With wildflowers and spring in full bloom, it’s the perfect time to shake off the winter blues and shed what no longer serves you. A time that typically represents new beginnings and transformations, the spring season allows us to bloom into better versions of ourselves, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This symbolic period of new life could be the reason that the month of May has been deemed Mental Health Awareness Month.
In recent years, mental health has become something that the public is becoming more aware of and is slowly shedding the taboo that was once associated with it. Since 1949, May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month with the goal of making mental health something that everyone cares about. According to MentalHealth.gov, “mental health” is an umbrella term for our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Taking care of our mental health can also help determine how we handle stress, make daily choices and how we relate to and communicate with others. As part of a society that has long emphasized the need to constantly be on the move and be over-productive at all times, the rising awareness of mental health has brought to light many of the issues this kind of fast-paced world can cause on a person’s well-being. The population of people dealing with stress, anxiety and depression continues to grow and shows just how prevalent taking care of your mental health should be.
Some signs that one might be struggling with mental health can include eating or sleeping too much or too little, retreating from people or usual activities, having low energy, feelings of helplessness or experiencing severe mood swings, and the inability to perform daily tasks like getting ready in the mornings. Though signs are different from person to person, it’s imperative to be aware and be able to acknowledge when it’s time to take steps towards improving and preserving your mental health. One way to begin managing mental health can be implementing daily mindfulness activities and instilling a routine around them. A few examples include going for walks in nature, allowing yourself to take mini breaks throughout the day, avoiding doing too many tasks at once and even journal writing.
When a steady mindfulness routine is created, these activities can each become a sort of daily meditation and can be a way to begin the practice of “living aware.” Living aware, or the art of conscious living, requires developing a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and external environments without judgment. As this is not something that can just be flipped on overnight, using tools like practicing yoga or meditation can help harness the ability to slow down, focus on breath and learn to keep daily anxiety at bay. By utilizing these mindfulness activities and setting other healthy habits we can work towards the goal of conscious living, being able to simply observe the true nature of things without inserting your own emotions and bloom into the best version of yourself.