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Where to start with caring for your mental health

Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist
Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist

Eliana Reyes is a content strategist and writer at UpLift.


min read

Discovering the right tools and strategies for your mental health can feel like navigating a big maze, especially during times when you need them the most. This Mental Health Awareness Month, we're here to light the path towards self-care and understanding, offering you a compass to guide your steps.

Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing exercises to inspire you to practice self-care. You can follow along on Instagram or Facebook

These exercises are brief prompts—because caring for yourself doesn’t have to be big. Like with any relationship, the relationship you have with yourself can start with small, deliberate acts of love. 

Here are some ideas to get you started on thinking about your mental health and caring for it. 

Practice self-awareness and learn your basic needs

Your physical health and mental health are linked. Get a sense of how you feel, both physically and emotionally. Get started by incorporating ways to care for your mind and body, such as: 

  • Staying hydrated by drinking enough water
  • Write one word for how you feel today physically, emotionally, and mentally
  • Getting enough sleep, if you can 
  • Naming what you are feeling
  • Practicing gratitude by listing small things you are thankful for, big or small

Navigate challenges and set boundaries

Strengthen yourself for the challenges you’re facing. This can look like many things, such as stepping back to understand what is standing in your way or how certain experiences can negatively impact your mental health. 

Gaining clarity about your challenges can help you figure out what you can do to address them—and what you can’t. 

Try asking yourself questions like: 

  • What is a challenging situation in my life?
  • What can I change about this challenge? 
  • What is beyond my control with this situation?
  • Who can help me with change?
  • How can I practice kindness to myself and acceptance for what can’t change?

Understand your past and celebrate yourself

When we gain perspective on what happened to us, we understand ourselves. Knowing how we learned certain behaviors or patterns gives us the power to choose whether to keep them or unlearn them. 

It also gives us space to step back, give ourselves grace for things that have happened, and then grow. We can celebrate ourselves when we know how far we’ve come. 

Understanding yourself can start with:

  • Asking what has shaped your worldview
  • Challenging negative thought patterns
  • Recognizing what you’ve accomplished
  • Identifying what makes you feel loved

Connect with yourself and others

Building meaningful connections is vital for mental health. Interacting with others can make you feel supported, less lonely, and like you belong. Ways to foster these connections include:

  • Reaching out to friends or family for regular check-ins
  • Joining groups or clubs that align with your interests
  • Volunteering in your community to meet new people and contribute positively
  • Scheduling regular "me" time to indulge in activities that make you happy and reflect on your personal growth
  • Being alone in public, like going to the movies by yourself, if being social can be difficult

Connecting with yourself is just as important as connecting with others. Take time to get to know yourself—your needs, desires, and what brings you joy.

Check your progress and build good habits

Tracking your progress and building good habits are essential steps in caring for your mental health. This could involve setting small, achievable goals and celebrating when you reach them. Just as we need to maintain physical health through exercise and diet, our mental health requires regular attention and care. Consider incorporating habits like:

  • Journaling to reflect on your day, thoughts, and feelings
  • Setting aside time each week to engage in a hobby or activity you enjoy
  • Establishing a routine that includes time for relaxation and mindfulness practices
  • Regularly reviewing your goals and the steps you're taking to achieve them

Find support

Though self-care and healthy habits can be built on your own, sometimes we need more help. Some signs to reach out could be prolonged feelings of sadness or anxiety, difficulty doing daily routines, or having disturbing thoughts. There's strength in seeking help, not weakness. Here are some ways to find support:

  • Consult a mental health professional
  • Explore online therapy that offers flexibility and privacy
  • Join support groups where you can share experiences and strategies with others facing similar challenges
  • Engage in online communities, which can be another way to break isolation and start healing
Remember, seeking professional support is a testament to your resilience and commitment to your health. You can take the first step by talking with someone on UpLift who specializes in what you want to work on and who understands you.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, deserving of time and effort. Caring for it can be a complex, ongoing process that demands your attention, practice, and patience. Like with any care we give our bodies, though, the process makes you feel better and stronger.

May this Mental Health Awareness Month inspire you to start or continue on your path towards mental well-being, with the tools and knowledge to nurture a healthier relationship with yourself and those around you.

About the author
Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist

Eliana Reyes is a content strategist and writer at UpLift.

Edited by

Daphné Leblanc

Fact checked by
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Every UpLift article is created by our team or other qualified contributors, and reviewed for accuracy by clinicians.

Jack Sykstus, LMFT

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