It is the month of May and while many events occur in this month, one to be highlighted is Mental Health Awareness. Did you know that 19% of adults are experiencing a mental illness? That is equivalent to over 47 million Americans! (Mental Health America, 2021) Taking care of your mental health is not optional but necessary for you to function on a day-to-day basis. Just as you go to a mechanic when your car needs fixing, a physical trainer to get your body back in shape, or to a hairstylist to make your hair look great…you should also seek help and support to keep your mind in a healthy emotional state. Recently the latest events in the news such as effects from the COVID -19 pandemic, racial injustices, and immigration or trafficking crimes are just a few events that have increased stress, grief, anger and anxiety. How can we deal with such negative and tense feelings? How do we make sure we are aware of our feelings and emotions so we can keep ourselves in a calm state? Avoiding or neglecting your mental health could lead to addictions, risky behaviors, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Here are some tips to help you get back on track while reducing sad, stressful, or anxious feelings:
- Talk It Out! Give your good friend, relative, or neighbor a call when feeling discouraged or frustrated. Sometimes just having a person listen while you process your thoughts gives you enough relief to feel better about things. If there is no one you trust to talk about your thoughts, please seek professional help such as a mental health counselor. AccessHealth offers therapy for individuals, couples, and families. You can see contact information below.
- Gratitude is the Attitude! When is the last time you stopped everything you were doing and just focused briefly on the good things going for you in life? Even when the biggest struggles and hardships are upon us, it is the little things such as the strength to get up another day, the ability to see, or have the brain power to do one task for the day that are worth being thankful about. Sometimes seeing the good again, helps the bad not feel so daunting.
- Be a Busy Bee!-A lot of depression and anxiety can develop from having too much down time and boredom. Do you have a talent or skill you could share with the community? Take up volunteering, start a new hobby or get back to doing an old hobby you let go of. When is the last time you did spring cleaning or house organizing for a garage sale? When we are accomplishing tasks, it can help us feel better about ourselves and our environments we are in.
- Remember to Have Fun-Do you enjoy going to the beach, reading, working out, or dancing? When is the last time you cooked your favorite meal or bought a new item for the house? Even in COVID times, you still have to enjoy yourself and doing something you like gets your spirits up and elevates your mood!
- Acknowledge How You Feel- It is okay to not be okay sometimes. We have to get rid of the traumatizing words we have heard during our lives about feeling down. You are not “crazy” and you don’t have to “suck it up” when you don’t feel yourself. Acknowledging that you feel differently is a big step in changing the mood. Assess what stress or negative things have happened lately. Have you been overworking? Are you lonely and miss family or friends? When you recognize how you feel, then you can act to redirect your mood by using a healthy coping skill.
- Self Care will Get You There!-Self Care means taking time to nurture your soul, treat yourself well, and do things that are purely for your happiness. It does not require you to spend money always. A candlelit bath, working in your garden, binging on a good Netflix movie, or treating yourself to a yummy snack and kicking your feet up, are all ways to engage in self-care. Of course, massages, pedicures, hikes, and trips to getaway from it all can also count as self-care. The most important thing about self-care is that it does not require someone else, is something you do because you want to, and build you up to feel more positive.
Mental health is as important as your physical health. Be aware of your feelings, do things that will encourage you to find joy, and take the time to know when you have reached your limits and need to relax. When you cannot manage those emotions on your own, it is okay to reach out to someone or some positive activity to get your spirits up. For more information on utilizing AccessHealth’s Behavioral Health Team, see the contact information below:
AccessHealth’s Behavioral Health services are available at our Richmond, Missouri City and Brookshire Centers. Services are offered in English and Spanish to children, teenagers, and adults. We accept Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance, as well as offer a sliding fee scale based on income and family size.