You may have heard that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Each May, we are asked to spread awareness of mental illness and the many ways it impacts our lives. However, May can also be a time to check in with ourselves and ask whether we are getting all the help we need. When we prioritize mental health in ourselves, we become better advocates for our communities.
Here are some mental health tips and strategies to help you make the most of May!
1. Reach out to friends and family.
As COVID-19 social distancing restrictions ease and more people become vaccinated, it is becoming possible to reconnect with friends and family you may not have seen in a year! It has been proven that a strong social support network improves mental health outcomes — in other words, maintaining your relationships with friends and family helps you identify all the people who will be in your corner when life gets tough (and vice-versa). That's a great feeling!
2. Work on improving your sleep.
Getting good sleep is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, and it starts with maintaining healthy habits around our sleeping routines. This can include turning off all devices like cellphones, laptops and tablets for an hour before bedtime, following a consistent sleep schedule every day and creating a comfortable, calming vibe in the bedroom that helps you relax and wind down before falling asleep. Ideal sleep schedules and bedtime routines can vary between each person, but it's worth it to experiment and figure out what works the best for you.
3. Learn how to ask your boss for a mental health day.
Once in a while, we all need an extra day away from work stress to focus on our mental health needs. In more and more workplaces, asking for a mental health day is as simple as asking for a regular sick day. Be sure to know your rights in your state and in your own workplace. You can share whatever information you are comfortable with when you ask, but for many bosses, just requesting a personal day is enough. When your request is approved, start thinking of how you'll choose to spend your day off — depending on your emotional needs, you might need a relaxing day on the couch, a recuperative walk in nature or a long phone call with your mom to start feeling better.
4. Practice self-care in whatever ways feel most natural to you.
Self-care is different for everyone, but it is something we all need! It can take the form of exercise or pampering, journaling, meditation and mindfulness, creating art or enjoying nature. Some of our favorite self-care activities here at Cute But Crazy are subscribing to a new podcast, doing a yoga session, drinking a cup of tea or coffee, trying out a new recipe, going for a scenic bike ride and playing a musical instrument. What does self-care look like for you?
5. Remember, “You Are Not Alone.”
This May, our partners at NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) are working to spread the message that “You Are Not Alone.”
One of the worst parts of a mental illness is feeling like you have to suffer in silence. “You Are Not Alone” means that there are other people who have been through what you're going through. One in five adults in the U.S. will experience a mental illness in a given year, so breaking down the stigma and feeling free to talk about our own experiences can go a long way to helping the people around us know that they are not alone.
Most importantly, this means that help is out there for you if you need it. NAMI is a great resource to find the mental health resources you need to heal and thrive. Nobody should have to feel alone in their mental health journey.
Cute But Crazy Socks gives 1% of all product sales to support mental health through our partnership with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.