Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? It’s a time to remember how important your mental health is to your overall health.
Emotional, psychological, and social well-being are all aspects of mental health. It has an impact on how we think, feel, act, make decisions, and interact with others. Mental health is more than just the absence of mental disease; it’s vital to your general health and quality of life. If you have a mental illness, self-care can help you maintain your mental health and assist your treatment and recovery.
Self-care includes devoting time and energy to activities that benefit both your physical and emotional wellbeing. Self-care can help you manage stress, reduce your risk of illness, and boost your energy levels when it comes to your mental health. Even simple daily gestures of self-care can have a significant impact.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started with self-care:
Exercise regularly. Walking for 30 minutes a day can help you feel better and enhance your health. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do 30 minutes at once because small quantities of exercise add up.
Eat healthy and drink enough water. A healthy diet and plenty of water can help you have more energy and stay focused all day. Also, cut back on drinks that have a lot of caffeine, like soft drinks or coffee.
Practice gratitude. Remind yourself daily of the things for which you are thankful. Be clear. At night, write them down or replay them in your head.
Establish goals and priorities. Determine what must be done immediately and what can wait. If you feel as though you’re taking on too much, learn to say “no” to additional tasks. At the end of the day, try to focus on what you have accomplished rather than what you have failed to do.
Prioritize your sleep. Maintain a schedule and make sure you get enough sleep. Blue light from devices and screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so limit your phone or computer before bedtime.
Try a stress-relieving activity. Look into relaxation or wellness programs or apps that may include meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises. Make time for these and other healthy activities you enjoy, such as journaling, on a regular basis.
Place emphasis on the positive. Recognize and challenge your negative and self-defeating thoughts.
Everyone’s definition of self-care is different, so it’s important to figure out what you need and enjoy. It may take some time to figure out what works best for you. Furthermore, while self-care is not a cure for mental diseases, knowing what causes or triggers mild symptoms and what coping strategies work for you can help you manage your mental health.
When to Seek Professional Help
If you’ve been having severe or upsetting symptoms for more than two weeks, such as:
Changes in appetite that lead to undesirable weight gain
Having trouble getting out of bed in the morning due to a bad attitude
Loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy
Inability to carry out routine everyday tasks and obligations
Do not wait until your symptoms become unbearable. Talk to your primary care provider about your worries; if necessary, he or she can refer you to a mental health professional.
You can call 1-800-TALK (8255) or text ‘MHA’ to 741741. You can also visit the following websites for more information:
Mental Health America: https://mhanational.org/get-involved/contact-us
Suicide Crisis Lines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines
Suicide Prevention Lines: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/