The idea that your thoughts can affect you physically used to seem like some foo-foo, cotton candy fluff advice. But in the recent years, the science and discussion of mental health, self-love, and the power of mindfulness have bubbled to the surface. And with it, comes scientific studies.
May is Mental Health Month. To help with awareness, we’ve created four Mental Health Month contest ideas for small businesses. These contests are great because of the incentive to win. But in the long run, it’s more beneficial to encourage your followers to take time to focus on their mental health.
Contests that Support Mental Health Month Awareness
Stop, Drop, Meditate
Best suited for businesses that focus on interiors and living spaces, home décor shops
The process of meditation is used to clear your mind and focus your thoughts. Like the word “sports”, meditation is an umbrella term for many types of practices. Meditation practices can reduce stress and help with anxiety, train the mind to increase focus duration, improve sleep quality, enhance emotional health, and even decrease high blood pressure.
In honor of Mental Health Month in May, a small business can promote a contest asking followers to take a photo of them in their meditation space. People could submit photos of carefully curated living spaces while meditating in front of an emerald green velvet couch surrounded by fiddle leaf fig trees. Or they could submit a photo meditating in a 3×3 foot clearing of their kids’ playroom surrounded in a sea of toys. Either way, you’ll encourage people to take more moments of mental health-boosting meditation.
Winners of this contest can win a new rug, incense, or a fun piece of home décor to enhance their meditation area.
Best suited for small businesses that sell journals and other stationery products.
Gratitude journals are becoming more talked about in the mental health world. Jotting down a few things every day that you are thankful for is said to have positive effects on your mental and emotional well-being. It focuses your mind on the good things in your life, when so often, we are focused on everything that is going wrong.
Another Mental Health Month contest for small businesses? Ask people to snap a photo of their gratitude journal and submit three things they are grateful for to qualify as a contest entry.
Prize ideas for the winner (or winners) of the gratitude journal contest:
- A new leather-bound journal
- A set of ice cream-smooth pens
- A scented candle to invigorate the mind into writing
Detox All Things Digital
Best suited for any small business.
Nowadays, we are all so consumed by digital distractions. Constant social media notifications blow up our phones. Dreaded work emails ding in the middle of the night. It’s enough to make the sanest of people go a little cuckoo. For Mental Health Month, take some time to step away from all things digital for a much-needed detox. Committing to a full day might be a bit much, but taking an hour or two to completely leave your phone and computer will allow you to be fully present.
Don’t be fooled. Some people will say they stepped away from the digital world and went on a hike, but still managed to snap a photo. Asking your followers to submit their best sunrise photo is a possibility. But if you want a true digital detox contest, ask for a written message as their submission. (Make it hand-written for bonus points.)
After taking time to truly step away, encourage your followers to write in a paragraph or two about what they did during their digital detox. Who did they spent it with, and how did they feel during whatever activity they decided to embark on?
Prizes for these winners are open-ended. Anything that encourages your audience to step away from the blue light and into the present moment are great incentives. Go for things that encourage people to be active, like hiking accessories, Frisbees, and jump ropes. There’s also activities people can do together, like board games, coloring books, or card games. All these activity-based prize ideas are relevant and engaging.
Play With Scruffy
Best suited for pet shops, animal health and accessories businesses
Did you know petting or playing with animals may lower cortisol, the hormone in your body related to stress?It may also increase oxytocin, a hormone known for reducing stress and increasing feelings of happiness, bonding, and trust.
A fun Mental Health Month contest for small businesses is asking users to submit their best photo of them and their pet. Most people like to upload cute photos or videos of their pets. Giving animal lovers an excuse to take a photo with Scruffy for the possibility of winning a prize is an added bonus!
Winners of the best pet photo can win a “Two Fur One” prize where the owner and their pet get a treat. Get creative with the prizes! Let’s say you’re a cupcake shop that also happens to specialize in dog-friendly cupcakes. Awarding the winner a batch of your best-selling (human) cupcakes, along with a mini batch for Coco, would be pawsitively perfect.
Don’t have a prize that favors both owner and pet? Do a contest collaboration with a company that aligns well with your brand. Find a small business that would go well with your products and promote the contest across both companies’ social media platforms. Not only will you have a bigger and better prize, you’ll also get in front of a new audience. They may not have known about your business before, but can now become potential customers in the future.
Mental health is extremely important. Just like we’re unable to ignore all signs of distress with our physical bodies, we also need to pay attention to when our mental health needs a bit more TLC.
Small businesses wanting to host contests in support of Mental Health Month in May can focus on marketing and contests around the topic of:
- Digital Detoxing
- Pet “Therapy”
Seeing everyone’s submissions will create a social buzz no matter the contest type. More specifically, displaying galleries of user generated entries will encourage even more participation. It could even encourage more mental health practitioners!
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