May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of people of all ages. Now, more than ever, it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles, because that stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help.

So what exactly is mental health? Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

It’s important to understand that many health problems are common and they are totally okay, but help is always available. Individuals with mental health problems can get better!

So what are the most common types of mental health disorders?

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma-related disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders

What causes mental disorders?

  • Your genes and family history
  • Your life experiences, such as stress or history of abuse
  • Biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Brain injury
  • A mother’s exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals while pregnant
  • Use of drugs or alcohol
  • Serious medical conditions
  • Feeling lonely or isolated, having fewer friends

Here are a few life hacks or tips/tricks on how to take care of your mental health so you can be the best you!

Talk about your feelings!

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking about your feelings is not a sign of weakness! It is part of taking charge of your well being and doing what you can to stay healthy. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. It may feel awkward at first, but give it time! Normalize talking about your feelings.

Stay active!

Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, and overall feel better! Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy.

Eat well!

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel. Food can have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like other organs in your body. A healthy balanced diet could include:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Wholegrain cereals & bread
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Dairy products
  • Plenty of water

Ask for help!

None of us are superhuman. We all get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting to be too much for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your family and friends (or ME) may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Let’s not forget local services are always available to you as well! Doing things like joining a support group, or talking to a counselor are things are sure to help.

Do something you’re good at!

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means putting your all into it, and achieving something definitely boosts your self-esteem. Concentrating on a hobby like gardening or the crossword can help you forget your worries for a while and improve your mood.

Accept who you are!

Some of us make people laugh, some are good at painting, and others can cook the most delicious meals! Some of us share our lifestyle with people who live close to us, while others live very differently. We’re all very different, but it’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. You add something different to this world and you should own that! “You have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way.” – Lady Gaga

Volunteer!

When we volunteer to help others and contribute to the world, we tend to experience a “warm glow”. Volunteering is also likely to boost our sense of social connection, it’s a way to stay connected to others. It also helps us see the world from another angle. This can help to put our own problems in perspective. So why not share your skills more widely by volunteering for Hero or even a local charity that you are passionate about?!

And there you have it! 7 beneficial ways to take care of your mind by taking care of yourself!
If you would like to learn more information about Mental Awareness Month or how to take care of your mental health, please contact There Goes My Hero at 443-339-4376 or email us at charis.taylor@theregoesmyhero.org.