Forgive me for coming at you late today. In fact, with all the sorrow and shock going on in the world right now following the tragedy in Las Vegas and just being a little busier than usual, I didn’t intend on posting today.
But here I am.
If you didn’t already know, this week has been Mental Illness Awareness Week and today is National Depression Screening Day. Last year I wrote about my own experience with anxiety and depression , and I’ve also shared some of the ways taking an antidepressant and going to regular therapy have helped me in the last year.
To further the dialogue and encourage others who may be struggling, I thought I’d offer a few suggestions on how to care for yourself and your loved ones today (and every day).
5 Things You Can Do On National Depression Screening Day
1. The obvious one…Get Screened
If you’ve felt sad, anxious, angry, or hopeless for an extended period of time and it’s begun affecting your quality of life, then it’s entirely possible you may suffer from mild depression or another mood disorder. Screenings are available online, and your family doctor can refer you to a mental health professional if you are concerned. Likewise, encourage your loved ones to seek help if you notice a difference in their mood, eating or social habits, etc.
2. Treat yourself to some special self-care
You already know how important I think self-care is. Whether you take a solo trip somewhere, call in to work for a “mental health day,” or schedule a much-needed massage or spa day, taking time to nurture yourself can impact your mood. And, please, don’t make it a one-time deal. There are easy, inexpensive ways to fit “everyday self-care” into your routine.
You may have seen my post on Instagram, but let me remind you again: it’s important to listen. I’m notorious for interrupting and interjecting my own thoughts into conversations—and I anticipate what others are trying to say, often finishing their sentences—so I know that many of us could be better listeners. Reach out to a friend who’s experiencing a struggle, and simply offer a silent, nonjudgmental ear. If your spouse, child, or other loved one has something on his/her mind, stop whatever chore or mindless activity you may be doing, and listen. We all have a story, and sometimes we miss important warning signs if we don’t listen carefully.
4. Try a new exercise class or a new-to-you healthy meal
It’s well understood that physical health impacts mental health and vice versa. Running or doing just 15-20 minutes of some other physical activity can produce a legitimate endorphin high, and it may be just the thing you need to pull yourself out of a funk. Don’t turn to sugary foods to ease your negative feelings; instead, incorporate healthy meals into your regular routine. Your body and mind will thank you.
If you’re a parent or teacher/school administrator, start an anti-bullying initiative. To others—does your employer have a crisis intervention program or hotline for employees? Why not talk to management and human resources about implementing one? Advocacy begins with individuals. When we’re fearless tackling difficult topics and vulnerable with the people we spend so much time with, that’s the first step to bringing about change.5 things to do on #nationaldepressionscreeningday #mentalhealth @nami_communicate Click To Tweet
Most of us know somebody who struggles with a mental illness, or perhaps we do ourselves, and there is always room to open the dialogue and improve resources for mental health awareness and wellness.
[linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud]
So tell me…
- Do you have anything to add to this list?
- Is mental health still taboo among your family/friends/colleagues, or is it something you’re able to discuss freely?