Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Erasing the stigma around mental health is crucial for those that suffer with it to be able to fully heal. Even before COVID, mental illnesses had been on the rise in the United States. After a year of isolation, job loss, financial struggles and physical illness, it is no wonder people are truly struggling right now. Currently 47 million Americans are dealing with mental illness in 2021 with the estimated number of adults with serious suicidal thoughts is over 10.7 million. This is a staggering statistic that shows a prevalent issue in our country that Mental Health Awareness Month is trying to address. This month I will be posting weekly on a variety of Mental Health topics!
This week I am going to cover self care! It is so important for our mental health that we take the time we need to recover from our busy lives to stay healthy! Self Care can come in any form that works for you - whether thats reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk or excerising. Designate time each week, even if only 5 minutes to practice mindfulness, to give yourself a moment to recoup, relax and recharge.
Exercise. Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body which can help to improve your mental health. Now this doesn't mean you have to go to the gym everyday - because who has time for that?! Try incorporating a family walk after dinner, take the stairs when you can, or if you have time try yoga or pilates!
Mindfulness. Techincally, mindfulness is a "mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique." You can practice mindfulness for a few minutes every day and then work your way up to longer periods of time. When you first wake up or right before you go to sleep, use 2 minutes to slow your breathing, acknowledge what you may be feeling, and bring yourself to the present.
Journaling. Journaling is known to relieve stress, boost your memory and help you achieve your goals. If you are someone who can just open a journal and get to writing then go for it! If you need a little push, try getting a journal that has daily prompts to get you started.
We all wear so many hats during our daily lives and are constantly being pulled in different direction which can lead to us forgetting about dedicating time for ourselves! Take a little time to see what you can do for yourself each week! Self care is not selfish.