Happy May! It’s been a bustling past month, but we are back and I have finally completed my bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina. Now that my undergraduate journey is over, I realized I need to make my own mental health more of a priority, especially working at Carolina Assessment Services, and this blog is a great way to refresh and remind not only myself, but you guys why it’s so vital.
So what is the purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month? Well, it was established by the Mental Health America organization to increase the understanding that mental health and wellness plays a massive role in our lives, and to celebrate the recovery of those who have struggled with mental health.
But the term mental health is pretty broad. It can be confusing to grasp because it can mean a lot of different things. Mental health problems can range from struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder to having little to no confidence in yourself, but the ability to recognize both as having equal importance is a step towards understanding everyones mental health journey is going to be different, but valid.
Ultimately, mental health includes your psychological, social, and emotional wellbeing. Because it intertwines all three of these aspects, it can effect how you feel, react to situations, and the way you think. So, if you’re not taking care of your body and mind on a consistent basis, your mental health can take a hit, and in turn, your daily life.
But it is important to remember that mental health issues are inevitable. It’s completely normal to struggle. We all have bad days, pressure, emotional turmoil, and unfortunate circumstances. Some things are just out of our control. But one thing we can control, is the way in which we prioritize ourselves. I know putting yourself first can seem like a daunting task, especially amidst a busy schedule. This is why, I’m going to give you 5 easy ways in which you can improve your mental health, that won’t feel overwhelming.
5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Daily:
1. Talk about your feelings. If something is bothering you, you’ve had a bad day, or you’re just feeling down, talk about it. Call someone you can trust. And if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, writing your feelings down will have a similar effect. Bottling your emotions creates stress, resentment, and a disconnect from yourself and others. But expressing them loosens the grip your emotions hold over your happiness.
2. Stay active. This one can seem especially difficult with a busy schedule, but it doesn’t have to involve getting a gym membership if that’s not something you’re willing to do. It can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking your dog for 15 minutes, dancing around your house to music, stretching or doing floor exercises while watching TV, or having family playtime.
3. Nurture your relationships. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to stay connected or keep in touch with friends and family. But it’s important to remember that sending a singular text, or having one vulnerable conversation can go to the extra mile. Maintaining and cultivating relationships will give you good friends and in turn, good support. No one should struggle alone.
4. Check your thinking patterns. When we’re down on ourselves we tend to think negatively. For example, if I were to mess something up in a rush, I might think “I’m so stupid why did I do that?” When this happens it’s important I check myself and switch to a positive narrative. Instead, I could say “It’s okay, I was in a rush, I’ll take a deep breath and fix my mistake.” These type of corrections will help you better appreciate yourself.
5. Breathe. This is the simplest, yet one of the most effective ways you can ground and calm yourself in any situation. Just take a few minutes to take deep breaths, making your exhale twice as long as your inhale. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and signal that it’s time to calm down. It will help center the body by regulating your heart rate and fight-or-flight response.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and you’re able to practice implementing at least one into your life on a day to day basis. Remember, you deserve to be a priority and the state of your mental health is so very important. You are not alone in this journey, it is normal to struggle, but you have the ability to overcome. Feel free to share this blog with anyone who would find it insightful. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month readers, I’ll be writing again soon. Warmly, Lilly.
https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Health-Awareness-Month https://www.family-institute.org/sharing-our-expertise/50-ways-improve-mental-health https://www.sunstonecounselors.com/3-breathing-exercises-to-help-reduce-stress-and-anxiety/ https://www.kansashealthsystem.com/health-resources/turning-point/programs/resilience-toolbox/emotional-expression/why-is-emotional-expression-important#:~:text=Just%20by%20doing%20that%2C%20we,a%20lot%20more%20benefits%2C%20too.&text=When%20we%20fail%20to%20express,of%20events%20throughout%20our%20bodies.
This article was written by Lilly Hart, a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. She currently has her bachelor of arts degree in psychology, with a minor in counseling. She has a deep passion for mental health awareness and plans to further her career in graduate school. She is now the new Administrative Assistant and Community Outreach Coordinator at Carolina Assessment Services, LLC, and can’t wait to produce new and insightful content for our readers.
If there are any other topics you’d be interesting in learning about, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always appreciative of new ideas to delve into on the blog!