Five Ways to Support Your Mental Health
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and work towards bringing down the stigma and barriers that prevent people from seeking the care and support they need.
Anyone can experience mental health problems, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. In the United States, almost half of adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. This is why raising awareness and developing skills and tools to build resilience and support your mental health is essential.
Here are five ways you can start supporting your mental health.
Connect with Others
Engage in activities that bring you purpose
Take care of your body
Seek help when needed
Connect With Others
Social support can be a powerful tool in promoting mental health. It can help build a sense of belonging and self-worth and provide emotional support. Sometimes, building this can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Small and simple daily actions can strengthen or build on existing relationships or allow you to form new ones.
• Call a friend or family member while you are driving (using a hands-free device)
• Arrange a time to eat dinner as a family
• Invite a colleague to eat lunch with you
• Join a Facebook meet-up group for an activity you like to do
• Video-chat someone instead of watching TV
Engage in Activities That Bring You Purpose.
Engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities can mean different things to everyone. Overall, the idea is to do things that bring you joy and give you something to work towards or look forward to. For example, try one of the following.
• Engage in a work project that makes you feel useful
• Set a goal and create an achievable plan on how to accomplish it
• Volunteer, which can help enrich your life and make you happier
• Start a “passion project” that will motivate you outside of work
• Take a class or learn something new
Take Care of Your Body
Taking care of your body has many mental health benefits. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, fitness can improve brain health and cognitive function, reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, and improve sleep and overall quality of life.
Many individuals get overwhelmed by fitness, thinking that spending hours in a gym is the only way to reap the benefits. This, however, is far from the truth. Taking care of your body includes getting restful sleep, eating foods that fuel your brain, and moving your body in a way you enjoy.
Here are some simple ways you can take care of your body:
• Get 8+ hours of sleep each night
• Try stretching before bed
• Go for a walk around your neighborhood
• Eat a balanced diet that includes food that makes you feel good
• Set a goal to take more steps and track your progress
• Find a healthy, easy recipe you enjoy making
A certain amount of stress is normal in daily life and impossible to avoid altogether. However, long-term stress can increase the risk of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, substance use problems, sleep problems, pain, and muscle tension.
This is why it is essential to know how to manage our stress in healthy ways. There are many tools and resources for managing stress. For example, try breathing exercises, taking a short nature walk, journaling, or spending time with friends.
If you are feeling prolonged stress, try re-evaluating the root issues. For example, do you need to organize your tasks differently? Or do you need to delegate tasks to others? It can often help to seek support from family, friends, coworkers, or a support group or stress management program.
If feelings of stress continue, seek outside help from a healthcare professional or mental health specialist.
Seek Help When Needed
Seeking help is a sign of strength- not a weakness. If you feel overwhelmed or have lost control of your mental health, seek outside support.
In addition, outside guidance can help individuals gain valuable tools before they are in crisis. Anyone looking to strengthen and support their mental health and prepare for inevitable challenges in life can benefit from therapy. Therapy can:
• Improve communication and interpersonal skills
• Boost self-esteem
• Change self-defeating behaviors and habits
• Build greater decision-making skills
• Help manage stress more effectively
• Build more suitable expression and management of emotions
There are many different types of mental health treatment. Find one that works for you.
Pinnacle Health and Mental Health Care
Pinnacle works with many of the leading behavioral health practices to create innovative, data-driven approaches to mental health. Data analytics supports behavioral health practices in treating mental health issues.
By analyzing vast amounts of data, clinicians and researchers can identify patterns and trends in patient behaviors and outcomes, informing more personalized and effective treatment plans. Data analytics can also help identify high-risk patients, enabling clinicians to intervene early and prevent further deterioration.
Data analytics can inform policy decisions and resource allocation, leading to more efficient and effective mental health care delivery. Overall, data analytics provides powerful tools for improving the quality and accessibility of mental health care and is an essential component of modern behavioral health practices.
As we continue to recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s look out for one another and pave the way for a healthier and happier future. Together, we can make mental health care more accessible, effective, and inclusive.