The past year has taken a toll on everyone’s state of mind. This May, Mental Health Awareness Month seems to have come at the exact right time. While we process all that’s happened in the past year, it’s important to destigmatize mental health struggles and find proactive ways to support emotional wellbeing.
Did you know that in America alone, nearly 44 million adults experience mental illness in a given year? That’s about one out of every five adults in the country. An experience that’s so prevalent in our community deserves to be addressed through conversation and helpful resources. Luckily, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one of the most effective ways to get help with mental illness is by connecting with other people. With Meetup, you can make all kinds of connections, and promote mental health through these five easy methods.
1. Enjoy some me-time with a stress-free activity
Me-time is any time that you can devote entirely to yourself and your interests. It doesn’t matter what specific activity you choose, as long as it’s something you do just because you enjoy it. Me-time shouldn’t be work-related or feel like a chore.
Some common me-time activities include reading, cooking, and drawing, but it can even be as simple as walking through the park or lying out in the sun. To really emphasize the mental health aspect of me-time, you could practice journaling, which will help you release your inner thoughts and find emotional clarity.
Me-time, despite the name, can be even more enjoyable with a group of people who are pursuing a common goal. For example, the Shut Up & Write Los Angeles Meetup group has more than 3,000 members who gather together in a relaxed space to quietly work on their craft.
2. Be mindful of your mental space through meditation
In some circles, mediation has become part of a trendy and fashionable culture. However, meditation at its core is an interior, personal experience. The point of meditating is to become more present in your body and mindful of your own mental space, usually through some simple breathing exercises and visualization techniques.
In an episode of Meetup’s Keep Connected podcast, organizer Ron Levine says you don’t need couture outfits or years of monastic training to be included in the practice of mediation. In fact, he runs the Boston Mindfulness and Insight Meditation Meetup group, whose 1,600 members are always made to feel welcome, whether they’re in $200 Lululemon yoga pants or blue jeans. If you want to find a similar group near you, Meetup has thousands of meditation groups all over the world.
3. Burn away excess anxiety with a little exercise
Physical activity is one of the most useful and encouraging things you can do to support your mental health. In fact, exercise is proven to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
With temperatures rising, now is a great time to get into a healthy exercise routine. Because the pandemic caused such a drop in the normal physical activity of so many people, Meetup put together a list of five simple ways to get active after a year indoors. Some of the best ways to ease back into your routine are walking, hiking, trying yoga, or playing a low-intensity sport like badminton or pickleball.
4. Fuel a healthy mind and body by eating well
Ask any doctor, and they’ll tell you a proper diet is one of the most fundamental components of any healthy lifestyle. Typically, it’s much easier to eat balanced meals if you go out to restaurants less frequently, and opt instead to prepare homemade meals yourself.
Meetup recently hosted a healthy cooking demonstration that proves premium meals don’t have to cost a premium price or require top-tier chef skills. Discover your kitchen inspiration and start feeling more energized every day with food that’s delicious and nutritious.
5. Spend time socializing
Because humans are inherently social creatures, a fulfilling social life is a major influence on both mental and physical health. During the height of quarantine, we had to sacrifice this essential aspect of our lives for the greater good. Now that some regions can start to reconvene in person, many people feel a bit out of practice with their interpersonal skills. To make the transition easier, Meetup put together this simple guide on how to resume your social life after a year indoors.
The best way to get back in the swing of things is by connecting with others who share your interests. This gives you a common motivation, makes small talk flow more smoothly, and can help you feel that socializing is always worthwhile, even if it’s a little daunting.
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