May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is timely for one in five adults who are living with mental illness worldwide. Whether you are impacted by mental illness, or you know someone who is, we have a few tips to help make sure that your mental health is a top priority.
Take Care of Your Body
Mental health is not just mental. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep and moving around can help reduce depression and anxiety. As little as 15-30 minutes of exercise three days a week can have a tremendous effect on your mental health. It is even possible that exercise can help keep symptoms from coming back after you start feeling better. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, distracts your mind from negative thinking patterns and helps you cope with negative thoughts in a healthy way.
Take Care of Your Mind
Speaking of thinking patterns, there is also evidence showing that a few minutes of mindful meditation each day can improve your mental health. You don’t have to sit in complete silence for hours – just spend a couple of minutes each day closing your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Look Out for Warning Signs
If you find yourself feeling sad for no reason, or experience excessive anger, it may be time to reach out for help. Symptoms of mental health difficulties also include feeling tired all the time, extreme changes in mood or appetite, or withdrawing from friends and family. Stay in tune with yourself so that you can identify these warning signs.
Reach Out for Help
There is no shame in asking for help. There’s often a stigma that surrounds therapy and treatment for mental health difficulties. Therapy can provide you with helpful techniques to work through feelings of anger or depression, and assure that your thought patterns remain positive. If you’re still unsure, ask someone you trust to walk with you through the process.
Finally, make sure that you have a few close friends or family members who can check in with you on a regular basis. Building relationships can help fight negative thoughts and behaviour. Mental Health Awareness Month is the perfect time to connect and assure each other that we are not alone in our struggles.