At Reach, we know that we can only do our best work when we are well – physically, mentally, and emotionally. That’s why we’re bringing you a special edition of Our favorite headlines this week, in observance of Mental Health Awareness Month (May 1-31).
This week, we’re focusing on mental wellness, with a roundup of articles on topics like stress management, how exercise can contribute toward mental health, and more.
But first, some history:
May was deemed Mental Health Awareness Month in 1949, to help educate people about mental illness. Since then, the goals of Mental Health month have evolved, and mental health organizations use the month as an opportunity to:
- Educate the public about mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder
- Bring awareness to the realities of living with mental illness
- Help people find strategies to attain mental health and wellness
- Remove the stigma around talking about mental well-being
Check out our favorite articles from this week, which are all about how you can take care of your own mental well-being and how businesses can work toward keeping their employees well.
How To Foster Good Mental Health In The Workplace
The Takeaway: There is, of course, a lot more to mental health than most businesses have control over; however, organizations like ours do have some ability to help employees address mental health challenges. That could mean creating an environment where employees are encouraged to manage stress in healthy ways, like taking vacation time and–gasp–not taking on more work than they can possibly handle. But that could also mean providing employees with health screenings that include tests for mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Whatever way an organization chooses to foster good mental health, they stand a lot to gain from mentally-well employees, going far beyond the bottom line.
Four Ways to Deal with Stress
The Takeaway: Stress is a sneaky son-of-a-gun. Most of us notice the short term physical effects, like tightness in our shoulders, but the long term effects on our mental health are often disregarded. Beyond physical issues, long-term stress can put you at risk for problems like depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. That’s why understanding effective ways to deal with stress is truly important.
And it turns out that some solutions can be pretty simple to integrate into daily life. Take these stress-management tips from the American Heart Association to heart (pun-intended) and see which ones you can start to use regularly, like counting to 10 before responding to a question and getting enough relaxation time in each day. Sure, it might be much more difficult to break habits like negative self-talk, but you can set yourself up for a healthier mental state by making yourself aware of the habit in the first place and correcting yourself when you catch it in action.
The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
The Takeaway: This resource from helpguide.org is a long one, but worth the read. For those who suffer from conditions like anxiety and PTSD, exercise can help improve mental health, mostly as a means of practicing mindfulness. Plus, regular exercise is proven to relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood.
One thing we like about this is that it isn’t all or nothing: you don’t have to devote hours of time and loads of energy to exercising to keep your body and mind healthy. Instead, your goal should be to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise in, five times per week. That’s only 2.5 hours out of every week – and really, the physical, mental, and emotional benefits are hard to argue with.
4 Ways to Detach From Work and Finally Enjoy Your Downtime
The Takeaway: Downtime is a key component in this article, and each of the above. And that especially means time away from work and the stresses that can come along with it.
Even if you don’t feel like your job is that stressful, you may be surprised to see how much more relaxed you feel when you really take time to disconnect. It’s important to note that downtime doesn’t have to be sitting on the couch doing nothing; instead, it should really be something that brings you joy and soothes your mind. Your downtime can be something like taking a long walk (exercise! Talk about killing two birds with one stone) or cooking dinner while listening to relaxing music. Just remember: to get the most out of it, you must let yourself detach for a little while.