Managing Your Mental Health One Day at a Time 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Over 20% of Americans currently live with a mental health diagnosis (NAMI, 2022). 

Good mental health is essential in life. It’s a part of you that can impact your relationships,  engagement in activities, and success at work or school. 

Take time to reflect on how you have been feeling this month. Here are a few tips to stay mentally healthy: 

Get Up and Move 

Physical activity can boost your mood. It is recommended for adults to exercise for 150 minutes a week (CDC, 2022). This breaks down to 30 minutes, 5 times a week.  

With warmer weather in the air, try to go outside for a walk. Within the first 10 minutes of this, you may start to feel like you can push your troubles aside.  

When exercising regularly becomes challenging for you due to a busy schedule, you can move around in other ways. Trying to get up out of your chair periodically throughout your day to walk around your worksite or your home. This can help you refocus and increase your energy.  


Getting enough sleep is essential for good mental health. According to the CDC (2022), adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep can create trouble. Aside from feeling mentally and physically fatigued when little sleep occurs, you may start to worry that you won’t make it through your workday.  

It can become incredibly challenging to use the problem-solving skills that you possess when faced with little sleep. However, with sufficient sleep you may be more able to tackle your worries with ease and increase focus when you are awake.  

Healthy Diet 

Fast food is so convenient, especially if it’s been a long day and you just want to get home and rest your feet. However, this type of lifestyle can really have a negative impact…. not just on your physical health, but also on your mental health. A nutrient deficiency can put one at increased risk of mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety (Jauwena, 2019). 

So how can fast food temptation be avoided? Try to make efforts to be intentional about the food you eat. This often requires planning ahead with shopping for food and preparing nutritious meals filled with lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and veggies.  


We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our lives sometimes. This can lead to isolation and even loneliness. Socializing with people that have meaning in your life can lead to positive mental health by increasing feelings of self-worth. Additionally, socialization can reduce the risk of anxiety & depression. It can also increase longevity and reduce stress (Cohut, 2018). 

Relaxation/ Self-Care 

Do you ever get the feeling that you can’t relax because you have so much to do? Perhaps, when you do relax you often tend to feel guilty about it. Taking time to relax each day gives your mind and body a break. In fact, relaxation can reduce anxiety and sadness, while also increasing energy and promoting sleep (Ryu, 2018). 

Mental Health Resources 

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 

Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 

Transgender Suicide Hotline: (877) 565-8860 

NAMI Southwestern Illinois: 1-800-273-8255/618-798-9788 

Illinois Warm Line: (866)-359-7935 


CDC (2022). How much physical activity do adults need?

CDC (2022). How much sleep do I need?  How Much Sleep Do I Need? | CDC 

Cohut, (2018). What are the health benefits of being social?

Jauwena, (2019). Nutrient deficiency: a trigger for mental health disorders 

NAMI (2022). Mental health by the numbers. 

Ryu (2018). Take it easy: the benefits of relaxation.

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