Healthy Living: Practicing self-care for National Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and experts say that one way to recognize the importance of mental health is to address your own wellness with self-care.

Posted: May 4, 2021 5:03 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and experts say that one way to recognize the importance of mental health is to address your own wellness with self-care.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, self-care is not a cure for any mental illness, but it can serve as a coping technique to help manage mild symptoms. 

Practicing self-care doesn't need to be an enormous effort. A process of trial and error to find what small acts work for you can help manage stress and lower your risk of illness, according to experts.

Here are some ideas to get you started with self care from the National Institute for Mental Health:

  • Make sure exercise is a part of your routine. Even taking a walk lasting 30 minutes or less regularly can help improve your well-being. 
  • Take a look at your diet, and make sure you are eating nutritiously. If possible, cut down on sugary drinks like soda and caffeinated drinks like coffee.
  • Don't underestimate the power of sleep! Decide on a regular bedtime and stick to it. Make sure to avoid blue light before bedtime by turning off the TV, your phone and other devices well ahead of time.
  • Make your daily chores and responsibilities more manageable with goal setting. Decide what you can do now and what can wait without overburdening yourself. At the end of the day, focus on what you accomplished instead of what you didn't.
  • Stay connected with friends and family. Meeting face to face can do wonders if you are vaccinated or can otherwise meet safely during the pandemic. Video chats are also a great way to stay social and get emotional support.
  • Practice gratitude by writing down a list of everyday things you are grateful for, no matter how small.

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