Mental Health: A person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.
My first blog post on mental health was published three years ago. I can't believe how fast time is going by.
You may recall that with that first piece I was extremely vulnerable and transparent and let you all in on my struggles with my mental health. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks along with some depression.
I picked the above picture for this post because although my anxiety is a weekly struggle for me I am still able to have days where I can laugh and be the happiest version of myself.
The last three years have been a roller coaster but the best learning experience. I suffered from an AWFUL panic attack about two years ago which landed me in the emergency department. No fun!
While it was scary at the moment I am so thankful it happened because it has forced me to listen to my body. I am so much more aware of physical symptoms that mean an attack are on the way and I can do what I need to before it leads to a full blown panic situation.
Opening up about my MH has been cathartic not only for myself but some of my readers. It has been the best feeling knowing that opening up helped others acknowledge their struggles and how to address. It also created a sense of community and normalization that mental illness is an extremely prevalent thing.
As the title mentions, May is mental health awareness month and I wanted to share a few tips with you that work for me in regards to taking care of myself.
1. It's okay to acknowledge and admit that you are not okay.
When you have the flu, a migraine or a nasty stomach bug you admit you don't feel well and take time to rest and get better. Same goes for you mental health and it is fine to take the time to feel better.
2. Be Vulnerable
Vulnerability is a scary thing because it opens the door for people to attack you and use the information you shared against you. The people who really care about you won't. Those who love you will want to help you. The people who would use it against you, well you need to re-evaluate if they should be in your life.
Being able to tell my friends "Hey! I'm so sorry we had plans tonight but I'm having a really rough day with my anxiety. Can we reschedule or do something else?" Is so refreshing you guys! It gives me a sense of support and actually helps me feel better that I can be honest and not put myself in a stressful situation.
3. Do things that make you happy...self care is the best!
This kind of ties in with number one but I've found that pouring my time into things I love has helped me tremendously. I LOVE to dance and always have and I make time for it at least twice a week now. I've started to cook at home again. I love trying to recipes! Planning girls nights..nothing is better than time with people who make you laugh and smile.
4. Your tribe matters
This kind of goes back to my earlier points, but your tribe and the people you surround yourself with is so important. Positive, uplifting people are good for your soul and you'll see a huge difference in life when you are intentional about who you're around.
I think it is pretty obvious that mental health is something I'm extremely passionate about and I find so much joy sharing my own story and hearing others.
I encourage you to take some time not only this month , but always to learn more about mental health. 1 in 5 people in the US are living with a mental illness and you have the power to be an advocate and supporter to someone in your community. The more we talk about it the more we normalized it becomes and we can help more people.