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Caring for your mental health

Updated: Apr 30

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s also one of the busiest months for teachers. Between wrapping up your classroom, the start of summer activities and the million other things on your to-do list, you might be feeling overwhelmed.

Can we suggest that, just for a minute, you take a breath and remember to take care of yourself, too? There is no need to add another thing to your to-do list. Just keep reading…


Why mental health care is so important

Too often, we focus on our physical health without paying much attention to our mental health. We take multivitamins, get annual physicals and take sick days when we’re ill. But when was the last time you had a mental health check-up? (Behavioral health office visits are 100% covered by your health plan.) Or intentionally did something to nurture your mental health?

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health, and each can affect the other. For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Similarly, chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness. (CDC)

When you take care of yourself both physically and mentally, your overall health improves; you become more resilient and find ways to manage stress in a healthy way. (SAMHSA)

Tips for nurturing your mental health

Incorporating one or some of these habits into your daily routine can help support your overall mental wellness:

  • Get outside. Time out of doors can calm your mind and improve overall health.

  • Connect with friends and loved ones. Connecting with others can reduce anxiety and provide a positive outlook.

  • Take a moment. Mindfulness practices, like yoga or medication, help you learn how to give your mind a break when you need it.

  • Pet your pup or cuddle your cat. Pets help lower stress and increase endorphins, both of which support mental wellness.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Your grandmother was right: With a good night’s sleep, you can better face the world.

  • Eat well. Nutritious food supports your mind as well as your body.

  • Exercise. Moving your body daily is essential to good overall health.

  • Be kind. Doing something kind for others has a boomerang effect and boosts your own mood and outlook.

Resources for those experiencing a mental illness

But what can you do when it seems like nothing makes you feel better?

The first step is to get help. If you’re experiencing a mental health concern, working with professionals who are trained to address your condition can help. There’s a wealth of resources available to you, so reach out. The first step is always the hardest, but it could be the most important one you take on your healing journey.

Learn about the mental health resources provided through your MNPS health plan.

You can also find help through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. It offers supportive tools that include:


  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, a free, 24-hour, confidential support for people in distress; call or text 988 or chat

  • Helpline for treatment referral and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention and recovery in English and Spanish; call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

  • Information about treatment options and healthcare professionals and facilities that can help with mental health, drug and alcohol issues


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