Good Mental Health Takes The Form In All Shapes And Sizes

It all starts with You.

You can be a good friend, colleague, and person while maintaining boundaries. In fact, those boundaries often help us be more available to other people when they need us.

Understanding your basic personal rights can help you set and maintain boundaries. These include:

  • You have the right to say no.
  • You have the right to personal space and time even if others would prefer your company.
  • You don’t have to take responsibility for anyone else’s behavior, feelings, or problems.
  • You have the right to ask for what you want.

RESOURCE:

CALM APP: The free version offers a few meditation courses, mood check-ins, calming scenes, a sleep story, and breathing exercises.

Be the change you want to see.

There’s something empowering about role modeling healthy coping skills. You benefit, but your example has a ripple effect on those around you, which can encourage you to keep those good habits, even when life gets tough.

Here are a few examples of behaviors that can benefit you and those around you:

  • Rebalance Work and Home

All work and no play? If you’re spending too much time at the office or focused on your job, you can intentionally put more dates in your calendar to enjoy time for fun, either alone or with others.

  • Get Regular Exercise

Moving your body on a regular basis balances the nervous system and increases blood circulation, helping to flush out stress hormones. Even a daily 20-minute walk makes a difference. Any exercise can lower stress and improve your mood ― pick activities that you enjoy and make it a regular habit.

  • Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants

Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine may temporarily relieve stress but have negative health impacts and can make stress worse in the long run. Well-nourished bodies cope better, so start with a good breakfast, add more organic fruits and vegetables for a well-balanced diet, avoid processed foods and sugar, try herbal tea, and drink more water.

  • Carve Out Hobby Time

Do you enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music, or some other creative pursuit? Engage in activities that bring you pleasure and joy; research shows that reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate, too.

Want to be a Mental Health Champion? Consider a training program

Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based, early-intervention course that teaches participants about mental health and substance use challenges.

Fostering a healthy Community – Birds of a Feather

Research shows people who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier, and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.

Connect with Supportive People

Talking face-to-face with another person releases hormones that reduce stress. Lean on those good listeners in your life. Be sure to return the favor; practice being a better listener. Family and friends will appreciate it.

Bond with Connections You Enjoy

Go out for a coffee with a friend, chat with a neighbor, call a family member, visit with a clergy member, or even hang out with your pet. Clinical studies show that spending even a short time with a companion animal can cut anxiety levels almost in half, so give that pooch or kitty a snuggle!

Celebrate others in your life. 

Simply put, people want to know they are valued. However, it’s key to personalize the acknowledgment. It might be a public shoutout among others through social media, while some might be more comfortable with a private message.

And don’t forget the ‘reward’ – what’s their favorite snack, store, activity, etc.? Research shows that the process we go through of selecting and giving a gift can benefit just as much as receiving a gift.

See a Counselor, Coach, or Therapist

If negative thoughts overwhelm your ability to make positive changes, it’s time to seek professional help. There are many resources available, so check your health plan first. Find what works for you. 

Remember, you are not alone. And when you feel alone, don’t ignore it. Seek out healthy relationships to fill your emotional bucket while giving to others!


About the Author:

Currently serving with BaySport as the Wellness Program Manager for the Local IBEW Sound and Communications, 617, and 595 since September 2021.

Prior to this role, I created and had global oversight of the WellbEAing initiative at Electronic Arts (EA) for over 6 years. 

I have a BS in Human Services, with multiple certifications, including Corporate Wellness, Mental Health First Aid, Behavioral Coaching, and Personal Training.  My diverse career includes the biotech and video gaming industries with roles in Sales, Health and Safety, Workplaces, and Human Resources, to name a few.  

I’m committed to creating healthy, engaging (read: FUN!) experiences using a holistic approach because I believe being our best selves IS possible, increasing our sense of self, and getting the most out of life!  


RESOURCE:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

References:

https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/mind-body/10-simple-ways-to-cope-with-stress

https://www.bamboohr.com/resources/assets/whitepapers/bad-company-culture-signs.pdf

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/relationships-community-statistics#:~:text=People%20who%20are%20more%20socially,who%20are%20less%20well%20connected.

https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/wellbeing/how-to-talk-about-health-problems/active-listening

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