be able to provide you with the support and care you need.
Too often, people brush their mental health under the rug. Even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness like anxiety or depression, it’s still imperative to take these steps to care for your mental health. By talking to those around us, we can work together to end the stigma and ensure people receive the support they need. During Mental Health Awareness Month, incorporate some of these tips into your everyday lifestyle!
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