There’s no better year than 2020 to honor the significance of World Mental Health Day.

As we’re nearing nearly nine months of a global pandemic, we're feeling the real impacts that COVID-19 and all the lifestyle changes that come with it—from quarantining to working on the frontlines to remote schooling—have had on our collective mental health.

With one in five U.S. adults experiencing mental illness every year, and the number of those impacted by the mental health crisis only increasing, it's important to remember: You’re not alone if you’ve been struggling with various forms of grief, anxiety, stress, and loss of motivation.

World Mental Health Day was first started in 1992 as a way to promote mental health advocacy—and it brings one key element to discussions of mental health that are important all-year long: Community.

When you're open with others about your self-care journey and your mental health, you're building a more compassionate and empathetic world. In fact, 52% of Shine members say this year has caused them to talk about their mental health more than in previous years. That conversation can lead to so much personal growth—and can lead to the de-stigmatization of mental illness. Plus, it can help people seek the help they need to navigate through life’s ups and downs.

For World Mental Health Day—or any day you need a dose of community care in your life—reflect on how you can care for your mental health with your community. Here are some tips.

1. Start A Conversation

We get it—talking about your mental health can be hard. But opening up to someone else can help you feel seen and supported and create a safe space for them to do the same.

Here are some questions to help you reflect on your mental health journey before your conversation—or use them as prompts to start a conversation with someone you love:

●︎ When did you start prioritizing your mental health, and why? ●︎ What have you learned about yourself since starting your self-care journey? ●︎ How have you challenged yourself to grow since prioritizing your mental health? ●︎ What are your current needs when it comes to caring for yourself? ●︎ What habits or routines can you let go of? ●︎ Who inspires your self-care journey—and why?

2. Meditate Together

It might seem counterintuitive to invite someone else into your meditation practice, but studies show that meditating together—otherwise known as “dyadic meditation”—can help bring you closer to others.

If you’re not sure where to start, invite someone to hit play at the same time as you on a meditation in the Shine app. Afterward: Talk about what feelings and sensations came up during the practice.

Meditating with someone can help you feel closer and create a space where you can then be vulnerable. It’s a great way to kick off conversations and connect on a deeper level.

3. Find An Accountability Buddy

Doing something alone can be rewarding, but there’s a strength that comes with asking for help. If you’re seeking community and companionship in your self-care journey as you prioritize your mental health, finding an accountability buddy can be a way to get that support.

There’s no one-size-fits-all mold for what an accountability partner looks like, so make sure you have time to reflect on your needs and can also match up the needs of someone else.

If it works out, you can try incorporating things like regular check-ins, shared journal prompts, and reflecting with insightful questions together.

They can hold you accountable if you’re trying to take on new habits or can help point out any routines that might not be serving you any longer—and you can do the same.

Overall, use this World Mental Health Day to spark conversations with yourself and others and explore what mental health care can look like together.

Remember: You don't have to go through it alone.

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