Spring is often referred to as a season for rejuvenation, rebirth and regrowth. Things like the snow melting, the sun shining and flowers blooming are all reminders that the previous season is behind us and a new one is beginning. However, what do you do when those reminders of change create feelings of anxiety, sadness and depression? Tell yourself: It’s OK.
May is Mental Health Awareness month and one of the most important reminders you can give yourself is that It’s OK to feel lonely, exhausted or uneasy – especially when it seems like the world around you including your friends and family are energetic, excited and comfortable in day-to-day activities. Mental health awareness aims to teach you how to deal with the feelings you are having and the strategies you can use to overcome these feelings before, during and after they arise.
One of the best tools you can utilize for taking ownership over anxiety or depression in order to live a more fulfilled life is self-care. Self-care is not always easy to do and it’s unique to each individual. Learning what refuels you through mental health issues can help you overcome the challenges that we all face, no matter the season.
What is Self-Care?
SELF-CARE IS : SELF-CARE IS NOT:
Knowing your limits Feeling guilty for saying “no”
Getting enough sleep Sleeping your day away
Proper nutrition Skipping meals or binge eating
Finding joy everyday Doing what makes other people happy
Mindfulness Ignoring Stressful or Difficult Situations
Loving yourself Negative Self Talk
Some ways to incorporate self-care into your day-to-day activities include:
- Make Self-Care Important
It can be really difficult to manage the demands of everyday life, but carving out time every day for self-care is vital for overcoming those feelings of anxiety, sadness or depression. Whether it’s going for a long walk, taking an extra 15 minutes of alone time in the morning or a quick phone call with someone you love; carving out and preserving that time for yourself will really make a difference in your day.
- Sleep & Eat Well
Adequate sleep and proper nutrition is well underrated for how effective it can be for positive mental health. A few ways to make sure your night is as restful as possible is to avoid caffeine and sugar before you go to bed, reduce stress and create a distraction-free bedroom environment (such as removing the television and turning off your cell phone). Additionally, foods such as fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, green leafy vegetables and broccoli can not only keep your body healthy but keep your mind active and alert.
- Get organized
Being organized helps your mind shift from focusing on tasks and projects to focusing on yourself. By keeping a planner or putting a calendar on the refrigerator, you can better manage your own self-care while still staying on top of the day-to-day activities that need to get done as well. Maintaining an area in your home for keys, purses and coats can also alleviate stress and disorganized thoughts, preparing you for a healthier start to your day.
- Adopt a pet
Owning a pet is well-known to reduce stress and feelings of anxiety. The unconditional love paired with the companionship of a pet can boost your daily moods and improve your mental health. The Washburn County Area Humane Society is a great resource for finding a lifelong companion. Visit www.wcahs.com to learn more.
- Just say no
The benefits of saying no include saving yourself from burnout, lessening your anxiety and easing your irritability. It can be difficult and we often times feel like we are letting our loved ones down but empowering yourself to prioritize self-care over obligations is vital to living a more fulfilled and healthy life. Talking to your loved ones about your feelings of guilt, stress or anxiety can also help them better understand why you may be saying no to certain events or activities.
Remember: It’s OK. You are not alone in your feelings. Practicing self-care, talking to others about your self-care and helping support friends and family in their self-care are all healthy and proactive ways to start overcoming feelings of anxiety, loneliness or depression. For more information on self-care for every season of life or mental health issues, please visit www.nami.org or utilize the many resources Washburn County offers.