Focusing on mental health is important each day of the year, but in May, we pay special attention to how we can tune up our mental, physical, and emotional health. Check out our Mental Health Awareness Month resource guide and discover how to be kinder to yourself this year.
Ready to talk to someone? Finding a therapist who is a good fit for you and your family can feel like a daunting task. Here are some tips and tricks to consider when seeking a mental health professional.
1.) Ask yourself, “Who would I work best with?” Do factors like gender, age, culture, or shared identity matter to you? You can even feel empowered to ask someone, “How much experience do you have working with people from X background?”
2.) Tap into directories that correlate with your lived experience.
- American Psychological Association
- Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists
- National Eating Disorder Association
- National Center for PTSD – Veteran Focus
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Black Mental Health Alliance
- The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
- Latinx Therapy
- Drug Rehab USA (Texas)
If you belong to a faith community, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship may also recommend licensed professionals associated with your faith.
3.) Consider what you want to achieve by attending therapy and voice those goals to a professional. It is important that everyone involved be on the same page.
4.) Pay attention to your surroundings and get comfy! If you’re in person, does the office make you feel safe and secure? Maybe you’re seeing someone virtually. Do you feel like your therapist is totally present with you? If not, consider having a broader conversation or exploring additional options. Additionally, be sure to ask questions about insurance or out-of-pocket payment.
5.) Always familiarize yourself with red flags. As is true for most things in life, sometimes our first try at connecting with a licensed mental health professional isn’t our “forever” fit. Know that it is okay to adjust and move on until you find someone who meets your needs and provides support in a way that makes you feel seen and heard.
1.) Calm your mind with meditation. Meditation can reduce stress, and anxiety, and bring forth increased patience and resilience – all of which create a better connection between your brain and body.
2.) Move your body! Do you like to dance in your kitchen? How about yoga after work or a recreational sport? All of these things are good for your mental state and release “happy chemicals” in your brain.
3.) Going on walks is not just for pets. Take yourself on a stroll to break up your day and soak up the sunshine when it is available. Studies have found that even a 5-minute walk during your workday can decrease stress and increase happiness and productivity.
People who experience emotional wellness, experience fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back more quickly from life’s ups and downs. Learning how to cope with emotions and connecting them with our body and mind is a great way to keep our mental health in check.
1.) Sleep is not for the weak. Sleep is vital to your well-being and helps you focus, make good decisions, and improve your mood. Try limiting electronic use before bed, sleeping in a dark room, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
2.) Maintain social connections. Friendship looks different for everyone, but Scientists have discovered our connections to other people have effects on our physical and emotional health. Join groups with people who share interests, travel, or have routine hangout times with friends and loved ones.
3.) Don’t cope alone. When you experience grief or loss lean in and surround yourself with community when you’re ready. Consider additional support methods like talk therapy or support groups.
There is no right or wrong way to tackle your mental, physical, and emotional health, but it is certainly not worth ignoring. When you feel something may be a bit off – pay attention. Remember, if your vehicle needs an oil change you take it to the shop. You can do the same with your mental wellness. When you notice a change in yourself do a tune-up!