It’s May again, and as you might already know, May is Mental Health Awareness month. We’ve discussed mental health a good amount on this blog–it’s part of the trifecta of “sport, body, and mind” that encompasses your overall health, and ultimately, happiness. So this month, blogs will be dedicated to helping you work on your mental game.
Staying on top of self-care is harder than it should be, but it’s something that we should all be doing regularly. Many of us have crazy schedules, work stressful jobs, get distracted by other things that are going on, or just feel guilty about taking “me time.”
But if you’re often unhappy, stressed out, struggling with your mental health, that will extend into other parts of your life as well. I hope this blog serves as a reminder that 1. Remember to take time to take care of yourself (make it a priority) and 2. It really doesn’t take that much work, just some conscious and consistent effort.
The basics: At minimum, making sure your body is taken care of is a great foundation and first step to taking care of yourself. In no particular order: 1. Eat right 2. Get sleep and 3. Exercise. Your mood and overall health need it and taking care of these 3 things will set you in the right direction.
Self-care looks different for everyone, but we all have something that helps to alleviate stress/anxiety or allows us to focus on something else and take a break from the usual grind. For some people, that might be something as simple as reading a book, watching TV shows, baking, cleaning, taking a bath, getting a massage, etc. It can also be something a bit bigger, like taking a trip or vacation. But the small stuff is what counts, because you can do it every day. If you struggle with making self-care a habit, I suggest starting with very easy and small steps like giving yourself 15-30 minutes a day to do something JUST for yourself.
It’s also very beneficial to do mindfulness practices that can reframe the way you think. For example, meditation is a well known way to help develop your mental fortitude. Along with that, gratitude exercises like keeping a gratitude journal can help remind us to think positively and appreciate what we do have instead of focusing negatively on what we lack. Therapy is also a great resource in helping people learn how to navigate everyday challenges, among other things.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to neglect our mental health–we get distracted, we stay busy, we intentionally or unintentionally avoid facing the real challenges . . . the list goes on.
Try to make extra effort this month to take care of your mental health. Write down goals that you’d like to do: find a therapist, meditate for 10 minutes every day, say “no” more often to make time for yourself. Make May about strengthening your mental health.