May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to think about ways to take a mental health break. Take this opportunity to escape the frantic chaos, step back, breathe, and recharge in Ames. Here are some suggestions from Andrea Poteet-Bell, writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health:
If you are looking for some good, old-fashioned family fun, the Furman Aquatic Center should be top of the list. Release your inner child, frolic in the waters, take a slow ride on the 550-foot lazy river, and enjoy the variety of water slides and attractions. Laughter is the best medicine!
Reiman Gardens is a 17-acre wonderland boasting 26 unique garden areas to explore. The Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing is one of two glass houses and home to a diverse collection of exotic butterflies, flying freely for you to enjoy. It is the perfect place to soak up some nature, recharge, and reconnect with yourself.
If you enjoy retail therapy, Ames Main Street is the perfect destination. It is packed with more than 50 locally owned shops, restaurants, and art galleries and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018. If shopping isn’t your motivation, sit back in one of the coffee shops, grab an ice cream cone, or pop into a book shop or library and enjoy the peace.
If you want to reconnect with nature and indulge in the therapy it offers, visit Ada Hayden Park and explore one of its hiking trails. Alternatively, sit and relax by the lake with your fishing rod. It is a fantastic family option; you can picnic, bike, barbecue, walk the dog, or enjoy paddle sports.
Studies show that certain classical music can ease the symptoms of depression, and very few people are not moved by one type of music or another. So, indulge yourself in the beauty of the symphony, treating your soul as much as your ears.
The Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market is a hugely popular community event that draws visitors from the surrounding areas to share in the farming community’s incredible bounty. The stalls burst with locally grown produce, mouthwatering home-baked goods, and expertly crafted handmade items. With over 120 vendors, the market draws around 3,000 visitors each market day, and it is a great outing for the whole family.
Never underestimate the value of a good mental health break. It doesn’t have to be all zen and meditation. Prevention is better than cure, so embarking on little adventures and spending quality time with your loved ones (and yourself) will do wonders for your mental health and help you avoid burnout in the first place.