Every year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. In May, NAMI joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.
In the U.S., vaccines are now readily available and, in many states, restrictions easing. While it appears that life is returning to what we expect pre-pandemic, some people are still experiencing a roller coaster of feelings.
Common signs of mental illness in adults and teenagers include:
- An excessive amount of worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Difficulty concentrating and learning
- Ongoing feelings of annoyance or anger
- Avoiding friends and social events
- Inability to relate to other people
- Fatigue and a lack of energy
- Eating habits changes — an increased appetite or lack of appetite
- Difficulty managing everyday stress
- Substances overuse or abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
Everyday Mental Health Tips
While nothing can replace consulting a licensed mental health professional, there are small ways to increase a more positive outlook. Here are a few small but impactful ways to improve your mental health every day:
Take a Look at Your Diet and Sleep Needs
Our diet affects the way we interact with others and feel about ourselves and the world around us. Getting enough sleep helps refreshed and confident to take on daily challenges.
There was a time where people felt taking care of themselves as an act of selfishness. Today, we realize self-care is an authentic way to combat the feeling of being overwhelmed or depressed. Make time with yourself a priority. Schedule a visit to the salon, have dinner with a friend, or talk a nature walk.
Participate in Activities
Whether playing an instrument, finding a new hobby, walking your pet, going outside for a brisk walk, or having a great conversation with a loved one, spend some time with yourself and your family in ways that make you feel good.
Disconnect from Digital
Establish boundaries with social media. Disconnect from the constant notifications, texts, D.M.s, constantly checking platforms, and logging in.
Reaching out to others is a tangible real-world connection to be made. Volunteering gives us the chance to move outside ourselves and our problems. Churches and non-profits are always looking for volunteers, and you can also visit Volunteer Match to find the perfect organization for your talents.
If you find yourself struggling with depression, do not hesitate to seek help from a licensed mental health professional. Reaching out to a professional is a sign of strength, not of weakness.
Just as it requires ongoing thought and effort to maintain physical health, it is the same with our mental health.