Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

We’re all familiar with some common health observances: February is American Heart Month, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and December 1 is World AIDS Day. But did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? It isn’t widely known, but it deserves just as much attention. Mental health is one’s thoughts, emotions, feelings, and actions and is key to how one interacts with others, handles stress, and acts in certain situations. Mental health is a part of our overall health, just as our diet is.

Mental wellness allows you to better deal with stress, while improving your ability to communicate, develop relationships, and enjoy life. So here are some strategies to help achieve good mental health wellness:

• Meditation and Relaxation: The belly breathing technique explained best in Breathing Exercises. Meditation is found to reduce stress, which can worsen many conditions.

• Sleep: Consistent sleep hours help a body recharge after a stressful day. Set a bedtime, and avoid drinking caffeine or eating within 2 hours of your chosen sleep hour.

• Nutrition: You are what you eat! The nutrients in your food are important to keep your body running smoothly, such as Vitamin B1, which helps maintain nerve health. You can find information about good diet habits in our nutrition column here and Kate’s post on local produce in season here.

• Exercise: It has been proven that 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic and/or weight exercise can improve mood and help improve your thinking and judgment skills. You can find some fitness tips in our fitness column here.

• Making time for yourself: Whether it is by reading, enjoying the company of a friend, or walking, allow yourself some time to relax every day.

hammockIf you are interested in viewing artwork from talented artists, visit NAEMI. It is an art exhibition held in Miami every May celebrating the art of those who are mentally ill. NAEMI helps promote display of art produced by those with disabilities and provides career training. You can find some striking and beautiful works of art at their website, such as that of Boris Lopez.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4