It’s May and spring is officially here. Flowers are blooming. Kids are playing outside. Birds are chirping. For me, this time of year is often associated with growth, renewal, hope and positivity—a perfect time to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month and a perfect time to focus on our own mental health and wellness.

Self-care is essential for mental health and overall well-being. I am encouraged to see more and more people prioritizing their mental health, just as they would their physical health. We have seen professional athletes, actors and actresses, and other high-profile public figures putting their jobs on hold to put their mental health first. This is such a healthy and important step because by raising awareness and acceptance of mental health, we not only empower ourselves, but we also help remove stigma, enforce the message that it is okay to not be okay and encourage people to seek help when they need it.

When you take care of your mental health, your physical and emotional health improves; you become more resilient; and it makes it easier to find ways to manage life stressors in a healthy and positive way.

Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish; it is necessary for you to be able to take care of others and lead a fulfilling life. By encouraging others to seek help, helping others access help or simply by being there for someone when they need us, we instill hope in ourselves and those around us.