Mental Health Awareness Month
Helping students adopt and maintain healthy behaviors is the core of our school counseling program at WRHS. Education and awareness is a critical piece of our students feeling well and making healthy choices.
Mental Health Advisory Presentation
On May 9th, students were presented with a slideshow to promote mental health awareness month. The slideshow focused on practical strategies that help to manage and reduce stress levels. Each homeroom had a chance to do different activities. If you are interested in viewing the presentation, click here.
According to NIMH, self-care is defined as taking the time to do things that help you live well, as well as improve both your physical and mental health. What are some strategies you have practiced that have boosted your mood? This newsletter includes examples of self-care that you can practice to reduce stress if you need some new strategies to add to your toolbox! Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.
Sleep, Exercise, and Diet's Impact on Mental Health
- When life becomes busy, sleep may not be the top priority. Sleep offers the body time to restore and recover. Prolonged sleep loss can affect cognitive functions. Studies have shown that getting a good quality sleep is important. Getting a good night's sleep not only helps with improving your mental health, but it is also helpful in performing well in school.
- Nutrition can affect all aspects of a person's health, including mental health. Studies have shown that young people with healthy diets are about half as likely to have depression than those who eat junk and processed foods. Eating nutritious foods can go a long way in achieving a healthy lifestyle.
- Exercising and getting your body moving have been shown to positively impact mental health as well. Studies have shown that when you move your body, a number of beneficial neurotransmitters, including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and acetylcholine get released into your brain. Whether it is going on a hike or taking a short walk around your neighborhood, adding some movement into your day can boost your mental health.
(Mental Health America, 2022; Sleep Foundation, 2023)
Summer Activities to Reduce Stress
Summer vacation is just weeks away! Here are some fun activities you can try to help relax, rest, and recharge:
- Gardening: Gardening can be a therapeutic experience that helps to ease stress. Go outside and plant some seeds!
- Outdoor Yoga: Yoga is proven to relax your system, release tension, increase focus, and improve symptoms of depression. Stretching your body is a great way to release stress!
- Go For a Hike or Stroll: The state of Massachusetts has plenty of hiking and walking trails to check out. Just walking 30 minutes can relax your mind and boost your mood. Try visiting Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary for a scenic walk or hiking Wachusett Mountain! Bring some friends along too!
- Picnic: Studies have suggested that vitamin D can help symptoms depression. Gather your family or friends and take your lunch outdoors!
- Read a Book Outside: Spending a lot of time on your phone or other technology can negatively impact your mental health. Take a break from your device and find a book that interests you. Read outside to enjoy the warm weather and soak up some vitamin D!
Self-advocacy is defined as the ability to effectively communicate one's needs, rights, and interests. Self-advocacy is critical to your success. Using this as a strategy to cope with your mental health is helpful in communicating your needs before you reach the point of being overwhelmed. Here are some tips to learn how to self-advocate:
- Be self-aware: To advocate for yourself, you need to know yourself. What are your strengths? What are some things that have made you overwhelmed in the past?
- Develop self-confidence: This may seem easier said than done, but having confidence in yourself will help you with communicating your needs.
- Talk to someone: If you are starting to feel overwhelmed by something, reach out to a teacher, your school counselor, or a family member. Talking to someone can help you learn to communicate and verbalize your needs.
Meditation is a mindfulness strategy that helps you relax and bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Whether you have summer plans to travel or not, take a virtual summer trip to Yosemite Valley with the guided mediation below.
Virtual Guided Meditation in Yosemite Valley