Every day you should make your mental health a priority. During the month of May, National Mental Health Awareness Month, this is a great time to take inventory of your mental health and look to establish positive habit-forming strategies.
When the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, many of us vow to make a New Year’s resolution for our physical health. Think of this month as Dec. 31 and make some healthy changes for your mind. Soon, you may recognize taking care of your mental health also helps your physical health.
How can one get started? Similar to making your new year’s resolution, pick a date on the calendar in May. From that date forward, implement a new coping skill or strategy each day. Like any resolution or change, it will take 21 days to form a habit.
Here are a few suggestions you can implement to help your mental health toolbox:
- Try applying yoga or mediation into your daily routine.
- Yoga is a practice that connects the body, breath and mind. It uses physical posture, breathing exercises and meditation to improve overall health.
- Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your well-being and your overall health.
- The weather is getting nicer outside. Start with a short walk and gradually increase the distance over time. Many areas have built trails connecting different townships and their park systems.
- Drink plenty of water – drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat and lead to constipation and kidney stones.
- Eating healthy – the benefits of eating healthy snacks in between meals may provide a boost of energy if several hours pass between meals and blood glucose level drops. Good healthy snacks include nutrients when choosing certain snacks like fresh fruit or nuts.
- Plenty of rest – being well rested will lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease. Being well rested will reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Listen to music or your favorite playlist.
- Have a trusted person to speak with to help you navigate through challenging situations.
- Plan to start gardening. Gardening may help lighten your mood and lower levels of stress and anxiety. It may be gratifying to plant, tend and harvest and share your own food. A gardening routine, such as watering and weeding, can create a soothing rhythm to ease stress.
Many of the suggestions listed above are individual tips to improve your personal toolbox to help your coping skills. Here are a few tips to help you in larger settings to boost your mental health.
- Plan a time to do an activity with your immediate or extended family without phones and social media.
- Plan a friend’s evening out or schedule time with one or more couples for a group outing.
Other fun activities to do are puzzles, crossword puzzles, journaling, drawing, painting or any activity you enjoy.
Today, mental health appears to be a buzzword or popular phrase, but the reality is everyone’s mental health is on display every day. And throughout the course of a day, there are many challenges that can affect your mental health. Be kind to yourself and kind to others. Remember, you can take a pause during the day to collect your thoughts!
In the Mission Advancement department at C&A, we are starting to implement wellness stations for when we need a “pause.” Stations included are an area to do a puzzle and a gratitude station. As this initiative moves further along, more wellness areas will be created for team members to pause, collect their thoughts and then move back to the task at hand.
During this month, take inventory of what you can do to restock your shelves and implement new mental health and coping strategies to be your best both physically and mentally!
Dan Mucci is the author of this blog post. Mucci, C&A’s Mission Advancement Director, has more than 20 years of writing experience. To learn more about the services the agency offers, visit www.childandadolescent.org , call 330.433.6075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.