How to Improve Your Wellbeing This Mental Health Awareness Month
May is nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. While this month serves as a great opportunity to focus on your mental health, this is a habit that everyone should be practicing throughout the year. Whether someone has a diagnosed mental health condition or not, they’re encouraged to take small steps each day in the interest of improving their overall wellbeing. Prioritizing mental wellness does not require drastic changes, only making small tweaks to your daily routine. Below, we’ll provide some tactics to help you improve and maintain your mental health. They may not reduce anxiety or depression overnight, but practicing these habits daily can eventually help you feel much happier and healthier as you take on each day.
The Importance of Mental Health Awareness Month
This month is so important because mental health is an essential part of a person’s overall health. If someone does not have strong mental health, they are not healthy at all. Our mental health has an impact on how we feel, act, make choices, and even relate to others.
After a few years of uncertainty throughout the pandemic, mental health issues are more prominent than ever. Many individuals have found themselves struggling with anxiety or depression and don’t know how to go about acknowledging or treating their disorder. Because of this, a high percentage of people who have mental health conditions begin to self-medicate. Self-medicating may involve practicing negative habits or consuming high amounts of alcohol or drugs. As a person continues to “treat” their mental health condition with substances, their condition will get worse and they will become dependent on their drug of choice. When someone has both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse issue at once, they are dealing with what is known as a “co-occurring disorder.” Co-occurring disorders are treatable, but they are much harder to diagnose and manage than mental health conditions alone.
Mental Health Awareness Month also serves as an opportunity to educate people and remove the stigma behind certain health conditions. Unfortunately, many individuals who don’t know what it’s like to live with a mental health condition will draw conclusions about people who do have them. Even those who don’t make judgments may not fully understand how it feels. During this month, people who don’t have mental health conditions are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available and inform themselves about what they can do to help kill the stigma. They could also learn something from volunteering with a mental health organization, donating to a non-profit, or attending an event centered around mental health awareness.
Tips For Boosting Your Mental Health
Everyone who struggles with their mental health in any capacity deserves care and support. While it’s helpful to have support from one’s community, a person’s main source of support needs to come from within. That’s why you should always be taking the time to do things that make you happy and help you live well. As you practice acts of self-care, you may begin to notice positive changes in not only your mental health, but your physical health as well.
Here are some small acts of self care that could have a huge impact on mental health:
- Practice light exercise every day, like taking a walk.
- Eat healthy meals and maintain a balanced diet.
- Decrease your screen time and social media use.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Limit caffeine consumption.
- Make sleep a priority. Stick to a schedule and make sure you get enough.
- Engage in relaxing activities like meditation, breathing exercises, and journaling.
- Set goals for yourself. Decide what to do now and learn to say no to other things.
- Focus on the things you do accomplish throughout the day other than what you don’t.
- Practice gratitude. Remind yourself daily of the things and people you’re grateful for.
- Stay positive. Try to identify and challenge your negative thoughts to stop patterns.
- Experiment with new hobbies. Try baking, hiking, reading, painting, coloring, etc.
- Do an at-home spa night. Take a bath, do a face mask, and focus on relaxing
Of course, not all of these strategies will work for everyone. It might take some trial and error to figure out what routine works best for you. It is also important to remember that while these self-care tactics can help improve mental health, they will not cure illness on their own. The practices above are most effective when combined with traditional mental health treatment.
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment Near You
There are many rehabilitation centers that offer treatment for both substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions. This is due to the fact that, in most cases, substance abuse conditions stem from untreated mental health complications. Treatment may range from bi-weekly sessions to residential care, depending on how severe the condition is. Mental health treatment usually includes a combination of talk therapy, medication, and education.
To learn more about the importance of mental health and its connection to substance abuse, contact our team of treatment specialists for more information. Give us a call at 267.719.8528.