As many of you may know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is an extremely important time to focus on your own personal mental health and see how you can improve it. With this article, I want to give some tips that I use to try to improve my mental health and tips on how to be an ally to someone with mental health issues during this trying time.
I’ll start with tips that I have learned over the past couple of years and months that have helped me. Just because these tips help me doesn’t mean that they will work for everyone because everyone is different, and some people will realize they like certain things more than others.
The first thing that I have been doing is taking time for myself, and that does not always mean a face mask and manicure. I mean focusing on myself and figuring out what I need and what I don’t for my own self-care. Just being able to step away from situations and giving myself time to process things and figure out what is best for me.
Another thing that I have found extremely beneficial is journaling. I’m good at bottling everything up inside and then exploding eventually which I know is not healthy. So instead, I have tried to write down all my thoughts, if I ever feel upset, overwhelmed, or just want to vent. Then I can look back at it and see some relief and not keep it in all the time.
Something else that I have been actively trying to do (which is extremely hard for me) is showing myself self-love and being confident. I have realized that I need to love myself, respect myself, and treat myself the way that I treat others. I give so much love and kindness to others that I also need to give to myself. This has been the hardest thing to practice but I have noticed that I carry and present myself differently because of this. I have been trying to not care what others think about me, allowing myself to make mistakes and when I do figure out how best to fix it. I have realized that my appearance is not what makes me have value, it is my actions, my personality, and how I handle myself along with how I treat others.
I also wanted to share how to be an ally to someone who is struggling. These tips and ideas I have used, and people have also used on me when I was struggling. They have made both me and them very comfortable and have helped, but again everyone is different, and these may not work for all.
In my opinion, one of the most important things a person can do to help someone struggling is make them feel safe and comfortable. When you have conversations with friends that are struggling, make sure they feel like they are being heard and try to understand it to the best of your ability how they are feeling.
In addition, offering support and help is always a good idea. Justify their feelings and explain how these feelings are understandable and that there is nothing wrong with them for feeling the way they do. Encourage them by using positive feedback and show them how strong and brave they are for being able to talk about their struggles because that is the first step in working towards a healthier mental mindset.
Overall, in my opinion, the most important thing is to make the individual feel safe and heard.
I hope that these tips and ideas can possibly help you if you need them. Remember that it is not going to be perfect every day and there may be times you need to reach out for help. It does not make you weak to ask for help if you need it. It proves your strength and shows that you are taking the right actions to better your health. I hope that this helped you even just a little bit and if you are still reading this, you are stronger than you think, you are beautiful, you are brave, and you will be okay.