Hey y'all, it's Sabine Maxine Lopez (they/she). If you don't already know, I'm the Founder of A Tribe Called Queer. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I wanted to provide a few tips for improving your mental health. For the record, I am not a professional therapist nor do I work in the mental health field, however I have struggles myself and share these tips because they're things that have worked for me.
Here are my 10 Self-Care tips for improving your mental health:
No is a complete sentence. Say no to things you don't have capacity for. Say no to people you don't really vibe with. Say no when you feel your worth isn't being respected. Say no because you want to say no. Say no to YOURSELF when YOU are pushing yourself beyond your limits. The word NO is powerful and it is time to reclaim that power! Try it. I promise you won't regret it.
2) Make A Playlist
Music is a very important tool in helping ease mental health struggles. Making playlists (or mixtapes back in the day) is something I personally rely on. Whether it's a playlist to make you dance, help you cry when you need a release, allows you to sing at the top of your lungs, or calms you down when feeling stressed. Music has the ability to heal your spirit in a myriad of ways.
3) Unplug From Your Devices
I know, I know! Everyone says unplugging from your devices is blah blah blah... I get it. You've heard it before. I'm here to reiterate that this actually fucking works! Remove social media from your phone, iPad, computer. Turn your phone off when you're working or studying. Turn on 'do not disturb' for a specific time period of time. Remove those distracting notifications. Social media can cause more harm than good these days. So, I highly recommend doing a cleanse for a while. It can be 2 days, 5 days, a week, 2 weeks or a month. Just try it and see how much your mood has improved.
4) Talk To A Therapist
Therapy can be a literal life saver. In my opinion, it is one of the best ways to heal and work through much of life's trauma. Sometimes, we don't even realize what WAS trauma. It really does take a professional to help you see things clearly. Also, it's important to find a therapist that works best with you and what your goals are. There are different types of therapy styles, so finding the right person can take some time. Don't give up!
If you need help finding a low cost or free therapist, you can visit our Resource Page for links in the very near future.
5) Find A Support System
Asking for help can be one of the hardest things in the world. However, your loved ones will be there if you ask for their help. That can mean, texting your close friend and asking if they have the capacity to come sit with you, cry with you, or watch a movie. Asking a family member (chosen or blood) if they are able to bring you some food that could last a few days. Join a free virtual support group for whatever it is you need. Sometimes being in community and knowing you're not alone is incredibly helpful. Accept an invitation to an event or group activity. If you're like me, you may turn down opportunities to be around other people for various reasons. But when you do actually say yes, you can be left surprised by how much you enjoy yourself!
6) Create Some Art
Whether you think you are "good" at creating art or not, I challenge you to do it anyways. Art is a great way to work through depression, anxiety and stress. Go sit in a park and sketch what you see. Take a painting class on youtube. Try your hand at embroidery, which is super meditative. Take yourself on a field trip where you go and photograph things you see. You don't have to be "good" at something to do it. So go for it!
7) Have A Bed Day
My wife and I have made it a habit to request a "bed day" when we need it. This means, staying in bed, doing nothing, ordering food, and napping. Sometimes you just need a day to do nothing.
8) Spend Time With Nature
Go for a hike! Find a hiking trail where you can walk outside, be amongst the trees, absorb the sunshine, listen to the birds. Take up gardening! If you don't have a yard or outdoor space, you can start with small pots inside your apartment. It doesn't have to be huge or elaborate. Just spend some time with your hands in the soil. There is something about this that is incredibly calming. Try some grounding/earthing! Grounding is a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth. This can look like walking barefoot or lying on the ground.
9) Write It Out
Journaling is a great way to get out all of your anxious thoughts. So grab a pen and paper and write it all out. It doesn't have to make sense, use proper grammar or spelling, just get your thoughts out of your mind. People do this in many different ways. You can set a timer every morning or evening and write. You can look up some prompts to help you get started.
10) Move That Body
Take yourself on a walk. Find a free yoga class on youtube. Do some stretches in your living room. Go for a swim or take some boxing classes at your local community center. Try the 'Just Dance' video game at home. This is a really fun way to move your body! There are a plethora of ways you can move your body that will not only help your body, but will help your mind.
I hope you can try some of these tips and that they provide some comfort to you.
Let us know if you try any of these tips and how they work for you! Subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss any more Virtual Offerings.