Recognizing BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month

As we step into July, it’s time to recognize BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month—a moment to highlight the mental health struggles and successes in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. Started by Bebe Moore Campbell, an author and mental health advocate, and formalized by Congress in 2008, this observance focuses on the unique challenges that underrepresented groups face in getting mental support and services.  

The Historical Context

Historically, BIPOC communities have faced significant barriers in getting mental health care. Systemic racism, cultural stigmas, and socio-economic disparities have made it tough to access crucial resources. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, only one in three Black adults who need mental health care actually get it. The same goes for Latino, Asian, and Native American communities, who also have lower rates of mental health service use compared to their white counterparts. These disparities show the urgent necessity for mental health support systems that can meet the unique needs of BIPOC individuals. 

Cultural factors also play a big role in accessing mental health care. Many BIPOC communities have strong cultural beliefs that can discourage seeking help for mental health issues, seeing them as personal weaknesses or private matters that shouldn’t be discussed outside the family. This cultural perception often keeps people from getting the care they need, making mental health disparities even worse.

The Changing Narrative

Fortunately, things are changing. More awareness and advocacy have led to better culturally competent care and resources tailored to BIPOC individuals. There’s growing recognition that mental healthcare needs to be inclusive and accessible to everyone. National initiatives and grassroots movements are working hard to break down the prejudices and barriers that have long marginalized these communities. Programs focusing on community-based mental healthcare, peer support, and blending traditional healing practices with modern therapeutic approaches are gaining traction and showing promising results.  

Mental health education and awareness campaigns are also helping change perceptions and reduce stigma. By getting communities involved in open conversations about mental health and sharing stories of resilience and recovery, these initiatives are creating a more supportive environment where people feel empowered to seek help. 

Our Commitment

Here at Valera Health, we’re committed to being part of this change. Our comprehensive treatment approach ensures we don’t turn away patients based on the severity of their conditions or their insurance status. By offering one-on-one consultations, group therapy sessions, and a range of therapeutic options, we provide a supportive environment where patients can connect, share, and heal. In 2023 alone, Valera Health provided over 260,000 visits across ten states, with a large portion of those visits serving patients on Medicaid or Medicare. These numbers underscore our dedication to breaking down financial barriers and ensuring mental healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Our diverse team of therapists reflects the communities we serve, creating a culturally competent environment where patients feel seen, understood, and valued.   

We know that mental healthcare needs to be adaptable to meet the varying needs of our diverse patient population. That’s why we constantly strive to improve our services by incorporating feedback from our patients and staying current with the latest advancements in mental healthcare. This commitment to excellence ensures we can provide the highest quality of care to those who need it most. 

How You Can Help

As we celebrate BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, we invite you to join us in advocating for mental health equity. Whether it’s by participating in local events, supporting mental health initiatives, or simply having open conversations about mental health with your friends and family, every bit counts. Advocacy can take many forms, from volunteering with organizations that support mental health to using your platform to raise awareness about mental health issues affecting BIPOC communities. 

At Valera Health, we remain committed to providing exceptional, inclusive care. Together, we can keep changing the narrative around mental health in BIPOC communities and make sure everyone has access to the resources they need to thrive. By working together, we can create a more equitable and compassionate mental healthcare system that treats everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. 

This July, let’s honor BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month by acknowledging the past, celebrating the progress, and committing to a future where mental healthcare is accessible to all. Through our combined efforts, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who have been historically underserved and overlooked, paving the way for a brighter, healthier future for everyone. 

Finding Your Soundtrack to Serenity on National Music Day

National Music Day is June 17, a great time to celebrate the profound impact music has on our mental health. Just like hitting the gym, jamming out to our favorite tunes can be a great way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. That’s because when we’re grooving to our favorite beats, our brains release dopamine—a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in our feelings of pleasure and reward. This chemical reaction is just one of the many ways music can put a smile on our faces and boost our mental health. 

Ready to dive into the world of music for some mental wellness? Here are some tips to help you build your own musical haven.

Infusing Music into Your Day

Incorporating music into your routine doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Start by finding small moments in your day to enjoy a few minutes of your favorite songs. It could be a calming melody to kick off your morning, the latest Taylor Swift hit to get you pumped for your commute, or a soothing track to help you wind down before bed. These little music breaks can make a big difference. 

Shared Musical Experiences

Music can really bring people together and create a sense of community. Need proof? Just think about swaying with the crowd at your last concert. Joining a choir, a band, or going to local music events can make music’s positive effects even stronger, giving you a sense of belonging and joy. Many cities have free or low-cost music events, especially around National Music Day, so be sure to check out local listings to see what’s on offer. Joining in these group experiences can boost your mood and help fight off feelings of loneliness. 

Finding Your Perfect Groove

It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like. Whether it’s classical, jazz, country, or pop, finding a genre that you vibe with can make your music experience more enjoyable and therapeutic. Feeling stressed? Try listening to calming instrumental tracks or nature sounds. Need a mood boost? Go for something more upbeat. Exploring different genres and finding what works for you can turn music into your own personal therapy. 

Creating a Routine that Resonates

To really feel the mental health benefits of music, consistency is key. Try to make music a regular part of your routine, whether it’s a daily listening session, a weekly jam with friends, or even a monthly visit to a live music event. Setting aside time for music can help it become a regular part of your life. Making a playlist in advance or scheduling time for musical activities will make sure you get the most out of your experience. 

The Role of Music Therapy 

If you’re looking for more structured support, music therapy might be the way to go. It’s an established field where trained music therapists use different techniques like songwriting, improvisation, and guided listening to help improve mental health. Music therapy can be especially helpful for those dealing with complex mental health issues, offering a more personalized approach. 

Embracing Music’s Healing Power

As you embark on your musical journey, remember it’s all about having fun and making connections, not worrying about being perfect. Some days you might feel like busting a move in your living room, while other times, you just need a chill, introspective listening session. The magic of music is that it meets you right where you are. As you keep rocking out, you’ll find that music becomes a special part of your self-care routine.  

Whether you’re looking to de-stress, lift your mood, or just add some extra joy to your day, music offers a path for better mental health. So, this National Music Day, crank up the volume and let music transform your mind and spirit.

The Art of Saying No: How Doing Less Unlocks More

In our fast-paced world, where every minute feels like a race against the clock, the idea of doing less might seem counterintuitive. However, delving into the art of saying “no” can prove to be a game-changer for your productivity, fulfillment, and overall wellbeing. And as we approach the summer months, filled with a flurry of social events, family gatherings, and professional obligations, honing this skill becomes even more valuable. 

Let’s take a moment to talk about the importance of setting boundaries and how it can help you to navigate life’s demands with clarity and purpose.

Embracing the Power of No

Saying no is not about closing doors or avoiding responsibilities. It’s about making intentional choices that align with your core values and priorities, allowing you to craft a life that reflects your truest self. By doing less of what doesn’t serve you, you create space for what truly matters, leading to greater focus and effectiveness in your most meaningful pursuits.  

Prioritizing Your Precious Time and Energy

Every time you say yes, it costs you time, energy, or attention. If you agree to everything, you risk spreading yourself too thin, which can hurt the quality of your work or personal life. Remember: it’s ok to be picky! Ask yourself if a new commitment fits with your long-term goals and if you can take it on without sacrificing your wellbeing. Prioritizing your mental and emotional health is key to maintain a balanced life and avoiding burnout.  

Setting Boundaries: The Ultimate Self-Care

Boundaries are crucial for protecting your time and mental health. It’s perfectly acceptable to turn down an invitation or put off a request. Try saying phrases like, “Thanks for the offer, but I can’t commit right now,” or “I appreciate it, but my schedule is pretty full at the moment.” Most people will appreciate your straightforwardness and understand your need to prioritize. Remember: setting boundaries isn’t selfish; it’s an important act of self-care

The Summer Scenario

Summer usually means a lot of activities—backyard barbecues, vacations, tight work deadlines, and more. It’s tempting to say yes to everything, but that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to really enjoy the season. Don’t forget, summer is also a time to relax, recharge, and enjoy the moments that make you happy. Take the opportunity to slow down, savor the simple pleasures, and create lasting memories with loved ones.  

Harnessing the Power of Focus

Focusing on fewer tasks lets you dive deeper into each one, leading to better results. This quality-over-quantity approach means you can do more meaningful work and feel more satisfied with what you accomplish. Concentrate on what really adds value to your life and let go of the rest. By prioritizing effectively, you’ll derive greater pleasure from your daily activities. 

Cultivating Mindfulness and Presence 

When you say no to extra commitments, you get the freedom to be fully present in what you’re doing. Whether it’s quality time with loved ones, diving into a passion project, or just enjoying a quiet evening at home, being present makes everything more enjoyable.  

As summer rolls around, remember the power of saying yes to no. By doing less, you create room for more—more productivity, more fulfillment, and more joy. Embrace the freedom that comes with making deliberate choices, and enjoy the beauty of a balanced, intentional life. Whether it’s turning down an extra project at work or skipping a social event to relax at home, these small decisions can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing.

Celebrate World Environment Day: Embrace the Outdoors and Boost Your Mental Health

June 5 marks World Environment Day, a global celebration that’s all about loving and protecting our planet. With the sun shining brighter and temperatures rising, it’s the perfect excuse to get outside and soak up some natural goodness. This year, let’s do more than just appreciate the environment—let’s dive in and actively engage with it! There’s something magical about enjoying the great outdoors, volunteering for environmental causes, and boosting our mental wellbeing at the same time. 

Here’s why stepping outside and giving back can make a world of difference for both you and the planet. 


The Joy of the Great Outdoors

Reconnecting with Nature

Spending time in nature offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you’re hiking through lush forests, strolling along a sandy beach, or just lounging in a local park, the outdoors is like a big, cozy blanket for your soul. The sensory delights—fresh air, birdsong, the rustling of leaves—fill your senses and bring a wonderful feeling of calm and peace. 

Physical Health Benefits 

Engaging in outdoor activities is not just good for the soul; it’s great for the body too. Regular physical activities like walking, running, or biking give your heart a healthy workout, strengthen your muscles, and boost your overall fitness. Plus, these activities release endorphins, those fabulous natural mood lifters that help keep anxiety and depression at bay. 

Contributing to Environmental Conservation

Volunteering for environmental causes is a way to give the planet a big high-five! Whether you’re lending a hand at a local cleanup, planting trees, or tending to a community garden, you’re making a real difference. Your efforts are key in preserving biodiversity, freshening up air and water quality, and nurturing a more sustainable world. So, roll up your sleeves and sprinkle some positivity onto the planet, one volunteer project at a time!

Building Community and Connections 

Volunteering brings people together with a shared purpose. It’s a fantastic chance to connect with fellow nature enthusiasts who share your passion for the environment. These connections often blossom into lasting friendships and a tight-knit community, providing invaluable emotional support and boosting overall mental wellbeing. 

Sense of Accomplishment 

There’s a beautiful sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing you’ve made a difference. Volunteering lets you witness the fruits of your labor, like watching seeds sprout into flowers, which can give your self-esteem a sweet little boost and add some pep to your step. This sense of accomplishment works wonders against feelings of helplessness or anxiety.

How These Activities Benefit Mental Health

Stress Reduction

Both nature immersion and volunteering can counteract stress. Nature offers a serene escape that can dial down those cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Volunteering, on the flip side, shifts your focus from personal worries to the bigger picture, giving you a fresh perspective and reducing stress through purposeful action. 

Enhanced Mood and Happiness

Activities that involve physical movement and social interaction can be mood-boosting magic spells. Whether it’s the endorphins from a hike or the joy of teaming up with others for a common cause, these experiences release happy chemicals in the brain that amp up happiness and overall wellbeing.

Increased Resilience

Engaging with nature and community activities is a way to flex your resilience muscles. Tackling and conquering challenges in these settings—whether it’s mastering a tricky trail or pulling off a stellar cleanup event—builds up your problem-solving skills and adaptability. These experiences can beef up your resilience in everyday life, making it easier to handle stress and bounce back from adversity. 

Embracing the outdoors not only honors the spirit of World Environment Day but also nurtures your mental and physical health. Let’s celebrate the beauty of our planet while enriching our lives and communities!

Self-Care Strategies for Caregivers

Whether you’re a nurse tending to patients around the clock or a devoted child helping your aging parent with daily tasks, being a caregiver is no easy feat. You pour from your limited cup of energy and compassion into the seemingly bottomless pitchers of those who rely on you. And sometimes, it’s easy to confuse being selfless with being without self-care. 

But here’s the thing: running on empty is unsustainable. To really show up with steady hands and an open heart for those who depend on you, you must first tend to your own wellbeing. Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a fundamental need for anyone tasked with the important work of caregiving, whether you earn a paycheck for it or not. 

Penciling in “me time” isn’t an act of selfishness, but one of preservation. By prioritizing simple daily rituals that nurture your mind, body, and spirit, you ensure you have a full reservoir of patience, resilience, and empathy to draw from. Intrigued? Here are some essential self-care strategies you can start incorporating into your life.


Start Each Day Like You Mean It

How you wake up can set the tone for the entire day ahead. So ditch the snooze button habit and get intentional with a morning ritual that grounds and energizes you. Whether it’s meditating, journaling, stretching out those tight muscles, or simply savoring a delicious cup of coffee in blessed silence—do something that makes your soul say “ahhh.” This deliberate start instills a sense of being in the driver’s seat and cultivates presence, better equipping you to handle the day’s inevitable curveballs with grace. 

Boundaries: Use ‘Em or Lose Your Sanity

In the caregiver realm, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying yes to any request, putting everyone’s needs before your own until your gas tank is bone dry. But setting boundaries is crucial. Get crystal clear about what you can realistically take on without running yourself into the ground. If saying “no” to extra tasks feels uncomfortably blunt, try “I can’t take that on right now, but I’ll let you know if the situation changes.” Prioritizing your limits ultimately allows you to show up more fully for the things that matter most. 

The Power of Movement and Exercise

Exercise is one of the most powerful antidotes to the inevitable stresses of caregiving. But instead of forcing yourself into a fitness regimen you don’t like, get creative and explore different physical activities that bring you actual joy. Maybe you’re a dance party queen, a weekend hiker, or a team sports enthusiast. Not only will you treat yourself to mood-boosting endorphins, but carving out regular sweat sessions provides a sense of routine amid the unpredictable nature of your role.

Find Your Tribe 

Having a circle of supportive family and friends you can vent to, laugh with, and occasionally escape reality alongside is essential for caregivers. Identify the people in your life who lift you up and prioritize regular check-ins, even if it’s a short morning commiseration session over coffee. You can also join an online support group specifically for caregivers, which will give you access to a team of people who uniquely understand what you’re going through. 

Mindful Moments for Clarity

While adopting a traditional meditation practice may seem lofty given your hectic schedule, you can still prioritize mindfulness through mini check-ins. Before transitioning between tasks, take a few grounding breaths and bring your awareness back to the present moment, even if it’s just for 60 seconds. This pause is the remote control for your inner Zen—a brief chance to hit reset. 

Treat Yourself (Without the Guilt)

At the end of one of those relentless days, it’s 100% okay to indulge in simple comforts that help you unwind. Luxuriate in a soothing bath. Get lost in the pages of a juicy novel. Savor your favorite home-cooked meal. Prioritize whatever healthy pleasures soothe your soul and honor them as vital, restorative acts—no justification required. 


The difficult yet immensely rewarding work of caregiving demands that you show up daily with boundless reserves of energy, compassion, and human strength. But neglecting your own needs jeopardizes your ability to care for others. Prioritizing self-care allows you to keep being the loving, attentive, amazing caregiver you are while avoiding the pitfalls of burnout. You’ve got this! 

Raising Resilient Kids: Strategies for Helping Children Bounce Back

Life inevitably brings challenges and setbacks, even for our little ones. As parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to bounce back from adversity with resilience. Resilience is that powerful inner strength that allows kids to adapt in the face of stress and confront tough situations with confidence. By nurturing resilience from an early age, we can equip our children with invaluable coping skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

The Roots of Resilience

You might be surprised to learn that resilience isn’t something people are simply born with—it’s a skill that can be developed and strengthened over time. The roots of resilience are firmly planted in a child’s sense of safety, self-esteem, and supportive connections. When kids feel secure, valued, and unconditionally loved, they’re more likely to persevere through life’s ups and downs. 

So how can we, as parents, cultivate these foundations of resilience? Through open communication, empathy, and quality time together. Make your home a judgement-free zone where kids feel comfortable expressing their feelings—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Model healthy coping mechanisms by talking through your own frustrations calmly. Most importantly, be present. Quality time fosters trust and lets your child know you’re in their corner. 

Failure: A Launchpad for Growth

In our success-driven society, it’s easy to approach failure with shame and harsh self-criticism. But failure is actually one of life’s greatest teachers—if we let it be. The next time your child experiences a setback or disappointment (like striking out in a baseball game or receiving a poor test grade), resist the urge to rescue them from their feelings. Instead, view these moments as opportunities for growth and say “I know how upsetting it is to mess up sometimes. What did you learn from this experience that could help you next time?”

By prompting kids to reflect on their failures with curiosity rather than judgment, we transform these situations into powerful lessons in perseverance, adaptability, and creative problem-solving. 

Foster Self-Reliance and Confidence

While it’s natural to want to swoop in and solve our kids’ every problem, doing so can inadvertently undermine their resilience. Of course, children shouldn’t be overburdened or forced to go it alone—your support and guidance is crucial. But wherever it’s safe to do so, allow kids to navigate challenges independently. 

Struggling with a difficult homework assignment? Encourage them to seek out resources, ask their teacher for help, or approach the problem from a new angle. This autonomy develops crucial problem-solving abilities. Celebrate their self-motivated efforts, and you’ll start to see their confidence blossom, enabling them to take on bigger challenges down the line. 


Make Overcoming Obstacles a Family Tradition

Perhaps the most powerful way to nurture resilience in children is by making it a family value. Share stories about how you’ve overcome personal adversities and ask kids to weigh in with their own experiences too. Hiking the same challenging trail year after year or sampling new cultural cuisines together creates shared lore of your family’s collective resilience. 

Most importantly, remind kids that tough times are an inevitable part of every person’s journey. Obstacles and struggles aren’t derailing failures—they’re how we grow courage, inner strength, and wisdom. 

With open hearts, empathy, and an eye toward the future, we can raise kids who confidently navigate life’s twists and turns. Our children are resilient beyond measure—it’s up to us as parents to nurture that inner grit.

Prioritizing Mental Wellness: An Opportunity for Greater Understanding

Each May, Mental Health Awareness Month arrives as an important reminder of the crucial role mental health plays in our overall wellbeing. In a world that often prioritizes the physical over the psychological, this is our opportunity to shift the dialogue, bust stigmas, and take action in supporting mental wellness for ourselves and those around us. 

The stats don’t lie: 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness, and rates of depression and anxiety continue rising across all ages and demographics. Mental health conditions shouldn’t be whispered about or suffered through in silence. It’s time we treat psychological struggles with the same compassion, resources, and activism afforded to physical health issues. 

So what can we do, both individually and collectively, to elevate mental wellness to the priority it deserves? Here are some key steps we can all take.

Educate Ourselves and Our Communities

Knowledge is power. Take time this month to educate yourself on common mental health conditions: what they look like, what causes them, and how to get help. Share that wisdom far and wide through work, school, and social media—wherever you can get eyes on it. The more we understand, the more we can cut through the noise and get real about supporting each other. 

Prioritize Self-Care Practices

Self-care isn’t just a buzzword reserved for luxury bath bombs and face masks (though those are awesome too!). It’s a vital tool for managing stress and keeping our mindsets in check. This month, make it a priority to carve out time for self-care practices that fill your cup, whether that’s meditating, journaling, getting creative, or going outdoors. Show the world that prioritizing emotional wellbeing is a step in the right direction. 

Support Local Mental Health Organizations

There are so many incredible grassroots organizations doing the hard work of mental health education, suicide prevention, providing affordable care options, and fighting stigma. Get involved by volunteering, attending events, or just amplifying their voices far and wide. Every bit helps strengthen their game-changing mission. 

Lead with Empathy at Work and School

Our work and educational environments can seriously impact our mental wellbeing for better or worse. So let’s be the change! Advocate for more mental health resources, policies that support emotional wellness, and a culture of openness at every level. Start an employee support group, lobby for better healthcare coverage, or push for mental health training. Remember: small steps can lead to powerful change. 

Use Your Vote Wisely 

At all levels of government, we need leaders who will walk the walk on mental health reform. From local government all the way up, use your vote to elevate candidates with robust mental health platforms that promote prevention, intervention, and destigmatization. 


Mental Health Awareness Month is a great starting point, but the real work is in showing up every day to prioritize mental wellness. So let’s do our part to prioritize mental wellness for ourselves, our loved ones, our community and the broader society we all deserve to thrive in. 

Mind in Motion: How Exercise Boosts Mental Health and Wellbeing

We’re all aware of the importance of exercise in maintaining our physical health. However, its profound effect on mental wellbeing often goes unnoticed. Studies show that regular physical activity can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. That’s because when you exercise, your brain releases endorphins—those feel-good signals that act as natural mood lifters. And if you needed another reason to lace up those gym shoes, consider that physical activity also promotes better sleep, heightens cognitive function, and enhances self-esteem, all culminating in a healthier, happier you.

Looking for ways to experience that mind-body connection? Here are some tips to kickstarting a fitness routine that will boost your total wellbeing in no time.

Starting Small: Baby Steps Toward a Healthier Mind

Embarking on a new exercise routine can feel daunting, especially if you’re not accustomed to being active. But remember: every journey begins with a single step. Start small by incorporating short bursts of activity into your day. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, go for a brisk walk during your lunch break, or try out a beginner’s yoga class. The key is to find activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle. By gradually building up your exercise routine, you’ll soon reap the mental rewards of your efforts. 

Community Connection: Finding Support in Movement

Exercise doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. In fact, joining a fitness class or a recreational sports team can amplify exercise’s mental health benefits by providing a sense of camaraderie and belonging. Many workplaces sponsor recreational sports leagues, such as volleyball or kickball, that their employees can join. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion for movement can be incredibly motivating and uplifting. Whether you’re high fiving your workout buddy after a challenging gym session or sharing post-exercise endorphin highs with your teammates, the sense of community that comes with group exercise can be a powerful antidote to feelings of isolation or loneliness. 

Finding Your Sweat Therapy

So what’s the best kind of exercise? The one you’ll actually do! Explore different activities and find the one that works for your lifestyle and preferences. Love channeling your inner calm? Give yoga or Pilates a try. Need to blow off some steam? Kickboxing might be your jam. Are you a nature enthusiast? Maybe hiking or kayaking is the thing for you. The key is to find an activity that resonates with you and moves your body in a way that feels enjoyable. To turn up the fun factor even more, create an upbeat playlist to instantly make any workout more invigorating.

Establish a Routine That Sticks

While the mental health perks of exercise are compelling, consistency is key to reaping the benefits long-term. Aim to incorporate physical activity into your weekly routine, whether it’s a daily walk after work, weekend hikes, or dance parties with your kids in the living room. Setting a recurring schedule makes it more likely that exercise will become an ingrained habit. Lay out your workout clothes or pack your gym bag the night before to remove any barriers in the morning. Recruit a friend or family member to join the fun—having an accountability partner can make a world of difference. 

As you dive into your exercise journey, remember: progress over perfection. Some days you might crave an intense sweat session, while other days, simply moving your body mindfully is good enough. Exercise is about much more than burning calories or clocking time at the gym. The goal isn’t to push yourself to exhaustion, but rather, to foster a lifestyle of joyful movement that you look forward to. Over time, this self-care ritual will become second nature. 

Whether you’re seeking stress relief, a mood boost, or simply a way to quiet your mind, exercise offers a holistic path to improved mental wellbeing. So get ready to incorporate exercise into your routine and move your way to a healthier version of you.

Developing a Gratitude Practice During National Stress Awareness Month

April is National Stress Awareness Month—the perfect reminder to pause, take a deep breath, and tune into your total wellbeing. But let’s face it: every month deserves a healthy dose of mental health TLC. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one way to combat stress and roll with life’s inevitable punches. 

Here are some tips for developing a sustainable gratitude practice that will have you feeling cool, calm, and collected in no time.

The Importance of Gratitude

Life can throw us curveballs left and right, making stress an all-too-common byproduct of our daily routines. But gratitude can be your secret weapon against the chaos. Research shows that regularly acknowledging the good stuff—even the little things—can significantly reduce stress levels and boost overall happiness. Not only does pausing to say “thank you” help us navigate rough patches with resilience, but it also enhances our relationships, promotes a more positive outlook, and can even give our physical health a boost.  

Getting Started: Baby Steps

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of a gratitude practice? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Start small by incorporating gratitude into your existing routine. That could mean kicking off your morning by jotting down three things you’re grateful for in a journal—maybe it’s the warmth of the sun on your face, a cozy bed to wake up in, or the smell of freshly brewed coffee. No matter how seemingly insignificant, starting your day with a dose of gratitude sets the tone for positivity. 

Mindful Moments: Pause and Appreciate

In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to get swept away by stress and overlook the little joys around us. Periodically pause throughout your day to tune into the here and now. Take a deep breath, look around, and notice the small things that bring you joy. Whether it’s a heartfelt conversation with a friend, a delicious meal shared with loved ones, or a peaceful moment spent in nature, practicing mindfulness allows gratitude to naturally follow suit.  


Spread the Love: Share Your Gratitude

Gratitude is like a boomerang—it comes back to you twofold when you express it to others. Take a moment to share your appreciation for the special people in your life. Who are three individuals you’re grateful for today? Reach out with a thoughtful text, give them a call, or simply check in and let them know how much they mean to you. Remember: spreading gratitude not only lifts up others, it also fills your own cup. 

Gratitude on the Go: Incorporating It Everywhere

Who says gratitude must be limited to your journal or meditation practice? Get creative and find ways to sprinkle it into every aspect of your day. Turn your commute into a gratitude session by reflecting on the blessings you encountered. Create a “gratitude jar” at work and encourage colleagues to join you in jotting down moments of appreciation. Involve your kids by starting a nightly tradition at the dinner table where each family member shares one good thing that happened to them that day. Not only does this foster a sense of gratitude, but it also creates precious bonding moments.

You don’t need fancy tools or apps to cultivate gratitude (although those can be handy!). Whether you’re scribbling in a notebook, typing notes on your phone, or simply taking a mental picture, gratitude is accessible to everyone.

Final Thoughts: Keep Calm and Gratitude On

Gratitude can be an effective tool in your self-care toolkit when facing life’s inevitable ups and downs. During National Stress Awareness Month (and every month!), make it a priority to bring more gratitude into your life. Remember, even on the stormiest of days, there’s always something—however small—worthy of appreciation.   

If stress ever feels overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out for extra support. Whether through therapy, meditation, or leaning on loved ones, you have a wide circle of care surrounding you.

Navigating Social Anxiety in a Digital World

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, providing ways to access news, stay informed, and maintain connections with friends and loved ones. However, with it comes the risk of causing anxiety or unease as we compare our real-life experiences to the carefully curated images on our screens.

While screen time may be on the rise, anxiety doesn’t need to be. Here are some tips to reclaim control of your social media habits, steering clear of FOMO (the fear of missing out) and the all-too-familiar “doom scroll.”

Embrace Mindful Social Media Usage

The first way to manage social media anxiety is to be mindful of how you use it. Pay attention to what cues trigger excessive social media time. For instance, do you scroll when you’re sad, sleepy, or looking for distraction? Understand what it is you’re really looking for in these moments. If you’re tired, consider going for a walk or taking a nap. If you’re feeling down, you may choose to write in a journal or call up a friend.  

Mindful social media usage also involves being aware of how the content you consume affects your mood and mental wellbeing. Ask yourself how posts or interactions tend to impact you, and don’t hesitate to unfollow or mute accounts that consistently leave you feeling anxious or inadequate. Remember: It is YOUR social media experience. It’s ok to curate your platforms to prioritize positivity and inspiration. 

Practice Self-Compassion

In the age of curated online personas, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison and self-doubt. Instead of measuring your worth against others’ highlight reels, be kind to yourself and remember that what you see online is often a carefully cultivated version of reality. Show yourself compassion and focus on your own journey rather than comparing it to others’.

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend in a similar situation. When you notice critical thoughts arising, counter them with encouragement and support. Remember that everyone experiences struggles and setbacks—even those who seem to have a perfect life on social media.

Seek Support and Connection

Social media can sometimes heighten feelings of sadness or loneliness, especially for those already grappling with anxiety. However, it can also be a powerful tool for connecting with others who share similar experiences. Seek out online communities and support groups where you can share your experience and receive understanding from others who can relate.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional for support. Opening up about your feelings and experiences can ease some of the burden and offer helpful insights and perspectives.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial for managing your social media experience successfully. Take charge of how much time you spend on social media and be in the driver’s seat when it comes to when and where you use it.

Consider implementing “no-phone zones” or dedicated times each day to disconnect and focus on other things. There are many tools and apps that can help with this. Your device likely offers settings to limit screen time and prompts to exit social media apps and other programs after a designated time or duration. By setting boundaries around your screen time, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and focus on the activities that bring you greater joy and meaning.

Embrace Mindful Social Media Usage

The first way to manage social media anxiety is to be mindful of how you use it. Pay attention to what cues trigger excessive social media time. For instance, do you scroll when you’re sad, sleepy, or looking for distraction? Understand what it is you’re really looking for in these moments. If you’re tired, consider going for a walk or taking a nap. If you’re feeling down, you may choose to write in a journal or call up a friend.  

Mindful social media usage also involves being aware of how the content you consume affects your mood and mental wellbeing. Ask yourself how posts or interactions tend to impact you, and don’t hesitate to unfollow or mute accounts that consistently leave you feeling anxious or inadequate. Remember: It is YOUR social media experience. It’s ok to curate your platforms to prioritize positivity and inspiration. 

Focus on Real-Life Connections

While social media can facilitate connections, it’s important not to neglect real-life interactions. Make an effort to nurture offline relationships and prioritize face-to-face interactions whenever possible. Spending time with loved ones in person can alleviate anxiety and be a powerful mood-booster.

Consider scheduling regular social activities or outings with friends and family members to maintain meaningful connections offline. Engaging in shared experiences and hobbies can strengthen bonds and provide opportunities for growth and connection.

Navigating anxiety in today’s complex digital world can be challenging, but with mindfulness and intention, it is possible to minimize its impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Remember: It’s ok to take breaks, ask for help, and put yourself first.