TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Dr. Lucy, lead therapist at Footprints Beachside Recovery says it’s a good time to assess how you’re doing and commit to making checking in on your mental health, part of your regular routine.
“It’s more of a comparison, an inventory of comparing yourself to yourself,” she explains.
Dr. Lucy suggests starting with a look at your overall mood and noting whether there are any major fluctuations in it.
She says, “there tends to be a problem if you have really low lows, maybe you can’t get out of bed, where you’re really, really upset. You get really, really anxious or really sad and they go for a longer period of time and then if you have really high, highs as well.”
Dr. Lucy says take stock in how those swings are impacting your everyday life and health. “Maybe you’re gaining some weight, maybe you’re starting to look at things in a more negative light. Maybe you’re not getting along with people you usually get along with.”
She suggests reaching out to close friends and family for their assessment of how you’re doing, too.
Track changes and assessments of your mental health with a log.
“What could be helpful would be to be writing it down, to be taking a notebook and journaling how you’re doing for a couple days period and assessing yourself from there.”
Dr. Lucy also encourages people to reach out for support. Start with a self-assessment and then seek people to talk to, whether that’s starting with a friend, or reaching out for counseling.
She also suggests local groups as resources, with shared interests, “because a lot of us haven’t been as social and that’s another area that can be helpful, just being around other people.”
When it comes to counseling, Dr. Lucy says be prepared to shop around. “It’s kind of like dating, there’s nothing wrong with trying someone out or maybe meet a couple different people and see which one works for you.”
Think about attributes that are important in your relationships as well, she says. “What are some things that you want in a person that you like in your friends, or the people that you can trust. What are some of those qualities?”