May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Photo by Official on Unsplash

Mental health is a term that includes conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior. Conditions like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder fall into the mental health category. But it doesn’t have to always have to be negative. Healthy mental health practices like self-care are just as important.

How does mental health impact overall health?

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. “Mental illness has been shown to increase the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How common are mental illnesses?

According to the CDC

  • More than 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime
  • 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year
  • 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness
  • 1 in 25 American live with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression

The role self-care plays in mental health

Self-care is simply practicing personal healthy habits that are crucial to how you function as an individual. These habits will be different for everyone – some may choose to go for a run, some will snuggle with their pet. There is no right or wrong way to practice self-care, you just have to find what works best for you and your mental health. Though we all experience daily stressors, everyone experiences different levels and handles it differently, as well. Taking the time to decompress and practice self-care has many benefits, including greater focus, mood, and stress relief.

If you are feeling burnout, stress and unfocused, don’t leave let these feelings manifest! When your abilities become worn, your skills aren’t as sharp, you’re losing focus and sleep, which makes you even more stressed. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may want to focus your attention on some healthy self-care tips.

Try to take breaks in between your school or work day to grab a healthy snack, take a quick walk, or just to get your eyes off of that computer screen! Smart self-care habits like eating healthy and practicing mediatation can really help your stress management and can lead to increased energy and productivity levels.


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