To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this May, AASP invites you to join our 30-Day Mental Health Challenge: a series of daily tasks to bring mental health to the forefront of your mind and allow you to take a moment for restorative self-care.
AASP will share a daily activity throughout the month of May and encourages you to share your journey with the AASP community using the challenge hashtag #AASPMentalHealthChallenge.
1. Do a breathing exercise.
Focusing on your breathing and taking three deep breaths will create a sense of calm in the mind and body.
2. Try a 5-minute meditation.
Being alone with your thoughts can seem daunting but even a quick meditation can encourage a mentally clear and emotionally calm, stable state. As with sport, you become better at meditation with practice.
3. Try a yoga or stretching class.
Even light movement can reduce stress in your body and clear distracting or cluttered thoughts from your mind.
4. Go for a mid-day walk at lunch.
A walk outside helps reset and re-energize you mentally and physically for the rest of your work day.
5. Take 10 minutes to stretch during the workday.
Taking small breaks for yourself to show care to your body throughout the day helps build stamina and decreases feelings of burnout.
6. Drink more water.
Not only does hydration have a plethora of mental and physical benefits, but drinking more water gives you a healthy goal that is attainable every day if you maintain focus and stay mindful.
7. Go for a mindful walk.
Walking while observing your surroundings – without looking at your phone or listening to music – is a great exercise in being present.
8. Spend time on a hobby.
What better way to boost your mood and mental wellness than to engage in a task you enjoy?
9. Listen to your favorite music.
Music has a powerful effect on the brain. Your favorite song can change your mindset and offer a mood boost.
10. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual.
There’s nothing more important than sleep. You’d be surprised what an extra 30 minutes can do.
11. Have a phone-free night.
Unplug and recharge your body and mind. Increased screen time has been correlated with increased levels of depression. Putting down the phone could be a small step toward bettering your mental health.
12. Start a gratitude journal.
Write down something good that happens each day. Cultivating gratitude is a skill that enhances mental well-being. Unsure how to get started?
13. Give a shoutout to someone you value.
Celebrate them and your relationship. Both of you will feel good after this!
14. Take a rest day.
To maintain a high level of energy, productivity, and contentment, make time to get the rest your body needs. A rest day is beneficial to recharge for peak performance.
15. Practice self-care.
Taking time to care for yourself with a rejuvenating activity has both short-term and long-term benefits for mental well-being.
16. Have a laugh.
Laughter is the best medicine. Watch a comedy special or your favorite funny movie.
17. Learn how to talk about mental illness.
Talking it out can increase compassion and empathy for yourself and others, while helping to defeat the stigma associated with mental illness. Here are some resources for talking about mental health for parents, educators, friends, family members, caregivers, and others close to you.
18. Read about mental wellness tips.
Taking a proactive and preventative stance to mental health is beneficial both for yourself and those around you. Research the best resources and practices for managing mental wellness before it’s urgent.
19. Pay it forward.
Buy a stranger’s coffee. A small act of kindness goes a long way and can turn around your day – and the stranger’s!
20. Get outside.
Exposure to natural light increases the body’s synthesis of vitamin D and serotonin, both of which are important for improving mood.
21. Volunteer for a local organization.
Volunteering locally – grocery runs or check ins with seniors, for example – and getting to know your neighbors can help foster your sense of community and belonging.
22. Get creative.
Creative expression, like drawing, painting, and writing, is linked to overall well-being.
23. Dance it out.
Dancing reduces levels of cortisol and increases endorphins, so put on your favorite song and have a dance party for an instantly elevated mood.
24. Eat some dark chocolate.
Flavonoids, caffeine, and theobromine in chocolate are thought to work together to improve alertness and mental skills.
25. Take up coloring.
Coloring helps to clear the mind and reduce anxiety.
26. Eat a nutritious meal.
Incorporate fruits, vegetables, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and legumes into your diet to protect your brain. Sugar and processed foods can lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, which may contribute to mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.
27. Tidy up your space.
If the space in which you live and work is cluttered, your mind will also be cluttered! With so many of us working from home, it’s important that your space is a place you want to be.
28. Learn a new skill.
Learning a new skill requires a lot of focus which takes thoughts away from current stressors and can shift perspective.
29. Plant something.
Taking care of something other than yourself has many mental benefits. Plant life and natural beauty has been proven to increase memory retention and creativity as well as aid in stress reduction and reduction in symptoms of depression.
30. Sing your favorite tune.
Music has mood-boosting effects, and singing helps regulate breathing and decrease anxiety.