Mental Health Awareness Month: Self-care is an essential part of mental health and wellbeing

By Danielle Rodin, Fatuma Noor, and Tamima Adan • JFCS Targeted Case Managers

Every May since 1949 we have been reminded of the importance of caring for our mental health by recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month. We commemorate this important month and show solidarity against the stigmas associated with mental health by wearing the color green and/or wearing a green ribbon.

More than 43 million Americans struggle with mental illness. Our team of Targeted Case Managers support adults living with mental illness. We intentionally show solidarity and help reduce the stigmas associated with mental health by educating those we work with on skills and tools that are available to help them maintain their mental wellbeing.

It is important to note that everyone has their own relationship with mental health – while some are in tune with their feelings, others struggle to identify with the highs and lows that day-to-day life brings them. Either way, it is important for all of us to care for our mental health so that we can function in our daily lives and help care for others.

We like to stress the importance of self-care to our clients. Practicing self-care boosts one’s mood by reducing the effects of stress on the mind and body. Everyone has their own unique approach to practicing self-care. Below, we share the things we do to care for our mental health and challenge you to do the same!

Dani: My day typically consists of asking those I work with how their mental health symptoms are, and I often forget to ask myself how I AM feeling. Some ways that I choose to foster self-awareness and relieve stress are going for walks, coloring mandalas, scrolling through silly dance trends, animal videos, cooking trends/recipes, getting together with friends, and playing with my dog and kids!

Fatuma: Maintaining my mental wellbeing is something that I am all too aware of and consciously fit into my week. My husband and I like to practice what we call “Self-Care Sundays,” which consist of essential oils, face-masks, and binge-watching/catching-up our favorite shows. This helps us reset and prepare for the week ahead!

Tamima: My work day usually starts with a few minutes of exercise, at least a few days a week. Taking care of my mental wellbeing is crucial and putting myself before anyone is what grounds me and allows me to focus on helping others in healthy ways. When I am under stress, I usually go for a walk, get up to make coffee, or take a break to look for fun videos. I love spending time with my kids, doing different indoor and outdoor activities, and taking evening walks. Doing these things helps me to get ready for the next day!

Modeling good self-care is a valuable step in helping others do the same for themselves. All of our lives are full of stressors. It’s crucial to strengthen our own self-awareness about how we are managing those stressors and knowing when we need to take breaks and reset.

Click here for more information on JFCS’ Counseling and Mental Health Services