No May Or May Not When It Comes To Mental Health!

Mental health is definitive. What are the long-term answers, remedies, interventions, strategies, baby steps then to fight back, take charge and nurture our mental well-being? 

Gunjan Pant Pande
New Update
Dear Zindagi , Mental Health

Let’s start with an affirmation, girls; and I say girls because I mostly spoke to women about their mental health roller coaster, however if this stuff resonates with you – he/she/they/them – just grab it. No may or may not when it comes to mental health, got it?


To the affirmation then, and it comes from none other than the father of modern medicine the mighty Hippocrates -- 

Before you heal someone, ask them if they’re willing to give up the things that make them sick!

You might want to tattoo that onto your muscle memory gurrl. 

It’s like a Hippocrates Oath that all of us MUST take before the first step in our mental health journey. No point going all the way only to fall right back into the loop of self-destruction, even if triggered externally. No one step forward two steps back, okay? The whole point is to finally prioritise yourself queen. You deserve peace! You have had enough! You can do it! Even if it’s moving an inch a day. 

This May 2024, global Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s first do away with the modalities. There’s no May or May not when it comes to mental health (yes, I know repeated, but that’s the whole idea.)

Collins defines May as a “modal verb used to indicate that something will possibly happen or be true in the future, but you cannot be certain.”


We don’t want the inherent vagueness here. Mental health is definitive. It’s your “forever love” girls – 365x7x24. To be taken for granted at NO point in life. 

Started around mid-1900s, Mental Health Awareness Month is all about bringing attention to the fact that nearly 1 in 5 individuals today experiences some sort of mental health issue, yet only half of them end up getting any treatment. A glaring statistic points to a mind-boggling majority of teens in this category. Another reveals that the total number of women suffering from mental illnesses is nearly 10 % more than men. The scene with LGBTQ and people with disabilities is nasty.

What are the long-term answers, remedies, interventions, strategies, baby steps then to fight back, take charge and nurture our mental well-being? 

Top of the charts solulus among women already into this wonderous path are: 

  • Meeting the gang: Kruthika keeps her circle small but deep, Ritu gets goofy with her kids, X plays with her 11-month-old kitten and Aditi loves long drives with her besties. Anne is big on social media detox and loves talking “to friends who are ready to listen.” Anjali adds a by-note here: stay “away from nasty people,” it’s equally important. 

  • Cooking and eating your favourite food: Anyone else getting a Laapata Ladies vibe here? Cooking can be cathartic. Yes, women have started indulging their palate. Banker Sonu has a chocolate bias; Travel aficionado Suchetra is all for home-cooked and seasonal meals; Soma is a tea buff and SD prioritizes her gut health. Mangal swears by the farm-to-folk ethic. 

  • Deep breathing & meditation: Nearly everyone is today incorporating these calming techniques into their routine. Some wind up with soothing music for a good night’s sleep while others like Vaishali rewire their brains with chanting. The yogic 3-6-3 breathing coupled with anxiety-relieving Huberman Breathwork is also popular apart from the Indian pranayama.

  • Exercise, running, yoga, swimming, moving: If water is very therapeutic for Vandita, it’s dancing in front of a mirror that gives Tabu the best relaxation. HR professional Sanjana prefers to go for long walks alone. “Moving more for our mental health” is one of the themes of #MentalHealthAwareness2024. 

  • Listening to music: Our happy hormones literally dance out here. Can be very specific music for some like country music or instrumental only like solo traveller Shivaani prefers. Whatever the case, the result is PEACE! 

  • Invest in community building: Taking the #bekind movement forward to create a better world is 12-year-old M’s self-care mantra. She’s her society’s green soldier spreading eco-awareness and sunshine in equal measure. A shoulder to lean on, a smile, a gentle touch, words of comfort every small thing matters in a world where loneliness is today a silent killer. Volunteering for causes as college students Neeti and Surabhi do regularly “gives them a sense of purpose and a feeling of giving back to society.” 

  • Disconnect/Recharge: Vidya sets aside a day of doing nothing. CS teacher Rom, has made it a point to get 7 hours of sleep even if it means “slashing my social life majorly.” No late nights, less clubbing and no more FOMO. Sneha sets aside an unwinding routine by cutting out screen time, alcohol and caffeine. 

  • Connect with nature: Be it trekking up Sinhgarh fort with like-minded individuals, watching the waves or just feeling the green grass under your bare feet we all need to connect with nature to let go. It is the best medicine, says Ayurvedic Dr Vandana, quoting a news report that said, “going for a walk was the UK adults’ favourite way of coping with stress during the pandemic in 2020.” 

  • Reading and Journalling: “I read fiction to escape from reality,” admits Ritu. “It helps me maintain calm. I even become a character that in turn evokes imagination and creativity,” Many others are meticulous when it comes to gratitude journalling, blogging, writing poems and filling in their diaries. “Who ek habit hai, aur habit banana padta hai,” laughs K. 

  • The unique mish-mash: other favourites include having a creative outlet, regular massages, mentoring, shopping, getting a hair-cut when things get crazy, taking a conscious break from parenting, decluttering, going for regular therapy, travelling and watching a movie or comedy show to lighten the mood.

It was found that the “delay between the onset of mental illness and treatment can be as high as 11 years,” according to a 2004 paper. A WHO report provides evidence that cases of anxiety, schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorders are rising and often go unreported.

Things therefore boil down to creating compassion and fighting stigma by dispelling misconceptions, identifying symptoms and seeking treatment actively and openly through honest convo, listening without judgement, creating safe spaces and practising empathy. But it all starts with the SELF ladies. 

Echoing Hippocrates, bestselling author James Clear reiterates: 

Before you ask:

What should I do today?


Ask yourself

What should I remove today?

To create the space

You need to succeed… 

Views expressed by the author are their own

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