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October 10th is World Mental Health Day. In our daily lives, we all have to face some degree of stress, but how often are you able to slow down and check in with your mental well-being? Daily mental health checkpoints throughout your day will help you notice any signs of burnout before it escalates. After you begin to observe your habits more frequently throughout your day you will develop more awareness around any patterns you’d like to change to better your mental health.
Mental health isn’t a one size fits all. What works for you might not work for someone else. Fortunately, there are many strategies and free resources available you can try out during your day to begin to improve your well-being.
Prepare for your day
Sometimes we cannot help but worry about things relating to work and life. One tool to manage the stress you might face is writing it all out the night before. If you have a lot of pending tasks, you can prioritize each item by most to least urgent. This way, when you start your day, you have a clear and organized plan for your to-do list.
Plan to use your lunch break to do something you enjoy. Whether that’s taking a walk outdoors, having a healthy lunch, grabbing a cup of coffee, or catching up with a friend/colleague. Block off time in your calendar for your lunch break so you can prioritize time for yourself during your work day.
Social media is an amazing way to connect, discover and unwind after the workday, but it can also be daunting. If you feel like social media has put you in a negative head space, try limiting your usage or, better yet – do a 24-hour social media detox. . One way to start tracking how much time you’re spending on your phone is by setting a limit within your “screen time” settings. As you notice your screentime increase, consider limiting your time on social media platforms or doing a “digital detox.”
Focus on better sleep
Sleep is your body’s way of slowing down and processing the day. Prioritizing our sleep can drastically improve our productivity, concentration, emotions, and immune system. Start by going to bed and rising at the same time every day. Upon waking, make sure to expose your eyes to natural sunlight if you can. Getting sunshine first thing in the morning is essential in regulating the secretion of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone your body releases at night. Notice how you may fall asleep faster in the evening after exposing your face to sunshine first thing in the morning.
Another way to improve your sleep hygiene is by turning off notifications on your phone and avoiding screens an hour before bed. Instead of bingeing Netflix or scrolling social media, create a nighttime routine that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. Apps like Headspace, and Calm can help improve your sleep cycle with guided meditations and white noise sounds for sleep support.
Movement is medicine
Sitting for extended periods will make your joints feel stiff after time and increase your risk for depression, heart disease and diabetes. Instead, try to stand up, stretch your legs and shoulders or walk around your workspace every hour. If it’s an option for you to exercise during lunch to break up the prolonged periods of sitting down, even a 30-minute walk will help.
Incorporating a daily yoga practice can reverse the long-term effects of sitting for prolonged periods. Not only does yoga physically restore the body but other elements in the yoga practice, such as breathing techniques, meditation, and mindfulness, are also great techniques for improving your mental well-being. There are many free ways to start a daily yoga practice, such as Yoga with Adrianne on YouTube, the DailyYoga app and you may even find some free or inexpensive yoga classes in your community.
Counseling can help make sense of the stress or negative feelings you’re going through to provide relief from depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. In addition, speaking to a therapist regularly helps develop your skillset for coping with daily life challenges, stress and improves your overall quality of life. If you currently do not have a therapist but are interested in trying it out, BetterHelp is a mental health platform that connects you to a licensed therapist personalized for your needs.
Prioritizing your mental well-being may take some time to discover what works best for you. Be patient with yourself and find routines that you look forward to and enjoy. Don’t wait until you feel overwhelmed to seek out professional help.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, don’t hesitate to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website website to learn more and find more information about the resources available.
Check out other posts from our blog on the topic of mental health in the workplace:
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Through the employee assistance program (EAP), ICONMA, L.L.C. provides confidential access to professional counseling services. The EAP, available to all employees and their immediate family members, offers problem assessment, short-term counseling, and referral to appropriate community and private services. The EAP is strictly confidential and is designed to safeguard an employee’s privacy and rights. Contacts to and information given to the EAP counselor may be released to ICONMA, L.L.C. only if requested by the employee in writing. There is no cost for an employee to consult with an EAP counselor. If further counseling is necessary, the EAP counselor will outline community and private services available. The counselor will also let employees know whether any costs associated with private services may be covered by their health insurance plan. Costs that are not covered are the responsibility of the employee.
October 7, 2022