Tips for Taking Care of our Mental Health

May is an exciting time of year. It marks the bittersweet end to another great school year, the start of summer vacation, and all the transitions in between. But with end-of-the-year tests and assignments wrapping up, it’s easy for students and staff to get overwhelmed.

This month, in honor of national Mental Health Month, we’re sharing five mental health management tips to support our students as they navigate stressful challenges. 

By applying the tips outlined below, you and your student can find ways to de-stress both in and outside of the classroom. 

What is mental health? 

Just like our physical health, our mental health requires proper and attentive care. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices!

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. By building a solid foundation of mental health knowledge and healthy coping mechanisms now, we can set ourselves up for success in adulthood. 

In the same way we form habits to benefit our physical health by staying hydrated or incorporating physical activity into our daily lives, mental health hygiene (daily activities that support and maintain mental health), can become just as much a habit of your day as brushing your teeth.

How can we manage our mental health? 
  1. Focus on what you can control.
    In life, there’s a lot we can’t predict. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and identify the things that are causing you stress. Now ask: How many of these items can I control or change?

  2. Take it one step at a time.
    You would never enter a marathon without training. In the same way we must be patient with ourselves. Tackling tasks like finishing your homework or doing chores might feel overwhelming, but by crossing off one item or equation on your list, you’re already making progress!

  3. Give yourself — and others — grace.

    We tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. Maybe you didn’t get the grade you expected, or maybe our team lost the game. When you’re feeling frustrated with yourself, remember that everyone experiences feelings like this and give yourself some grace. At the end of the day, you applied yourself, and your effort is what matters most. 

  4. Make it a habit!
    Including mental health in your daily routine can be as simple as giving yourself a moment to reflect throughout a hectic day. Many folks find it helpful to practice gratitude. Whether you write it down or use an iPhone note, reminding yourself of the things that make you happy will help your brain work through bad days and onto brighter ones!

Resources:

Find your local NAMI

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Navigate 360

How to Identify, Manage & Mitigate Students’ Mental Health Issues Before They Escalate

HELP4WV

HELP4WV’s Children’s Crisis and Referral Line is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to assist in finding the most appropriate and available treatment for an array of youth behavioral health needs. From parenting support to immediate crisis response, contact 1-844-HELP4WV to talk to a trained Helpline Specialist who can help you understand options and link you directly to treatment providers.

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