May of every year is observed as Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. Here are some ways to take care of yourself and your anxiety.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on everyone across the world. Things no longer are the same as they were a year ago, and all of us found ourselves adjusting, and to different capacities struggling this past year. mental health has been a more important topic than ever, and we can all rightly say, that the conversation needs to keep evolving around the subject.
According to Mental Health America, youth mental health is worsening. 9.7% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression, compared to 9.2% in last year’s dataset. This rate was highest among youth who identify as more than one race, at 12.4%. Even before COVID-19, the prevalence of mental illness among adults was increasing. In 2017-2018, 19% of adults experienced a mental illness, an increase of 1.5 million people over last year’s dataset.
While it may be that some of us are more vulnerable than others, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact our mental health. After all, just a few months ago, none of us had any idea that all our worlds would be upended by the coronavirus, and that worry, isolation, loneliness, depression, and anxiety would become collective experiences shared by literally everyone.
Before we get into how we can preserve our mental health, let’s get into the details of what Mental Health Awareness Month is.
What month is Mental Health Awareness Month?
Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). Each year in mid-March Mental Health America releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, MHA, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities that are based on a different theme each year. People come together to observe Mental Health Awareness Month through media, local events, and film screenings.
How can you look after your mental health and keep anxiety at bay?
Here is some of the most tried and tested practical advice for anxiety that we have for you.
1. Talk to someone who will listen.
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
2. Take a walk, and keep yourself active.
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. It can also help you keep your anxiety in check. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health. A great form of exercise is practicing yoga, straight from the comfort of your home.
3. Take care of your diet, and add probiotics to it!
A healthy gut is proven to have great effects on people struggling with their mental health.
Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
4. Keep your alcohol consumption in check.
Those of us that do, consume alcohol at every celebration, every sorrow. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.
Difficult feelings only get worse if you try to manage them through alcohol. You’ll only end up feeling worse after the temporary numbness wears off. So keeping your alcohol consumption in check can be extremely beneficial.
5. Don’t allow yourself to fall out of touch
There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!
6. Ask for help.
Our world is evolving at a speed much higher than our minds, and people today are suffering with depression and anxiety more than ever before.
If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.
7. Take a break and so something you’re good at.
A major cause for depression and anxiety can be commotion that we aren’t able to get away from. A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be anything from a 5-minute break to a month-long pause. Take the time that you need, and maybe indulge in something you know you’re good at!
Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem
8. Accept yourself, as well as others around you.
We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, and is a wonderful way to beat anxiety. Give yourself the time to visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn. Similarly, caring for others is just as important. Bringing yourself close to people who you call friends can keep your spirits up, and form a supportive bond for everyone involved!
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