Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? It’s a nationwide campaign aimed at raising awareness about mental health, combating associated stigmas, and providing support to those affected by mental illnesses.
Mental health illnesses encompass various behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, trauma, mood disorders, and eating disorders.
Every year, countless Americans are impacted by mental illness, with the National Alliance on Mental Illness reporting that one in every twenty-five U.S. adults experiences a mental illness.
Additionally, at least one in every six young individuals experiences a mental illness annually.
These statistics emphasize the significance of addressing mental health throughout all stages of life and its impact on overall well-being.
Neglected or long-term depression, for instance, can heighten the risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Engaging in mental self-care strategies is a vital and rewarding approach to cultivating your mental health. It entails allocating time to activities that nurture your emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
Whether it’s indulging in your favorite TV show, taking a refreshing bike ride, or preparing a special meal, incorporating self-care into your daily routine can effectively alleviate stress, alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, and foster overall well-being.
To help you embrace mental self-care strategies, we have outlined a few below:
Our bodies rely on food as fuel, and skipping meals can significantly affect their functioning.
When we skip meals, our bodies slow down to conserve energy, resulting in feelings of sluggishness. This can lead to overeating and choosing unhealthy foods to satisfy cravings.
Taking care of yourself involves staying hydrated and consuming a balanced diet that includes meals and snacks from the five food groups.
MyPlate is a helpful tool that offers simple guidelines to ensure you provide your body with the necessary nutrients to function optimally.
Fats play a vital role in a healthy diet, providing energy, aiding vitamin absorption, and keeping us warm. However, avoiding or limiting saturated fats is crucial for a healthy eating plan.
Saturated fats can be found in foods such as whole-fat dairy products, certain baked goods like donuts, cakes, and pastries, fried foods, and solid fats like coconut oil and palm oils.
Instead, choose healthier fats such as omega-3s, which are beneficial for brain function and heart health. Sources of omega-3s include salmon, tuna, flaxseed, edamame, avocados, walnuts, canola oil, and fortified foods like yogurt and milk.
They say waking up on the wrong side of the bed can affect your mood, and sleep is closely tied to mental and emotional well-being.
Insufficient sleep increases the risk of chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, as well as mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling irritable and impact your cognitive abilities throughout the day.
Practice self-care by establishing good sleep habits:
Activities such as yoga, meditation, and focused breathing exercises can help calm your mind and alleviate symptoms related to mental distress.
Engage in regular physical activity – research indicates that exercise is beneficial for both the mind and body.
Regular exercise not only reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety but also aids in weight management and lowers the risk of chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lastly, acknowledge the importance of seeking additional support when needed. If you feel overwhelmed or require assistance, consider reaching out to a trusted loved one and/or a professional. For information and resources, please visit https://www.mentalhealth.gov
Looking for ways to practice mental self-care strategies? Boost your mood with a tasty, colorful vegetable sauté recipe, or release some tension with these exercises:
Girls Health: Ways to Stretch
Boost Your Performance With Yoga
Eat Smart, Move More: Exercise Videos
Interested in learning more about meal planning or food safety? Our Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables program provides free, exciting workshops on a host of nutrition and wellness topics. Email our nutritionist, Alyssa Advincula for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other nutrition questions or inquires, e-mail our nutrition resource manager, Monique Marshall at: email@example.com.
Our mission is to nourish our neighbors in the fight against hunger.
We envision a community where all people have access to the food they need today, and the fundamental resources to build a better tomorrow.