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May is for Mental Wellness! 3 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health

An Asian American woman is standing on the rooftop of a building. She is leaning back on the edge as the sun shines on her. She is smiling with her teeth.

May is for Mental Wellness! 3 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health

An Asian American woman is standing on the rooftop of a building. She is leaning back on the edge as the sun shines on her. She is smiling with her teeth.

As we step into May, we also step into Mental Health Awareness Month—a time dedicated to recognizing and prioritizing our mental well-being. This annual observance aims to raise awareness about mental health issues, reduce stigma, and promote the importance of self-care and seeking support. In the midst of our busy lives, taking time to focus on mental wellness is crucial for overall health and happiness.

What is Mental Health Awareness Month?

Mental Health Awareness Month, observed every May, was established to highlight the importance of mental health and to advocate for improved access to mental health resources and support. This month-long observance began in the United States in 1949 by Mental Health America (MHA) and has since grown into a global movement, encouraging open conversations about mental health challenges and the journey toward wellness. It serves as a reminder that mental health is just as important as physical health and that seeking help is a sign of strength.

3 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health

1) Prioritize Self-Care: 

A young African American woman is laying in her bed with a table in front of her. She is eating oatmeal as she smiles. On the table there is a croissant and a glass of orange juice.

Self-care is selfish but not thoughtless; it’s a vital component of maintaining good mental health. Unfortunately, the idea of making decisions that prioritize you and your needs is called “selfish” and branded negatively. This can make it difficult to do what you need to do to thrive or even be okay at all. Self-care not only enables us to take care of ourselves but also to give to others. It is how we remain connected with ourselves and with our priorities. Dedicate time each day to activities that nourish your mind and body. This could include practicing mindfulness or meditation, engaging in a hobby you love, taking a relaxing bath, going for a nature walk, or simply setting aside time to unwind without distractions. By prioritizing self-care, you replenish your energy reserves and build resilience against stress.

Always begin with the basics and make them a routine. Our bodies require rest, food, movement, and hydration, yet how often do you get so busy that you don’t eat a proper meal, forget to drink your water, and don’t get enough sleep? How can you schedule your life so that you are able to meet these needs? Every other act of self-care is built upon the basic foundation of keeping yourself alive. Do you need to adjust your sleep hygiene routine to facilitate more/better rest? When do you make time to grocery shop, cook, and meal prep in your week? Is your current routine providing you with three meals per day plus snacks, or do you need to rearrange some things so that you always have an option to eat when you are hungry? You can set alarms on your phone, utilize a big calendar so you can see everything at a glance, bring a planner with you wherever you go, or any other organizational system that works for your lifestyle.

Your mental health and physical health are deeply interconnected. It’s hard to feel positive and motivated when you don’t meet your basic needs. Similarly, it can be hard to meet your basic needs when you are struggling. This is why it is so important to make room for things that help you relax, bring you peace, joy, and inspire you. Too often, we feel that setting aside time for our pleasure is “over-indulgent” or a “luxury” when it’s a necessary form of self-care. If you have difficulty giving yourself permission to participate in your hobbies or take time alone to focus on yourself in any way, you are not alone. You may say affirmations to yourself, such as, “My mental wellness is important,” or, “I am deserving of self-care.”

When you feel yourself resisting self-care, ask yourself how you would feel if a loved one came to you and told you that they don’t have time to look after themselves. If they said that their wellness was their lowest priority, if they told you everyone else deserved care before they could have theirs, would you agree? We can take on so much responsibility in our lives that we lose sight of how to show up for ourselves. We revoke permission to stumble, struggle, and need space, rest, and support.

You may choose to attend counseling or therapy as part of your self-care routine. Lowering anxiety and facilitating happiness and relaxation are paramount to being resilient and flexible about the challenges that can come your way in life. You may find yourself with questions about potential diagnoses or struggles that have been weighing on you and preventing your self-care. Rather than diagnosing yourself through social media, let it be a tool to give you some ideas to inquire about and a way to remind yourself that you are not alone in any struggle you may encounter. Connect with others using the platform(s) of your choosing, but make sure you have qualified, personalized support as well.

2) Connect with Others: 

Two Asian American women are having lunch with each other. They are both smiling and laughing. They are sitting across from each other.

Human connection is fundamental to our well-being. Take the opportunity this month to reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for meaningful conversations. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with trusted individuals can provide comfort and perspective. If you’re feeling isolated, consider joining a support group, attending community events, or volunteering. Building a support network strengthens your sense of belonging and fosters emotional stability.

In the same way, you value being there for others; others value being there for you. It is through communities that we thrive. Everyone has different strengths and perspectives; this is how we collaborate to care for one another. Sometimes, when our mental health is low, we begin to worry that we don’t have anything to offer to other people. The urge to isolate then follows, and in our isolation, we feel further disconnected from friendship, cooperation, our families, our community, and so on. The more we struggle, the more we resist reaching out for help and connection.

Often, we worry that our troubles are “too much” for other people. A great way to overcome this obstacle is to practice bids for support and become comfortable with rejection. All of us have boundaries. Some are constant; some might depend on the day. In some cases, we don’t realize that something is a boundary until we encounter it. Practice asking the people in your life, “I am struggling with x; do you have space to hear about that right now?” Give your loved ones permission to do the same for you. Once everyone feels safe saying no, you will all know that you can ask for help and receive an honest response. You will also learn your loved ones’ constant boundaries in the process. Some people will be okay to hear about topics that will cause others harm. You will also learn about your boundaries and sore subjects, which you can take to therapy and work through. Many of our patients come to their Woodland Hills anxiety therapy sessions with pain points. You can attend in-person or online anxiety therapy as it works for you; as long as you are connecting with a mental health care provider, you are attending therapy and taking self-supportive steps.

Beyond communication about our emotions, human connection is also about just being together and having a good time. Joining clubs or teams is a great way to meet people who like the same things you do. Having a place to go where everyone is enjoying the activity is a great way to bolster your overall wellness and feelings of being seen and understood. These activities may be in-person, online, or a combination of the two. The sense of community fostered through common interests, trying new things together, and cheering each other on is a great and a strong way to bolster your sense of belonging with other people.

When we develop relationships with other people, we begin to see that we really are struggling together. Everyday stressors such as relationships, work and financial pressure, death and loss, illness, people-pleasing, and feeling over-scheduled can connect people from many walks of life and create opportunities for solidarity and support.

3) Establish Healthy Habits: 

A young American woman is laying on top of her bed. She has her notebook open as she writes in it.

Your daily habits can significantly impact your mental health. Aim to incorporate regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep into your routine. Exercise releases endorphins that boost mood, while a nutritious diet and quality sleep contribute to overall well-being. Additionally, be mindful of substance use, as excessive alcohol or drug consumption can worsen mental health symptoms. By prioritizing these healthy habits, you empower yourself to better manage stress and maintain emotional equilibrium. Ensure that one of your healthy habits is to be flexible and forgiving; you won’t always get enough sleep, and you will need to rest if you are run down or injured. You will still have a life to live, with events that come with cake, pizza, or other foods that are made for joy more than nutritional density. Let yourself experience life, and don’t be hard on yourself when something is outside your regular routine once in a while.

Exercise is about what works for your body. Depending on your ability, past history of injuries, relationship with your body and exercise, and more, you may opt for a way of moving that is different from what other people in your life might enjoy. The key is to find something that works for you. The first reason why you should listen to your own body when determining how to exercise is that you are more likely to do something you enjoy. The second reason is that exercise is not supposed to be a punishment; if you feel like you are retaliating against yourself for something you ate or the way your body naturally is, that is not self-care.

Balanced nutrition is also individual. Depending on your income, the foods offered in your neighborhood, your food allergies and sensitivities, your culture, your past history with nourishing yourself, and more, meal prep might look different for you than others. Focus on nutrients from whole foods and when and where you can because vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients keep our bodies going. Listen to your body when it tells you that you are hungry or that you are full. Both cues are important. Your body is also really good at telling you what it wants if you can listen to it without fear that it might ask for pizza today. When you have a trusting relationship with hunger and cravings, you learn that your body will also crave spinach, apples, nuts, and other nutrient-dense foods if you let it. Deprivation doesn’t create health; it intercepts natural signals from our bodies that carry information about what is needed. Eat in a way that allows you to live your life. Forgoing meals with friends and family, because you’re afraid of straying from a rigid set of food rules, is ignoring the cultural impact of getting together to connect over food and drink that has united humans for centuries.

It might seem redundant, but setting aside time and energy to care for your mental health is as beneficial as investing in your physical health. Your mental health routine should be as important as any other routine you keep to feel strong and resilient. Being aware of your mental health and checking in with yourself is a healthy habit to build and practice. Our clients who see us for anxiety therapy in Woodland Hills are able to develop skills and utilize tools that help them navigate their daily lives between sessions. The goal is to expand your emotional regulation abilities by healing past trauma, adjusting behaviors and behavioral responses to incidents, building ingself-confidence, and growing your communication skills. In the same way, you want to drink enough water, move your body, nourish yourself, and get enough sleep, you want to aim for exposure to positivity and happiness, reminders that you are safe in your surroundings, and mental breaks. Schedule time to connect with your therapist, your loved ones, and yourself. Create and uphold boundaries to protect your emotional regulation, time, and values. Revisit your mental health plan regularly and/or when you feel that you’re getting a little bit off track.

A young woman is in a yoga class among 3 other women. She is stretching as she reaches for her feet.

Everybody needs mental health support. Therapists have therapists; even if you know techniques and theory, human connection, validation, and support are invaluable when it comes to navigating life’s ups and downs. As an anxiety counselor in Woodland Hills, CA, I know this to be true. Increasing awareness and reducing the stigma about mental health has led to a lot of improvements in the way we as a society deal with mental wellness, but we’re not all the way there yet. If you worry about what others will think, say, or do in response to you advocating for your mental health, that is natural. Don’t let it stop you from reaching out for support.

Anxiety Therapy at Embracing You Therapy

Mental health is just as important as our physical health. Seeking therapy for your anxiety, relationship issues, and overall your mental health wellbeing is part of your self-care. 

When you seek Anxiety Therapy in our Woodland Hills office, you will gain insight coupled with practice coping skills based on the teachings of CBT and mindfulness theories to better manage anxiety and stress, respond to daily triggers more maturely, and make value-based decisions when it comes you personal and work life.Contact us today for your complimentary 20-minute phone consultation with our Admin Team today!

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