May 18, 2023
Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month raises awareness about mental health and reminds us of the importance of self-care. There are many ways to improve our own self-care and model these techniques for children and others around us. Self-care is an essential part of our overall health and should be taken just as seriously as our physical health care, as caring for our mental wellbeing can lead to improvements in our physical health as well. There are so many ways to engage in self-care, here are a few fantastic options:
- Enjoy Nature: Go on walks, runs, bike rides, hikes, or anything that gets you outside and moving. Research has shown that nature can help with mild depression and anxiety.
- Practice Mindfulness: Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are all great mindfulness techniques to decrease stress and anxiety.
- Spend Time with Friends and Loved Ones: Social support is a great way to improve our overall mood.
- Eat Healthy Foods: Research has shown that the food we eat can have a direct effect on our moods. Being mindful of what we eat and limiting our intake of processed and sugary foods can improve our overall mental health.
- Practice Positive Thinking: Beginning our day with a positive affirmation can set a positive mood and thought process for the rest of the day.
- Do Something You Love: Make sure to take the time to engage in a hobby that brings you happiness. It is easy to become so wrapped up in the stressors of daily life that we forget to have fun!
When we can utilize self-care for ourselves, we are showing those around us that they are capable too! If we are mentally healthy, we are projecting positivity towards our family and loved ones and can encourage them to engage in self-care. We are also making ourselves more mentally available to be of support to others when they need it.
As a gentle reminder to anyone who needs to hear it- it’s okay to get help! If your ankle was hurting you to walk on, you would likely lay off of it for a bit and go to the doctor. This is what mental health awareness is about! Self-care is knowing when to take a break and talk to someone, especially when mental or emotional problems impede your daily functioning. We recommend asking your insurance provider for a list of in-network providers to get started. A child’s school psychologist or counselor also likely has a list of referrals for you to call. Mental health therapy is more accessible than it was in the past - take advantage of it!