1 in every 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year.

May is Mental Health Month. It’s a month dedicated to increasing awareness and education about a form of disease that affects over 40 million adults in the U.S. alone.

We talk about health all the time. From diet and exercise to general heart, brain, or other organ-related health, often we speak obsessively about it. So why is it still somewhat taboo to talk about mental health? Since 1949, the month of May has been dedicated to eradicating that ill-advised and inaccurate stigma surrounding discussing mental health issues.

One of the best ways we can contribute to improved mental health, better relationships and healthier communities is to make sure we are meeting our own mental health needs. You can only start to help others when you have your own mental capabilities in a good and healthy place. Here are a few small ways to manage your mental health this month:

 

Eat Right

Studies have shown that people who eat a diet high in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish and unsaturated fats are up to 35% less likely to develop depression. Don’t get me wrong: it’s okay to treat yourself to ice cream every once in a while. Just make sure you’re eating enough healthy foods the majority of the time to support healthy brain and heart function.

 

Exercise Your Right To Exercise

Being active benefits almost every aspect of your health, not just weight loss! It can improve chances of living longer, the strength of muscles and bones and your mental health. Just one hour of exercise a week is related to lower levels of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders.

 

Catch Some Z’s

Sleep is fundamental for maintaining a healthy physical and mental balance. It plays a role in our moods, ability to learn and remember, organ health, immune system health and other bodily functions. Poor quality of sleep can increase the risk of developing mental health symptoms, so get our eight hours, people.

 

Go With Your Gut

Did you know your gut is often referred to as your second brain? Your gut includes every organ involved in digesting and excreting your food and it plays a shockingly strong relationship between having mental health problems and having gastrointestinal symptoms. Eating foods high in pre and probiotics like high fiber fruits and vegetables or yogurt can ease your gut and mental state.

 

Stop Stressing

I know, easier said than done. But, while stress is a normal part of life, constantly stressing about every little thing is not. It can cause negative physical and mental reactions in your body. A few things that can help with stress include exercising, getting a hobby, meditating and just going easy on yourself. Nobody’s perfect!

 

Share Your Story

If you or someone you love has been affected by mental health disorders, it’s important to share your story if you’re comfortable doing so. This helps erase the stigma and taboo surrounding mental health and let’s others who are suffering know that they are not alone. During May, you can check for hashtags like #MHM (Mental Health Month) and others on social media to help spread awareness.

 

Get started promoting employee mental wellness today by contacting your Staples representative or visiting StaplesPromotionalProducts.com.

Facts and tips provided by Mental Health America.