Did you know that 1 in 4 people in the US have a mental illness? Yet there is still so much stigma around the topic. Even in my work, so many people have a hard time admitting they have anxiety because they don't want to describe themselves as anxious. May has been designated Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. since 1949. If you or a loved one has ever struggled to keep their mental health in balance, below you will find simple ways to show your support during this time.
PRIORITIZE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Yes, life gets busy. But making time to take are our body and mind is the key to a healthy life.
• Get enough sleep every night • Eating nutrient-rich foods • Cut down on processed foods, sugars and alcohol • Exercise regularly • Practice mindfulness • Take time for yourself • Do activities that you enjoy
START A CONVERSATION
If someone is struggling with their mental health, it can be hard to ask for help. Many times people end up isolating themselves. Reach out to people who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Calling a friend or sending a text message to someone you haven’t heard from in a while is an easy way to brighten someone’s day. One way to start a conversation is to simply ask your loved ones how they are doing.
• How are you? • Are you ok? • Do you need to talk? • What can I do to be there for you? • Is there anything that you need from me? • I want to know how you’re feeling because I care about you.
Remember that you don’t have to offer advice or be their therapist, or do anything to fix their situation. Just letting someone talk and reminding them that you’re there for them may be all they need.
CHECK YOUR BOUNDARIES
This is also a good time to look at your boundaries. Do you often agree to things when you want to say no? Do you surround yourself with toxic people? Take a moment to prioritize your desires and values, and hold those strong in your relationships and throughout your life.
If you feel overwhelmed, consider taking a break. Perhaps you need a getaway. Or maybe you need to take a few personal days off of work. Make time to rest and rejuvenate so that you don't burnout and feel overwhelmed.
Sharing information about mental wellness is an easy way to spread awareness. Talk about it on social media. The more we talk about mental health, the more we normalize emotions and the less shame there is around this topic.
LET SOMEONE KNOW THAT THEY’RE NOT ALONE
Many people with mental health disorders tend to isolated themselves. They may think that no one understands them. Share with them your experience with mental illness.
Think about submitting your story to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Sharing your story can give hope to someone who is really struggling. It also allows them to see that it is possible to manage a mental health condition. The more awareness that we can raise during this month, the more we can influence our society to make mental health a priority.