May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and if you are interested in wellness, your inbox and social media feeds will likely be bombarded with information about it all month.
In theory, every business person, organization, entrepreneur, and fitness owner wants to facilitate the mental health of their employees, clients, and customers. But rolling out a plan for your target audience is not always the answer.
The real answer starts with how YOU manage your mental health.
So, how can you, through your actions, create an environment that values mental health?
Slow down and take your emotional temperature
- Are you often stressed out, running all over the place, or constantly overwhelmed?
- Are you working all the time?
- Do you feel like your life revolves around your work, productivity, or business?
While stress is a normal part of life, too much stress can compromise your emotional and physical well-being. According to APA’s 2022 Stress in America survey, an alarming proportion of adults reported that stress impacts their day-to-day functioning, with more than a quarter (27%) saying that most days, they are so stressed they can’t function. Nearly half (46%) of those under 35 agreed with this statement.
So, to create an environment that values mental health, it would be helpful to understand that your stress can seep out as irritability, careless errors, forgetfulness, defensiveness, and a general feeling like you want to bite someone’s head off.
Your stress levels create a culture that impacts your employees and clients, and as a leader or business owner, it’s in your best interest to do something about it.
Manage your stress
- Find one thing you can ADD to your day that helps you manage stress
- Focus on what works for you based on where you are now
- Is it adding exercise or movement?
- Is it letting go of perfectionistic tendencies?
- Is it setting more realistic expectations?
Choose your detox
- Find one thing that you can LIMIT during the work day to manage your stress better
- Does it involve limiting social media?
- Is it letting go of the pressure to always please?
- Is it deciding not to over-commit?
- Is it setting better boundaries around your work hours?
Commit to the Emotional Banking Model
- Think of your emotional health as you do your bank account
- Look at the deposits and withdrawals you make each day into your emotional bank account
- Deposits: The things you purposefully do to promote your emotional health and build your savings account
- Withdrawals: Actions you do that deplete your emotional savings (people-pleasing, over-committing, not setting boundaries)
- Reflect: Are you growing or draining your account?
- Evaluate: Look at your deposits and withdrawals at the end of the week and determine a plan for future growth
- Remember: A robust emotional savings account will help you feel good in the face of stress and challenges
How to grow your emotional bank account
Prioritize social connections involving closeness, validation, and genuine connection
- A 2022 study found that social support lowers stress and negative affect, and bolsters resilience in stressful situations
- Exercise reduces stress by lowering cortisol and stimulating the release of endorphins
- Laughter boosts mood by altering cortisol, epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels
- And the wonderful thing about laughter is that it’s free and easy to access
- Save some funny memes that make you laugh and open those files when you need a mood boost
- Tapping is a self-soothing technique that involves lightly tapping acupressure points on different body parts (i.e., under and around the eye)
- Tapping lowers cortisol levels in the body and helps regulate other stress indicators, like heart rate, breathing, and body temperature
- Volunteering makes you feel good, increases your happiness, and lowers loneliness, stress, and depression
Limit social media
- Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and loneliness
Stay tuned for more strategies to grow your emotional bank account!