Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month and that Thursday, May 10th is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day? You may see people wearing green ribbons or green shirts this week in support of children’s and youth mental health and to encourage the development of positive mental health practices. This week, many schools in the division will be promoting the importance of being healthy not just in our bodies, but in our minds. This means doing things to help ourselves and others feel better when we are stressed, sad, worried, angry, or scared. In addition, it is important for children and adults to recognize the impact of healthy lifestyle practices and good self-care such as nutritious eating habits, consistent exercise, healthy sleep patterns and effective daily stress management on the development of positive mental health.
If you are looking for ways to promote healthy coping skills within your daily life on Thursday, May 10 and beyond see below for a list of some strategies:
- Deep Breathing: Breath in through your nose for 3 seconds, hold the breath for 3 seconds and breathe out for 3 seconds. Do this 5 times or until you start to feel better. Breathing deeply helps calm your body down and gives you time to figure out how to react to what is going on around you.
- Listening to music: Choose music or a song that has a positive message and makes you feel happy.
- Guided Imagery: Think of the place where you are the happiest, like your bedroom, your grandmother’s house, a beach, your classroom at school or wherever you are the happiest. Close your eyes and imagine that you are there. Think about what you see, what you hear, what you smell, and who is with you. Imagining a happy place helps you feel better when you cannot change your surroundings.
- Taking a Break: Walk away from what is upsetting you and be by yourself for a few minutes until you start to feel calmer. Taking a break for yourself helps you to feel more in control and removes you from people or events that may be upsetting you.
- Talking to someone who cares about you: Talking to someone who cares about you helps you feel understood and supported, and they may be able to help you solve your problem. Think of people you can talk to at home, at school, and in the neighborhood. Don’t keep it to yourself when you are feeling hurt, scared, sad, or angry.
- Seeking out positive friends: Take the time to think about which of your friends helps you to be the best that you can be. If you are upset, who is the friend that you can count on to help you feel better and to help you make good decisions?
- Journaling: Keeping a special journal or a diary in which you can write out your thoughts and feelings can be helpful for many students. When people are journaling they are able to express their thoughts and feelings. Some people like to journal on their own, while others like to put their thoughts on paper and then share it with others such as friends, teachers, or a counselor. Think about starting a journal for writing down your own thoughts and feelings.
For questions, ideas, etc. please see our HCPS mental health experts (School Counselors, School Psychologists, and School Social Workers).