As some of you know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month…

And while we ought to encourage a dialogue about mental health year around, this campaign is a wonderful opportunity to bring these conversations to the forefront. It isn’t easy to talk about our own struggles with mental health, yet we are all impacted on a personal level. Whether it’s our own mental health challenges or the challenges experienced by those around us.

Why do we need to bring these conversations into the light?

We live in a fast paced culture that does not always promote the idea of slowing down. So many of us are glued to our phones, answering emails at midnight, functioning on minimal sleep, checking off the to-do lists, sitting in traffic, grabbing fast food on the go…

It’s no wonder that anxiety disorders, one the most common mental health diagnoses, are at an all time high. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America indicates anxiety disorders affect nearly 40 million adults in the United States. When it comes to eating disorders, it is estimated that nearly 8 million Americans have some type of eating disorder.

In order to take care of our physical health we must also attend to our mental health. The two are inextricably connected – particularly when it comes to addressing our issues with food and weight. And let’s be honest…when we attend to our emotional needs and how well we are taking care ourselves there is often room for improvement. So rarely do we have this self-care thing down “perfectly”.

Sometimes it’s our sleep that’s compromised or we haven’t meaningfully connected to anyone in awhile. Maybe it’s that our downtime solely consists of being in front of a screen and what we really need is some fresh air. These are all simple examples, yet they are all part of building a bigger picture of mental wellness. Fueling our bodies with proper nutrition, staying connected, feeling a part of a community, getting out in nature. These are all ways to take care of ourselves and stay aware of our mental health – 365 days a year.

Ending the stigma starts with each and everyone of us. Take pride in caring for yourself and lead by example. Happy May 1st everyone!

 

Shine Bright!