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10 Ways to Unlock Mental Health This May

Since 1949, May has been Mental Health Awareness Month. To do our part to spread good mental health education and resources, we’ve compiled this list of 10 ways you can prioritize your mental health in May. We’ve aimed to include a few tips that may not be familiar to readers to keep things interesting, like #7. These tips will help readers take charge of their mental health this May and every month. 

Let’s get started! 

  1. Declutter Your Environment

Cleaning up the home environment sends a message to oneself that how one lives matters. This has a positive effect on self-esteem. By taking care of oneself, feelings of being valued can rise. In addition to increasing self-esteem, tidying up allows one to focus on important things like family and career. Decluttering the environment has been shown to have positive benefits on one’s mental clarity.

2. Declutter Your Mind

Many people keep a running list of items in their mind. But keeping a mental to-do list can drain one’s energy. To avoid this, readers can write down their mental items, thereby releasing the need to hold them in mind.  When one declutters their mind, they’re able to be more focused and goal-directed, improving outcomes along with mental health. 

3. Get Better Sleep with the 3-2-1 Method 

As is well-known by most people, good sleep is a major contributor to mental health and wellness. Improving one’s sleep is often the most important thing a person can do for their mental health, including mood and memory. To get better sleep, the 3-2-1 method, popularized by Dan Go and backed by science, may be of benefit. The method goes like this: Stop eating 3 hours before bed, stop drinking fluids 2 hours before bed, and eliminate all screens 1 hour before bed. Eating too close to bedtime can cause one’s digestive system to remain active and lessen sleep. Drinking fluids close to bedtime can cause one to wake up and use the restroom, breaking sleep. Lastly, screen time affects one’s sleep rhythm, so people should opt for reading or journaling instead. 

4. Get Out in Nature 

Seeing green has been shown to improve mental health. So even a short walk at a local park can improve one’s mood and mental health. In fact, greenspaces (as they are called) are so important, that some recommend integrating them into buildings from the blueprint phase. A person can take charge of their mental health by getting out in nature and seeing more greenery. 

Why not visit a national park in the process? There are 424 national parks in the U.S., with options less than a few hours’ drive for most Americans. These are a great resource to improve one’s mental health.

5. Make a “Bucket List” and Accomplish One Item Right Away 

A “bucket list” is a list of one-off items that a person wants to accomplish or experience in their life. Examples include meeting a celebrity, going to a Chicago Bears game, visiting Costa Rica, and creating one’s own coffee mug by hand. Bucket lists help give one’s life direction, thereby improving mental health. By focusing on what one wants to experience, positivity is cultivated. Plus, experiences have a lasting impact on happiness in the form of memories. To take it a step further, a person can take immediate action on their bucket list. Gaining momentum by taking immediate action can propel one to successfully completing their bucket list. 

6. Look Within by Journaling Before Bed

To reconnect to the theme of Mental Health Awareness Month, we invite readers to look within via journaling, especially before bed. By developing a healthy bedtime ritual that includes journaling, readers can start to undo some of the anxiety that we all experience from time to time. Releasing anxious thoughts before bed can lower the time it takes to fall asleep.  Additionally, writing out a to-do list for the following day has been shown to lessen the amount of time it takes to fall asleep significantly. To get started, all that’s needed is a pen and a notebook!

7. Explore Your Creative Side 

In modern life, it’s easy to let things pile on and take away one’s “me time.” But life doesn’t have to be this way. By actively seeking out ways to be creative, one’s mental health can benefit hugely. Taking a pottery class, painting a picture, dancing at home, or learning a new instrument are all ways to tap into one’s creative side. This has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. To get started, readers can decide how they’d like to tap into their creative side, then block off time in their schedule to do it. 

8. Donate Old Clothes

Like our 1st tip, donating old clothes can bring a breath of fresh air into one’s life. By donating one’s old clothes, one’s space is decluttered and so is one’s mind. Also, donating items as an act of charity can produce a feeling of positivity and selflessness. Both are good for mental health. 

9. Look Within via Meditation

Through daily meditation practice, our readers can develop tools for introspection, compassion for self and others, and the release of negativity. While there are many types of meditation, we recommend mindfulness meditation. This is where one’s thoughts are observed yet not acted upon nor identified with. Mindfulness creates space between thoughts and actions, so one’s actions become healthier and more appropriate. Meditation has improved the mental health of millions of people, perhaps billions, throughout the last few thousand years. To benefit, seek mentorship in person or online and build to a minimum of 20 minutes per day. 

10. Practice Gratitude

Last on our list, though not last in importance, is gratitude. Practicing gratitude has been shown to have amazing mental health benefits. These include improving immediate happiness by 10% and reducing symptoms of depression by 35%. To get started, all that’s needed is a pen and paper. By listing items to be grateful for during a 5–10-minute interval, the muscle of gratitude begins to grow and bring benefits to one’s mental health. 

What to Do When Extra Help Is Needed

We hope these 10 ways to prioritize mental health this May will help our readers. And for those seeking something a little extra, Hopemark Health can help. We offer traditional therapies as well as novel treatments like Deep TMS and Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy. Patients come to us for first-class treatment for anxiety, severe and moderate depression, OCD, PTSD, and more. To get started, contact us to schedule an evaluation.

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1200 630 Taylor Carter
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Pioneers in Advanced Psychiatric Care
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