by Deanna Eder, Director of Marketing & Development, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, let us join the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.
Let’s help to fight stigma, provide support, learn to take time for ourselves, seek professional help when needed, and check in on family, friends and neighbors.
The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never imagined, and many of us struggled with our mental health. Throughout, people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time.
Remember, working on your mental health and finding tools to help takes time. By focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.
Consider taking a mental health screening. There are several online resources including one with West Yavapai Guidance Clinic, a local behavioral health provider.
Here are a few tips for taking care of yourself:
Accept yourself as you are
Try your best to accept the person you are and where you are in life right now.
Focus on the basics
Focus on steps to ensure you are living a healthy lifestyle. For example: showering, eating healthy foods, drinking water, moving your body, decreasing clutter in your life, keeping your living environment clean and orderly, getting good sleep, soaking up sunshine (safely), taking five minutes to do some deep breathing and reaching out to have a conversations with a friend or family member.
Find what makes you happy
Find things you can do to make you feel accomplished, happy. For example: music, art, a good book, a walk outdoors, gardening, cooking or a little road trip.
Take a few slow, deep breaths, focus on each of your senses and try to be fully present in whatever you are doing.
Make small goals
Be patient, focus on small daily tasks, set small goals you want to accomplish for yourself.
Sometimes the only way to increase self-care is to lessen the amount of time or energy you are giving away to others.
Remember you are not alone
Everyone struggles from time to time, try not to get down on yourself. Ask your friends or family to help when you need to take some time for your mental health.
It is possible to find balance between life’s ups and downs and continue to cope with challenges brought on by life and the pandemic. We can be reached at www.wygc.org