Now, more than ever, we need to prioritize taking care of our mental health. One in five Americans lives with some form of mental health challenge but treatments and supports are constantly improving. There are also many helpful, free smartphone apps. To learn more, visit this federal government information website.
Here are some 10 ideas for taking care of your mental health in the Halloween month of October. I’d love to hear your ideas, too!
1. Watch a scary or suspenseful movie. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, watching something scary can actually relieve your symptoms temporarily and make you feel better. I have tried this and it actually works! This short film is only 2 minutes long but it will scare you!
2. Eat a little chocolate. Here’s another reason to eat Halloween candy: chocolate has powerful compounds in it and has been shown to improve depression. For even more health benefits, try 70% cocoa dark chocolate. In addition to making people feel happier, dark chocolate can stabilize blood sugar, raise metabolism and help people lose weight.
3. Adopt a black cat. Black cats do not get adopted as much as other cats but they make great pets. Consider adopting an adult cat. In a survey, 87% of cat owners said their cat helped them with their mental health. A pet can also lower your blood pressure, make you feel less lonely during quarantine, give you a feeling of purpose, help you sleep better and get you moving.
I want one! Can you think of some good black cat names?
4. Have a good laugh. Laughter has lots of mental health benefits. Here is a playlist of some favorite Halloween episodes.
5. Eat some pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are not only good for you, they are rich in magnesium, which can help calm you and promotes sleep. You can get some for a good price at Target (Archer Farms brand in the section of seasonal snacks near the front of the store).
6. Rake some leaves. Raking and bagging leaves is a good workout — especially for your upper body and core. You can burn about 300 calories. Being active outside relieves stress and improves mood, memory, anxiety and depression. It can also help you sleep better at night. Plus you have the satisfaction of seeing the results of your work.
7. Drift off to sleep with a non-scary, healing, Halloween-themed sleep story for adults. His voice is very soothing. I don’t know how it ends, because I fell asleep!
8. Add treats to your medication routine. Do you use a weekly pill organizer to remember to take your medications? Do you forget sometimes? How about this idea: put a candy corn kernel, gummi bear, M&M or Reeses Piece in each section. The novelty and treat may help you remember to take your pills everyday, on time.
9. Listen to some Halloween music. Listening to music helps relieve stress. Here is a collection of Halloween-themed classical music and another of vintage Halloween tunes. You can listen to these for free on YouTube.
10. Need something to do with your hands while you listen to these spooky tunes? You can print and color this free Halloween mandala or purchase an adult coloring book. Coloring with pencils, gel pens, markers or crayons is good for your mental health. It’s so relaxing! It puts your mind into a meditative state, especially if you color mandalas. This mindfulness activity relieves anxiety and can help replace negative thoughts with postive ones.
Today is the day the World Health Organization has designated at World Mental Health Day. It is intended to raise awareness about the mental health needs of people around the world. The WHO is sponsoring an online global advocacy event today.