Throughout May, you might notice or already have noticed, companies highlighting Mental Health Awareness month through promotions like discounted mindfulness apps or social media breaks. L.L. Bean, for example, has wiped clean its Instagram feed and will not be posting again until June, encouraging its followers to go offline for mental health wellness. Cynically or maybe truthfully, these campaigns are marketing ploys if not direct sales techniques. But even though they’re being used to promote businesses, the messages have merit, as well.
As a society, if we talk about mental health, we tend to do so in terms of crisis. However, just like with physical health, mental health is best when preventative measures and healthy maintenance are a part of our every day. Regular exercise, mindfulness, decreased screen time and other similar actions have all shown to help with individual mental health. That’s not to say that a 30 minute walk will stave off depression or that an app can substitute for treatment. These things can, however, help us to be more in tune with our mental wellbeing and less likely to ignore internal warning signs.
As May winds down, take the time to think about your own mental health wellness. What do you do to care for yourself? If it’s physical activity, is it more likely to be consistent in the summer? If yes, what’s your winter plan? Are you more likely to take time for your well being when you aren’t stressed? How can you change that? And, is your mental health self care also self care for your physical health? Practices that sacrifice one aspect of health in favor of the other aren’t actually self care.
May might be a month of gestures from businesses in the U.S., but for you, it can be an opportunity for improved, ongoing mental wellbeing.