May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Today is Cinco de Mayo and all weekend, maybe month-long it will be celebrated with fiestas. A Cinco de Mayo fiesta can be a great way to alleviate stress, enhance one’s mood and improve one's mental health!
Mental Health & Cinco de Mayo
Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being, influencing cognitive, perceptive, and behavioral activities within one’s life. Cinco de Mayo is a time to celebrate and honor Mexican heritage. If you live in America this is a great time to take part in festivities, learning something about someone else’s culture that may not be your own; not making the day about consumerism, but about good mental health amongst people you know or may not know and even a time to bring praise to yourself. You deserve to be honored for just being you, there is no harm in that and know that it is okay to show yourself, some self-love today and every day that you live on this earth.
5 Reasons to Engage in Cinco de Mayo!
1) Celebration: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo can give you something to look forward to and create a sense of excitement and happiness.
a. Dance to some upbeat music mariachi band to make the experience even more enjoyable and to relieve excess stress. Bring harmony back to your space by having a good time, swaying your body to music.
b. Decorate: Set the mood by decorating your space with Mexican-inspired decorations such as papel picado, sombreros, and colorful tablecloths.
c. Food and drinks: Mexican cuisine is delicious and perfect for a fiesta! It is a time to make tacos, quesadillas, guacamole, and salsa, and serve them with margaritas or your favorite Mexican beer. (Now if drinking alcohol has a negative impact on you, try a mock tail) We designed a recipe book for Cinco de Mayo consisting of healthy foods and drinks to celebrate the season that are easy to make and tasty too.
2) Social Connection: Gathering with friends and family, heck even strangers to celebrate can provide a sense of social connection and belonging, which is important for mental health. People of all ages can find some joy while engaging with one another. Why? Because we are living in an age where so many people are lonely and in pain.
a. Get out and do something different and engage with new people. Say “Hello” to a stranger. Remember if you want something different you must do some things differently.
3) Mindfulness: Participating in activities such as decorating, cooking, and playing games can be a form of mindfulness, which has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental health.
a. Engaging in games like piñata, lotería, and Mexican bingo is always fun at a fiesta. You can also set up a photo booth with props for some great memories that will last a lifetime.
b. Chit-chatting and laughing are simple things in life that make people feel good because they help the body relax and release stress. Conversation and laughter can be healing to the soul; they are helpful tools to help remind us to there is more to life than being upset. While here on earth we can all find something to be grateful for even amid a storm.
4) Relaxation: Taking a break from daily responsibilities to enjoy some good food, music, and company can be a great way to relax and reduce stress.
a. Remember that the point of a fiesta is to have fun and relax, so don't stress out about the details, and try to be perfect. Take the time to take in the food, enjoy the music, and the company of your friends and family. All those in front of you are important enough to have your undivided attention.
5) Positive Emotions: Engaging in activities that bring positive emotions, such as happiness and enjoyment, can boost mood and improve mental health.
a. If you want to be unconventional, they do it. Go to the movies, pamper yourself. Do something you enjoy no matter how simple it may be. This is your life, and it is important for you to engage in self-care activities that are important to you.
b. Read a book.
c. Take a break from life’s stressors.
d. Reflect on things you are thankful for.
In conclusion, Cinco de Mayo can be a fun and festive time to improve your mental health by providing social connection, relaxation, mindfulness, and positive emotions. Just remember to prioritize your mental health and practice self-care as you celebrate with others or alone! You deserve to live your best life every day that you have breath, so get to it.