May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Happy Spring! May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) company, we know that mental health awareness is crucial to our well-being and success. Because let’s face it, being happy makes us unstoppable! But, we also know that it’s unrealistic to be happy 100% of the time.
The sooner we know how to manage our emotions, work through challenges, and empathize with others, the better equipped we are to handle life’s ups and downs. Taking care of your mental health is absolutely essential, and there are so many different ways to do it. For some people, going to the gym and sweating it out is how they clear their head. For others, taking time to connect with family and friends helps relieve stress and re-energizes them. What works for one person may not work for another; and, it’s important to understand there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
To further explore how personal caring for our mental health is, we asked some of our amazing district partners about how they care for their mental wellbeing. Based on their answers, we created several categories and looked at why these activities help us care for our mental health. We hope this helps inspire you to think of what activities can help you care for your mental wellbeing:
- Work Up a Sweat: Exercise produces endorphins, which are natural chemicals that improve mood and reduce pain perception. Exercise can also help us feel a sense of achievement, get better sleep, and reduce stress hormones. Whether it’s going for a walk, bike riding, or dancing to your favorite album (Beyonce’s Renaissance is a great choice for this one, just saying), movement is a great mood booster that also helps release stress.
- Unleash Your Creativity: Creative activities such as drawing, choreographing, or writing can serve as a type of mindfulness. However you express yourself, getting creative can help release inner feelings and work through tough emotions and challenges through a modem that is fun and engaging. Let’s grab the paintbrushes!
- Veg Out: Many of our partners had answers centered around taking time to stay in bed, (or on the couch), and simply vegging out. It’s easy to fall into a busy, non-stop schedule; so, when you can take the time you need to get cozy and rest a little bit, it can help you disconnect from the craziness of your everyday life.
- Listen Up: Audio stimulation (such as audiobooks, music, or podcasts), can provide us with a sort of escapism. It allows us to step away from our own thoughts and immerse ourselves in a different world. It can also provide us with new knowledge or inspiration, which can spark interests and serve as a distraction from anything that may be stressing us out. Turn up the volume and let your mind wander.
- Be Present in The Now: Mindfulness and meditation practices promote relaxation and reduce stress by calming the mind and slowing down our heart rate. This can help lower levels of stress hormones, improve our ability to focus, and help us be more present. You can even do this right now by taking 5 deep breaths – your mind and body will thank you for it!
- Talk It Out: Having a safe space to talk, whether it’s with a mental health care professional or a trusted friend, is a great way to explore our thoughts and emotions, and work through challenges. Getting these issues out of our head and out into the open with someone we trust also helps us feel less alone. Don’t be afraid to open up and let it all out.
Remember, taking care of our mental health doesn’t have to be a chore. It can even be downright enjoyable! So go ahead, cozy up in your bed, dance like nobody’s watching, or bust out your favorite true crime podcast. No matter what you do to take care of your mental health, we encourage you to make it a priority in your life. By doing so, we’re more capable of becoming our strongest, best selves.
For more mental health resources, see below: