May is Mental Health Month, some of our favorite self care resources

This month we’re taking the time to reflect on what brings us joy, what calms us, and what helps us feel like we are centered and moving forward. We’re taking baby steps towards our goals and leaping towards being healthier happier humans. For some of us that means turning inward, finding little ways to improve our peace of mind, and for others pushing the system to be better is what helps us feel like we are at our best.

As the great Ron Swanson once said, “I’m gonna just stay angry. I find that relaxes me.” So for those of you with the audacity to step out and speak up, here are some ways you can get involved this month!

Hogg Foundation of Mental Health

This is a large foundation here in Austin Texas that partners with communities to change policies on mental health. As they put it, they are here “to strengthen conditions that support mental health and eliminate conditions that harm mental health.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas

This is a national group that advocates for mental health awareness and pro mental health policy across the country. Our local chapter can help you learn how to be a better advocate for your own and others mental health while also giving you access to events and programs that are pro mental health!

Pick your own favorite political, medical, or social justice affirming public group, be that Equality Texas, Planned Parenthood, OutYouth-- honestly these are just some of my favorites, but remember that mental health is incredibly tied to physical health and overall well being, so pick your favorite group right now, someone that you feel has your back, and make an effort to support them as well!

Last, but not least, try something small but with a reach; normalizing mental health by discussing it sincerely with a friend or loved one or finding a way to ask for something you need this month and then receiving that which you needed and talking about it. It feels tiny but you’re impacting your group as well, spreading that love.

We decided to ask the staff about what they do for themselves and others to support their own mental health.

Maiya Evans - Social Media Director - With mental health being treated as something that the proverbial "we" don't speak about in the black community I have had/am having a lot of trouble actually taking care of myself not just physically, but mentally as well.

As of late my biggest stride / first step on this journey of taking care of my mental health is telling people-- mainly my mom. The act of acknowledging how I'm feeling and the validation from sharing has helped in major ways.

Gabrielle Aguilar - Head of Layout & Design - I grew up normalizing mental health issues. I didn't even have an "Oh this is not good for my health, this is not actually normal" moment until I was a teenager that started to see every emotion and past distress pour out of me in my creative practices. The biggest revelation for my mental health was understanding that if I needed to walk out of a toxic situation, or cut myself away from toxic people, it is completely okay. Family or not. I've been a much better person since this realization and I have been so grateful to have a sister that is not only my #1 fan, but willing to sit me down and tell me when I am being ridiculous.

Melina Perez - Creative Director - Things I do for mental health are driving around listening to music I love and singing loudly to it, taking really hot/long showers, my hair care routine because it's a long process I can take my time on and I allocate time to just focusing on that one thing and forgetting everything else, and ranting to my mom. Oh also, buying things for my puppy because I like seeing him wiggle with excitement for a new toy or treat!

Erin Kuykendall - Editor in Chief - Things I do for mental health are going to my therapist once a week, taking long showers, and remembering that self care doesn't need to be capitalistic even though that's what we're sold it as. I don't need to buy something new, although sometimes that helps too. Sometimes my self care is making a list of all the things giving my anxiety and slowly taking care of them and myself.

Ian Verjat - Guest Writer - As an extrovert, I love hanging out with people-- especially over good food. If I’ve had a hard week I want to either go out or cook something really extravagant and have a bottle of good, but reasonably priced wine (spending triggers some anxiety usually). If we aren’t hanging out over food I want to be hanging out with mi gente, so people who are also in the activism scene or actively at an activist event, those are mi gente.  In my day to day I meditate, exercise and spend time with my dog to chill out.

Take care of yourself and take care of others, fam.

-Ian Verjat

The Audacity