May is Mental Health Awareness Month – so we’re devoting some extra time and attention to making sure we’re taking care this month. We think that talking about mental health is the first step toward maintaining (and even improving) it, so we asked you a simple question: What works best for you?

Thanks to all who answered the call in issue 118 and on Instagram, we compiled a short list of tips and resources.

While these aren’t meant to substitute seeking professional help, we loved your advice for practical ways to pay a little more attention ~within~ this month:

“I budget 4 hours every other week for “life admin” — I literally put it on my calendar. Check bank account/FSA numbers, respond to texts I dropped the ball on, wash my car, call my grandma, scrub the shower, replace the screws in my glasses, and all the other annoying tasks accumulated in my phone notes. It’s boring, but it makes me address tasks I procrastinate on that cause me to feel unsettled/frazzled. Afterwards, my anxiety levels plummet and I feel like I accomplished something. Wash, rinse, repeat.” - Kelly L.

“The Headspace app. Mindfulness and its guided meditations have completely transformed my mental health.” - Katie

“Since starting to use the Five Minute Gratitude Journal I’ve seen a huge shift in my mindset. I feel more patient, positive and joyful in my everyday life. It’s made me more self-aware about my thoughts and actions, and how they effect my mood and overall wellbeing!” - Alex S.

“For me, self-care is impossible if I don’t have collective care. That’s why I started a Whatsapp group for a few of my trusted and beloved coworker friends and fellow women of color. It’s a safer space for us to come together, air our grievances, validate the challenges we’re each facing, strategize together, and boost each other up. It’s not a magic bullet solution to the systemic oppression we face in different ways, but it’s a small way to foster solidarity and community care – and it’s rife with hilarious GIFs.” - Michelle T.

“Ashley Neese’s new book How to Breathe has brought me back from two panic attacks in the last week alone… her book was a real game changer for me.” - Amanda

“I set a goal at the beginning of 2019 to unfollow 300 people by the end of 2019. These are the people that I wouldn’t say hi to if I randomly saw them in public. Unfollowing 100 people so far has decreased my time on Instagram significantly!!” - Danielle K.

“Clearing my nightstand completely (just glasses and a glass of water) and sleeping with my phone WAY out of reach.” - Jacqueline S.

“I picked up canvases and paints at Michael’s to get back into painting. It helped me so much when I was going through a rough patch in college, and I’m excited to start up again. It can be really soothing to pay attention to and perfect the tiny details, and then you get a cool piece of art out of it!” - Adelaide C.

“I meditate most days, and try to cultivate awareness around my thoughts and work on changing the thoughts that don’t serve me.” - Allison F.

“Every single day I block out 30 minutes for me and I make sure I do not schedule over it. I use this time to either take a silent walk in a park close to my house, meditate, walk the dogs, or whatever I want it to be as long as it is not focused around anything to do with work.” - Lindsey E.

“I put negative people on 30 day blocks all the time, which is super easy to do. Nobody knows they have been put on a timeout. Taking control of what comes across my feed keeps that constant flow of unhappiness out of sight. I don’t need that anger and ugliness clogging my feed.” - Marisa M.

“The first is cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. I try to practice mindfulness on a daily basis, it helps me stay in the present. Yoga is my outlet as well. It builds self-awareness and strength. I would encourage this practice for anyone struggling with mental health issues!” - Nicole C.

“I meditate most days, and try to cultivate awareness around my thoughts and work on changing the thoughts that don’t serve me.” - Allison F.

“I took my first meditation class when I was a senior in college, stressed about leaving and starting grad school. This week, I purchased a Headspace subscription (1 year is only $9.99 for students!) and it’s been great so far! You can pick guided meditations for a variety of topics (stress, anxiety, focus, productivity, appreciating nature, etc.), and they have a variety of lengths, from 1 minute up to more than 20 minutes. When I’m struggling to focus at my desk, I’ll do a quick meditation. I’ve also used them for sleep. It’s wonderful – highly recommend!!!” - Maren L.

“If people are seeking out mental health counseling, there’s a great “find a therapist” tool on where you can search by zip code for all types of mental health providers in your area, and get info on everything from their specialties, methods of payment, and insurances accepted to choose a provider who feels like the best fit for you.” - Deanna L.

“I’ve been really stressed at work lately. So to fight that I listen to short 5 minute guided meditations on Spotify (free.99) at my desk or in the single occupancy bathroom when I need to escape for a moment.” - Taylor

“I work with a therapist on the regular, once or twice a month, practicing cognitive behavioral therapy” - Allison F.

“I have two journals, Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration and Made Out of Stars, that help readers become more introspective and aligned with the world they live in. I also wrote My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown, which is a series of illustrated essays. It’s a beautiful meditation on fear and how it can help us become who we really are, if we let it.” - Meera L.P.

“Group therapy has been so helpful! it’s really great to plug in to an empathic community 🦋👍🏻 would recommend to anyone for any varying degree of mental (or physical) health struggle. 🧡” - Cristina M.

“If I’m at work and need a break, I just step out to my car and take a nap. It really does help me. I also practice Jiu Jitsu. It’s my workout and it really helps me deal with my anxiety and stress.” - Sarai V.

“I ABSOLUTELY recommend subscribing to Option B (Sheryl Sandberg’s book/online community) when holidays are tough due to grief or loss.” - Mandy P.

Lede image art by Sarah Jones via @sarahjones_art.

Do you have tips you want to share on how to boost your mental health? Comment below!