May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and now more than ever, it’s essential to consider additional ways to practice self-care and more natural living to encourage better mental health. Below we’re outlining some of the statistics surrounding mental health in America and a few ways you can work towards feeling your best in the meantime. 

The state of mental health in America 

According to a report by Mental Health America, almost 20% of Americans are experiencing a mental illness. Of those with a mental illness, 27 million are going without treatment— over half. Even more concerning is that 11% of those with a mental illness are uninsured. 

However, even without a diagnosed mental illness, 51% of Americans feel burnt out every day, according to a study by Kelton Global. Only 30% of people make time for self-care and stress relief from their busy lives, and 1 in 3 people feel guilty for practicing self-care. 

But the thing about mental illnesses and feelings of stress and anxiety is that the symptoms may ease up a bit with mindful self-care practices in play. Many people have a mental bias against self-care, but at the end of the day, those who consciously try to practice self-care feel better equipped to manage their lives, take control of their health, and feel more connected to their loved ones. 

Below are a few natural things that may help you improve your mental health. Even if you feel guilty about putting yourself first, looking out for yourself may help with many different aspects of your physical and mental health. 

5 Things That May Improve Your Mental Health 

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to practicing self-care and working towards getting your mental health on track, these tips may be a great place to start. Everyone’s life looks different, so some of these tips may not work for you. But if you’re looking for things that may help you feel better, start here.

1. Get hugs 

Touch plays a significant role in mental health, and many Americans are touch starved. Evidence suggests that touch is vital for solidifying bonds and reducing anxiety— which is part of the reason it’s so necessary for newborn babies. Physical contact releases oxytocin in the brain, which may help with anxiety and depressive feelings. It also promotes relaxation and a mental lift that may make you feel overall more positive about life. Opt for a long hug from a loved one or take the time to get a massage. You can even trick your brain into producing oxytocin and serotonin with a weighted blanket that simulates a hug’s pressure. 

2. Turn your phone off 

Technology may be making us more stressed and anxious than ever before. We’re not really meant to be accessible to others and open to the doom and gloom of the world at all times. Evidence suggests that social media is also taking a major toll on mental health and self-confidence, so take some time to unplug from the TV, your phone, the news, and the internet once in a while. A break here and there allows us to be more present-minded, which enables us to connect deeper with nature, ourselves, and each other. You don’t have to swear off it entirely, but taking an hour or so to enjoy a meal with your family might be a great step toward reducing your stress levels.  

3. Try CBD and other natural remedies 

The human body itself is kind of a mess. The occasional bout of anxiety, headache, or pain isn’t an uncommon thing, especially as we get older. But not everything calls for a doctor’s visit— especially if you’re already crazy busy as it is. Some evidence suggests that teas and essential oils may play a role in reducing stress and anxiety or some of the yucky feelings associated with being sick, so those are always an option. However, lots of evidence seems to be pointing to CBD for many factors that contribute to poor mental health. CBD may help with stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, a lack of appetite, pain, and even inflammation. Why? It seems to have a balancing effect on the nervous system, which may help with keeping your brain chemistry at its optimal levels. This effect plays a role in stress, depression, and anxiety by triggering the regular release of hormones like cortisol, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone or estrogen, which all play a role in mood and sleep. CBD oils or CBD gummies taken daily for 30 days may help you feel more level-headed. 

4. Go for walks 

Walking improves your physical health, but it may also help with your mental health too. While you’re out there getting some fresh air, you’re also recharging your batteries with sunlight. People are like really complicated house plants. Sun, water, and good nutrition may help you look and feel your best. But aside from the analogy, there is some evidence to suggest that time in nature and quiet with your thoughts feels refreshing and therapeutic. These effects may help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your bones. Connections between people also plays a role in mood and mental health, so you may also want to try walking with your loved ones or friends, too. Have a good conversation on a walk in the sunshine away from technology and see how you feel. 

5. Drink lots of water 

Like we said above, you’re basically a houseplant with complicated emotions, and sometimes you just need a good watering. Most Americans aren’t drinking enough water and are taking in too much sugar. But water is vital to physical and mental health. Studies have shown that drinking plenty of water might lower your risk of depression and anxiety because it may improve your brain function. Water provides energy to the brain and flushes toxins out of your system, making it easier for your neurons to communicate. Not getting enough water leads to dehydration, which affects weight and energy levels as well as the appearance of your skin and your digestive system’s function. As an adult, you should be drinking at least 64oz of water a day and more if you’re also drinking sugary sodas, energy drinks, coffee, or alcohol. 

All in all, there are several things you can do to help potentially reduce your stress and anxiety, improve your moods, forge deeper connections, and battle depression. The decisions you make every day can help you manage your emotions, fears, and stresses while also ensuring your body feels its best to reduce feelings of burnout. Between exercise, time alone, time with loved ones, and natural remedies, you’re well on your way to feeling your best and consciously improving your mental health. Whatever life throws at you, The Hemptender has you covered with wholesome hemp and CBD products that may help you feel your best and experience the most authentic version of mental health and wellbeing in your lifestyle.