May is mental health awareness month so let’s talk about self-care. In this blog I want to talk about ways to improve our mental health and things to avoid protecting our mental health. In previous blogs I have talked about how mental health is health, meaning it is just important as the physical side of things with our bodies. To put things in perspective, lets talk numbers. New data shows that 1 in 4 students will have a mental health issue/disorder. But 80% will not get the help they need. This is a problem, and we must change it. Fighting against the stigma, educating people about mental health, finding help, accepting help, and putting in the work to improve and protect your mental health are key ingredients in obtaining the change we need for ourselves and our children.
10 ways to improve your mental health:
- Get enough sleep-at least 8 hours and have a regular bedtime
- Exercise-integrate some physical activity daily
- Open up-talking about your feelings
- Be grateful-notice things you are thankful for
- Help someone else-it reduces stress and makes you feel good
- Be mindful-aware of the world around you, focusing on the now
- Eat healthy foods-like fish, fruits, and vegetables can improve brain function
- Deal with stress-make a list of things that stress you out and a plan for dealing with them. Do not avoid it and push it down, because it will eventually erupt on you.
- Reflect-unplug from the phone, tv, and business of life to relax and reflect.
- Reach out for help-if you need help then reach out to a mental health professional, just like you would reach out to a doctor if you had a physical health issue.
There are also things to avoid or minimize your exposure to in order to protect your mental health.
- Negative social media-consuming to much negative media is toxic for your feelings, thoughts, emptions, and head space.
- Toxic relationships-these can include everything from abusive, one sided, or those with no boundaries.
- Trying to ignore and avoid dealing with stress or problems-this only makes its worse and it will catch up with you.
- Learn to “Observe it, don’t absorb it” when it comes to negativity and things out of your control.
A very important thing to teach children and teens is the difference between being Mindful vs Mind full.
|What brings you joy||Stress|
|What helps you relax?||Anger|
|What makes you smile||Worry|
Martha J. Hollingsworth, LPC