Since 1949, May has been observed in the United States as Mental Health Awareness Month. A month where advocates across the county work to spread the word that mental health is something we should all care about.
When we talk to community members and particularly youth about building healthy relationships one of the things we highlight is checking in with the ones we care about. What exactly is a check in? It doesn’t have to be dramatic or scary. You can easily say “I’m just checking in to see how you’re doing.”
It feels good to know people care about us and it is always nice to catch up with an old friend or relative you haven’t heard from in a while. Often, you don’t realize how much you have missed someone until you reach out and check in with them.
We know that having strong connections with others has positive effects on your mental well-being, but research indicates it can also actually decrease risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol. Like exercise and a healthy diet, making time to connect with those you care about is important for both our mental and likely your physical well-being – and of those you care about.
This May, I would like to encourage you all to reach out to a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in some time and check in.
- Make a phone call – yes some people still like speak on the phone
- Drop by a neighbor’s house for a visit
- Actually make those plans for lunch or dinner with a friend you haven’t seen for a while
- Leave a note for a co-worker, saying hi and letting them know you are thinking about them
- Grab a friend, relative, neighbor, sibling or child and go for a 15 min stroll around the block
- Send a text, email
This is a simple way to show you care about someone in your life.
The Compassion Project: Let us be the ones who transform our world by allowing compassion to lead our action. Throughout the year, this column will feature the various ways to have compassion for others, for our specific organization, and for yourself.
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