Mental Health America and their affiliate organizations have observed May as mental health awareness month since 1949, but we feel as though it is only in the past few years that we have all collectively turned and recognized its importance even more. The overall objective of Mental Health Awareness Month is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the country and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The World Health Organization also observes October 10 as global mental health awareness day.
Ayr Skin Care has a mission of promoting self care, and this includes self love and mental health. This last year, with isolation and varying levels of stress, have been difficult for all of us, but particularly for those that are on the edge of depression or other mental illnesses.
We thought for Mental Health Awareness Month that we would take a look at how to find time to keep yourself mentally healthy.
Stress and how we handle it
Everyone has to deal with stress. Some of us live in a state of mild stress all of the time, and some seem to be able to handle this better than others. There is no shame in that! We each have our threshold. When you feel like your stress levels have reached their peak, it might be time to take a quick break to reset back to a feeling of more balance.
While we’re on the topic of stress, remember that how you handle stress vs. how your brother, sister, mother or best friend handles stress should not matter. Somehow, we try to measure ourselves up against how others are able to handle difficult situations.
It is important to remember not to compare yourself to others, or to become overwhelmed when you think that you may not be handling your stress as well as others. Some people naturally handle emotional stress well, but suffer at work. Some people handle co-workers or their boss well, but lose it completely if one of their children is ill. We all do the best that we can, and the important thing is to take it easy with yourself if you can.
Sometimes we all just need a break!
Sometimes taking a mental health day, a day off that's focused on stress relief, is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just one day to detach yourself from the stressor (if possible)may be enough to help you feel better. One day, or even two, might not solve more serious issues, but a day off for your own mental well being can give you just enough time to come back with a healthier state of mind.
If you feel that you need more time than just a weekend, or a “sick day” from work, you might actually need to do a “staycation”. If this sort of stay-at-home break is what you have in mind, then there are some important tips that will help you really relax.
1. Prepping in advance, telling your boss, putting it on the calendar, will allow you to relax without interruptions, and to feel that you can actually take the time off of work.
2. Think in advance also about what you need to be able to relax. If you work on a computer, maybe you will decide to unplug from your computer and your devices during this down time.
3. Arrange for food delivery. If you are stressed out and need the full experience of getting away, check out local restaurants that can deliver, or make double dinners in advance and put them into your freezer to bring out during your staycation. Unless you really want to go out to a restaurant—which might be part of your idea of relaxing—getting groceries and food delivered is the right answer.
4. Decide if your idea of a staycation means staying literally at home in jammies, or if it involves other people or activities. If you are the outdoorsy type, staying inside may feel stifling. You might decide what you really need to do is surf, go for a walk, or go to the gym.
What if I can’t take time off?
It is possible that the idea of taking time off of work makes you more stressed out than you already are! This is probably when you need the mental health day the most! We suggest communication with your supervisor, or partner, to get the support that you need. It might be less trouble for others to help cover for you that you suspect.
If you can’t take time off right away, and are depressed, angry, upset or overwhelmed, here are a few tips until you can schedule that getaway or staycation:
- Try meditation. A few minutes a day can make you feel like you have taken a break
- Get a massage, facial or other one spa service for extra pampering
- Take a walk on the beach, go surfing, or just sit and listen to the waves
- Take a yoga class, group meditation class, or other activity with breathing.
- Get outside with a 30 minute walk or a 15 minute seat on a bench to feed the birds
- Read an engrossing book—reading allows our minds to explore new worlds, fantasies, or relax in ways that trick the mind into thinking that we are really gone
- Swap pedicures with a friend
- Spend time with a loving furry friend
Whatever you do to relax, we encourage you to do so. Mental health is something that needs to be discussed more than ever before.
If you feel that you are on the verge of losing yourself entirely, seek help immediately. Reach out, make a phone call, and remember that if no one that you know is available, there are always mental health hotlines to support you.*
Your mental health is very important to us. It is also important to the vitality of your entire physical body, including the largest organ in your body: your skin! When we are under stress, our bodies produce extra cortisol, and we end up with breakouts. Please take the time for yourself. You are never alone.
Help your family and friends do these practices, and remind them to also take it easy on themselves. Make sure that you contact by text or phone, friends that you have not spoken with in awhile. Let them know that they are on your mind. Remind them that they are loved, too, in all ways and always.
Bye for now!
*Mental Health Resources:
https://afsp.org/ - 800-273-8255 | Crisis Text Line: 741741
https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/Top-HelpLine-Resources - NAMI Directory of all mental and behavioral health helplines
If you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to answer you personally! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.