As we leave behind Mental Health Awareness Month, we took some time as a team to reflect on how we want to begin creating more focus on our company cause of EMDR education. We have a few new ideas, so stay tuned as we decide how to roll them out.
Mental health in general is an extremely important topic to us as a company, and while we realize the following paragraphs don’t speak to the magnitude and severity of what needs to be done in this space, you can always start small, and start within. So, we asked our team members to share what they do to be conscious of their mental health.
For the last decade, I have been extremely unaware of my mental health status. I didn’t realize how truly numb I was until I went through a second traumatic death of a best friend. Depression hit real hard, and someone told me I had PTSD and that I should try a therapy called EMDR. I honestly feel like it may have saved my life, and I am so surprised how few people know about it. That experience helped me break down some walls and see some brighter sides of life. I haven’t ever gone back to how I was then, but I also seem to fall back into old patterns easily. I work really hard, I have no idea how to take care of myself or put my health first, and I get into the zone where I lose sight of the big picture. It was only recently maybe in the last 6 months or so that I realized I needed to ease into some hobbies and some self-interests, find some happiness in the moment, laugh a little more, and save myself from an impending mid-life crisis. There’s finding outlets and ways to express myself, there’s self-care, and then there’s self-awareness. I see them as all different things. Do I still choose to take that call or meeting instead of doing yoga? Yes. Do I still get tired and lazy and decide not to wash my face at night? Most times. I have a long way to go what to prioritize and when, but I’m doing the best I can. Right now I’m most focused on the self-awareness of when I’m about to hit my limit with stress, and I can be honest with myself that I better damn well carve out some time to take a walk or tune out of work for a spell. After that, I want to figure out how to find the motivation to do the things I know I love, and what makes that difference between someone who does those things and someone who doesn’t. I have written a lot about all of this and I’m hoping to start a personal blog soon so I have somewhere more relevant to put it. So that’s where I’m at now, that’s what I’m grappling with at the moment.
When I start to feel anxious I like to run through a mental checklist to make sure I’m treating my body properly. I make sure I’ve eaten enough, got enough sleep, and had enough water to see if these factors are what is contributing to my anxiety. If I have done all these things and still feel anxious I like to put down my phone and be with friends and family to talk out what I think is bothering me. I have to talk things out so I can understand what is really giving me anxiety. I started seeing a therapist at 21 years old after struggling with anxiety my entire life and finally learned useful coping mechanisms. Everyone who has anxiety deals with it differently, but I’ve learned that understanding what triggers mine helps me to accept it and move on with life.
1. Taking a walk outside & people watching. Seeing other people go about their day is a reminder that everything is okay.
2. Walking around my apartment and sing REALLY loudly to expel the nervous energy. I find this to be very effective (and fun)!
3. Calling a friend! Distraction is key, and talking to someone about nothing anxiety-related is really helpful.
4. Creating “coping cards.” I take index cards and write reminders on them like: “this has happened to you before, you have always been fine,” or “take a deep breath and go for a walk.” Sometimes when I feel anxious, I forget I have the skills to soothe it. So before the panic hits, I’ll start flipping through the cards and doing what they tell me.
One tactic I use for handling anxiety or overwhelm is meditating. I have the Calm app and it seriously helps! Otherwise, I try to keep things in perspective by asking myself if the things I’m worried about are really going to matter a week or two from now. Spoiler: they usually don’t! I also try to stay healthy and positive with the help of my family, friends, pups, exercise, and lots of water (and some wine, let’s be real).
Going for a walk outside, especially around nature always improves my mood.
I have definitely had my fair share of lows in the mental health realm. This time has been especially difficult because my main coping mechanisms are going to the gym or going to the beach, both of which I can’t do right now.
There are a few things that I do when I’m feeling low/stressed:
- Baking: there is something about creating sweet treats that take all of my stress away (photos attached)
- Walking and taking photos: One of my favorite ways to destress is to go on a walk and take photos of what I see around me. This allows me to focus on my surroundings and not focus on myself.
- Working out: whether I go on a short run, do a few pushups, or do a full 60-minute workout, exercising is one of the #1 ways I improve my mental health
I also occasionally have more intense mental breakdowns and anxiety for which I use a separate set of tools
- Drink more water
- Take long deep breaths and remind myself of everything I’m grateful for.
- Cry it out: it’s important for me to feel all my emotions and then cheer myself up after the tears
- Exercise: sometimes I’ll make myself workout even if I’m mid sob session. Get that blood pumping and get those endorphins and dopamine released
- Book a virtual therapy session with my therapist
- Call friends
The most important thing for me is being patient with myself and showing myself grace. I’m not going to be 100% everyday, that’s just life. If I have a low day, I remind myself that it is totally normal and that I’m strong and will get through it using the tools I’ve built up over the years. I’ve also learned to always ask for help when I need it.
Mental Health Resources: