May celebrates Mental Health Awareness month. There are a lot of ways to celebrate, that involve taking care of you, but the first step in all awareness months, is to be aware and knowledgeable.
So, here is a link from theSkimm to help you learn more about mental health.
This has the basics, different mental health conditions, information on the stigma and some more ways to take care of yourself. Did you know, that one in six adults are living with a mental illness of some sort, this could range anywhere from anxiety disorders, to eating disorders to addiction disorders and so many more. Being in college, I know people who have had issues with all of these and some people are going through battles that I would never know about.
An issue is that there is a huge stigma around mental health, but in reality it is so common nowadays for people to have some type of mental illness. The stigma is usually always negative and due to that it can affect whether or not people will seek out treatment or even admit to themselves they might have a mental illness. One suggestion that the Skimm talks about is that you should re-word the way you talk about your mental illness. An example is don’t say “I am bipolar”, say “I suffer from a bipolar disorder”. THis will help you to mentally not let that mental disorder define you. It is something you are going through, not who you are. I think you should definitely go check out their link here and learn more about the stigma and the fights different people around you could be going through and how to fight back the stigma.
Take Time for Yourself
A lot of people are too busy and overwhelmed that they don’t know how to take care of themselves properly. You might be eating right and working out, but if you don’t take time to relax for a minute this can really hurt your self-esteem and your overall mojo. Being busy is great, but not taking time for yourself can hurt you. It doesn’t have to be a whole day or even a large sum of it to take time for you. Some tihngs you can do is:
- Take a bubble bath
- Watch an episode of your favorite show
- Do a face mask
- Be your own best friend and go on a date with yourself
- Go to a Yoga class
- Go for a run
- Write (a blog post, in your diary, etc.)
- Read a chapter of your book
- Read the whole damn book
- Get a cup of coffee and sit outside
- Sit outside and listen to the birds and enjoy the sun on your skin
- Treat yourself for under $20
I, personally love meditation, even if it’s for 3 minutes, 5 minutes or 10 minutes. I think it is a great way to start the day or even a way to calm down mid day. I use the app Headspace which is super great. It is free, but you can buy more packages for different situations. They have it for anxiety, stress, grief even if you have cancer or need to be more productive. This app has really helped me when I felt like I was at my worst and just overall mad or stressed. If you don’t want to get an app, you can just sit down and meditate. Taking this minute for yourself can help you to bring yourself back to a calm mindset where you can focus on what is important and to stop overthinking.
Spend Time With Friends
Humans are social creatures, they are meant to make connections and be around other people. It is known to make people feel better and boost moods. Half of it, is surrounding yourself with the right people, think positive and uplifting people and stay away from the negative people and thoughts. Go get coffee together or grab dinner or drinks. Spending time with people that uplift you, doing something that give you joy (yes, food and coffee give me joy) will really help your mental health. Lack of social interactions is actually known to hurt your mental health, so grab a buddy and work on your mental health with a simple conversation or friend date!
Redesign or Clean Your Room
I know, this one might sound a little stupid. But, your environment plays a huge part in your mental health. I know that when my room is a mess, my anxiety gets worse and I feel overall stressed and uneasy. I think designing your room to have light and filled with things you love will help you to feel better overall and more days than not. Being in a gloomy, messy and dark room will aid your emotions to feeling alone, closed off and stressed. It is known that certain colors can also affect your mood, so think about that when redesigning. Yellow is meant to boost your mood and blue can be calming. Cleaning can also be soothing for some people. For me, it can be sometimes, but other times not so much. The feeling of accomplishment after cleaning your room is nice though. You can even treat yourself after with a little something-something.
This is one of my favorite ways to cheer up and it works even better that Summer is right around the corner. A little sunshine can cure a lot of things and genuinely make you happier. When people are stuck inside day in and day out, that isn’t good for your body. Even if you talk a walk, with or without a dog (I suggest bringing a dog if that is an option), it can really boost your mood for the rest of the day and even your week. I will be honest, I definitely don’t do this as much as I would like to, but right now, if I have work to do, I try and sit outside, in the sun or in the shade and work on my laptop. It isn’t exactly the same thing, but it is better than nothing and still makes me feel better.
I also would like to share a few signs that you should keep an eye out for and if you start to notice, you should reach out to a professional. Reminder, signs and symptoms of mental illnesses are different for everyone.
- Feeling Sad
- Having a hard time concentrating
- Extreme mood changes
- Pulling away from friends and family
- Being significantly tired
- Having low energy and trouble sleeping
- Struggling with daily problems and stress
- Major changes in eating habits
- Excessive anger
- Physical problems, this could be stomach pains or unexplained aches
- Suicidal thinking
If you are having suicidal thoughts or think you might hurt yourself, always get help right away. Call 911 or a local emergency number immediately, call your mental health specialist, call a suicide hotline number, in the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also reach out to a close friend or loved one.
What are some ways you are taking care of you and your mental health this month? Leave your answer in the comments!