May: Mental Health Month

Mental Health America observes May as Mental Health Month, a program dedicated to raising recognition about the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness. Their theme for 2014 is “Mind Your Health.” This May, consider making 2-3 goals to increase your mental health and wellness. Just by making a few small changes, you can experience improved relationships, better physical and mental health, and feel greater joy and happiness.

Stay socially connected

To feel more happy and decrease the effects of stress, depression, and anxiety, remember to make plans with friends, share your problems and joys with others, listen and reach out to those in need of support, and have fun in social settings.

Consider:

  • Setting up weekly lunch or dinner dates with friends or loved ones
  • Connect daily or weekly with people you care about over the phone or through email
  • Plan at least one fun activity that is social each week

Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for your mental and physical well-being. It helps you learn, process memories, restore energy, repair muscle tissue, and regulate hormones. Not getting enough sleep can lead to both physical and mental/emotional struggles and conditions.

Consider:

  • Going to bed at the same time each day
  • Avoiding watching TV or using technology in the last 30 minutes before bed as it can wake your brain
  • Exercising earlier in the day if possible as it often has a waking effect on the body

Reduce and control your stress

Life is stressful. Too much stress (or lack of ability/knowledge to manage it) can negatively impact your body by creating somatic issues (headaches, stomachaches, etc), emotional struggles (irritability, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, etc), difficulty sleeping, rise in blood pressure, weight gain or loss, and more.

Consider:

  • Meditating (check out the Headspace app- 10 minutes/day for 10 days series)
  • Exercising
  • Prioritizing and doing one thing at a time
  • Engaging in leisure time and hobbies
  • Sharing your feelings/stress with loved ones
  • Journaling
  • Setting realistic goals and say “no” when necessary
  • Decreasing or eliminating use of substances to avoid/numb/manage stress. Instead, use one of the above suggestions or seek professional help to manage difficulty in your life.

For more information and resources on Mental Health Month, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net.