May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now, with the extra challenges we are facing due to self-quarantining and social distancing it is especially important to remember to take good care of your mental health. Much like our dental and physical health, our mental health should not be neglected. As we continue to face social distancing and self-quarantining, we can become isolated from our support network and this can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression. It is very important to remember to take good care of yourself so that these feelings do not become overwhelming. Self-care does not mean that you are selfish. It is a way to show that you care about those around you by investing time in yourself to stay emotionally healthy. When we are healthy, we function better and can help those around us.
Staying healthy includes eating well, exercising and getting adequate sleep. It’s important to try to maintain a schedule and incorporate some exercise into your day. Taking a walk in your neighborhood, riding a bike or jogging are good ways to get some exercise and fresh air which can help with lifting depression or decrease anxious feelings. Self-care also involves staying in touch with others which helps us feel connected to the world. Through our virtual Open Office Fridays and Virtual Mentor/Mentee events you can stay connected to Ready for Life until we can safely return to our normal office hours. Although we cannot see our friends or loved ones face to face we can reach out to them by phone, text messages, and through social media. By reaching out we can help to maintain the connection that we need as human beings.
Remember to devote some time each day to taking care of your mind, body, and spirit. Some of the ways you can take care of your mind and spirit is by journaling, practicing gratitude, enjoying walks in nature, praying, listening to music or creating art. Starting with ten minutes a day you may find that you will be able to develop a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
Please continue to stay safe and healthy!! You are important and you matter!
Cecelia A. Bushery, MA, LMHC
If you are in crisis, please remember that the following services are available to speak or text with you 24/7:
NAMI 24/7 Crisis Text Line: Text “NAMI” TO 741741
Family Help Line: 727-791-3434
Peer Support Help Line: 727-600-5838
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Pinellas County Mobile Crisis Response Team: 727-362-4424
Suicide/Emergency Hotline – Pinellas County: 727-791-3131
Crisis Center of Tampa Bay (for financial, mental health or domestic violence issues): Dial 211
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
24 HOUR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: (727) 895-4912 | TTY: (727) 828-1269
OUTSIDE PINELLAS COUNTY: (800) 500-1119 | TTY: (800) 621-4202
The Haven: Domestic Violence Hotline: (727) 442-4128, TDD: (727) 223-4946
Rape Crisis Line – Local: 727-530-7273