May is full of events and activities that can potentially trigger mental health issues. For adults and teenagers who suffer from anxiety, social activities can trigger a reaction and May is full of social obligations. It is no coincidence, then, that May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
In May, high school graduations and proms take place. Both of these events can be anxiety inducing for teenagers at a very vulnerable time in their life. Both boys and girls worry about their appearance and acceptance at prom. Will their chosen date accept the invitation? Will someone else be wearing the same dress? What if they experience a stress-fueled facial breakout? Will their grades be good enough to graduate on time? What will they do after graduation? College? Trade school? Work force? And, sadly, some even wonder where they will be living after graduation.
Adults are not immune from May stress. For adults, May brings holidays such as Mother’s Day, Military Spouses Day (May 8th), Memorial Day, and Decoration Day. Of course, parents of teenagers are also dealing with the added pressure of helping their teenager deal with the anxiety and stress of graduation and prom. Opportunities abound in May to give in to stress, depression, and anxiety.
Fortunately, May also provides many opportunities to relieve stress. May brings with it warmer, calmer weather. This provides the opportunity to get outside for a depression-fighting walk with your favorite friend or pet. The warmer weather also provides opportunities to participate in other outdoor mental health activities such as stretching, hula-hooping, and even reading. While these activities can be done indoors, moving outside in to the sunshine increases vitamin-d production. Studies have shown that increasing vitamin-d positively impacts mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder.
In addition to increasing vitamin-d production, being outside exposes you to the nature: the sunlight, the trees, the flowers, and nature’s creatures. For most people, nature has a calming effect. Being in nature reduces anger, fear, anxiety, and stress. In addition, spending as little as 5 minutes outside can increase pleasant feelings. In other words, environments can reduce our stress. As long as the weather is nice, it is beneficial to our mental health to spend some time outside.