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May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, and there's no better time to focus on strategies and resources to help support the mental health of today’s workforce. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it can also lead to increased productivity, job satisfaction, employee retention, and better overall health.
Think of this blog post as an actionable toolkit. Inside, you’ll find templates, resources, and tactics to equip consultants, brokers, health plans, and HR teams to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month along with us.
6 ways to deepen your focus on mental health
Focus on self-care
Stress is a major cause of mental health issues. Go back to the basics—take regular breaks and time off, go for a walk, improve sleep hygiene, and/or focus on nutrition. These will all help reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing.
Consider stress-management resources
More personalized, comprehensive mental health benefits like therapy, coaching, and mindfulness exercises can help alleviate your stress.
Make space for deep work
Set boundaries and better prioritize yourself and your work. Advocate within your organization to implement a company-wide, meeting-free “focus day” or “focus week” to create space for deep work, which is proven to help develop higher-quality work, quickly.
Give yourself permission to say ‘No’ to meetings that could be tackled asynchronously, to help reduce feelings of overwhelm and increase job satisfaction.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Practice meditation, yoga, or other mindfulness exercises to help manage stress and anxiety. This can be done by taking classes or watching on-demand mindfulness exercises.
Keep an eye out for burnout
Burnout is a growing concern in the U.S. It's important to recognize the signs of burnout in yourself and those around you. More time off, being more flexible about where you work, and taking advantage of opportunities for career development can help.
If you’re part of the BIPOC community, it’s important to note that you may experience a higher rate of burnout and have to navigate unique stressors and experiences.
Seek resources for anxiety
Workplace anxiety is soaring—but the right resources and support can help:
- Therapy and mindfulness exercises
- More flexible work schedule
- Setting work/life boundaries
- Workplace accommodations
6 ways to normalize conversations about mental health
Mental health stigma is a major barrier to wellbeing, and keeps many people from getting the support they need. Here are six ways to address and reduce stigma:
- Foster a culture of openness and acceptance, where mental health concerns are treated with the same respect and attention as physical health concerns.
- Advocate for training and education in your organization on mental health awareness, including common mental health concerns, how to recognize symptoms, and how to provide support.
- Offer your support when uncertainty strikes. Repetitive acts of violence and uncertainty lead to distress. Continuous, negative news contributes to anxiety, vulnerability, frustration, and uncertainty. Seek help for yourself and provide support to those around you when you can.
- Encourage your friends and family to seek help when they need it, and help them source and access mental health services.
- Avoid stigmatizing language. Mental health stigma stems from lack of knowledge, fear, perceiving mental illness behaviors or symptoms as “not normal” or violent, and negative portrayals in the media. Be mindful of language and help those around you normalize conversations about mental health.
- Help cultivate a supportive and inclusive workplace culture within your organization, where everyone feels valued and supported. Lead by example! If this isn’t happening already, ask executives and leaders to conduct employee feedback surveys or create employee resource groups (ERGs).
Breaking barriers, together
Now is the time to make an impact. Normalize talking about mental health in your everyday conversations, and empower those around you to seek support and resources when they need them.
Here are a few more resources to help you take better care of your mental health, and more effectively support your teams.
- How to Manage Anxiety
- Caring For Yourself In Times of Uncertainty
- Finding Your Footing After A Loss
- Tips to a Restful Night’s Sleep
- How to Identify Depression
- How to Help with Disordered Eating
- “Daily Mindfulness - A Story” Mindfulness Moments Exercise
- 6 Mindfulness Exercises to Create a Healthier and More Balanced Workforce