The month of May is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues, but with the staggering statistics that exist today, we need to raise awareness every day.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 in 5 people have experienced diagnosable mental health problems in the last year including depression and anxiety.
Stress and burnout are on the rise affecting one million people every day and costing the US workplace $300 billion annually. An estimated 217 million days of work are lost annually due to absenteeism and a decline in productivity as a result of mental health issues.
People are struggling and suffering and need help. This is why Women ON Point intentionally includes health and wellbeing into every summit, every academy, every program and in every way possible…relevant presentation topics, introspective exercises, private yoga, positive interpersonal connections, healthy meals and more. It needs to be a priority.
We know that overwhelming stress, pressure, change and chaos with no end in sight has become the norm. Everyone is expected to do more with less and be available to respond to texts and emails 24/7/365. In fact, 70% of people work while on vacation and only 23% use 100% of their vacation days.
The good news is there are 4 things you can easily do to improve your overall health and wellbeing and that of your team and organization.
Build Better Boundaries
Instead of “work/life balance,” it’s about creating a fully integrated life with better boundaries. Implement a “no work on Sunday” policy, insist everyone takes regular vacations, encourage hobbies and community activism, value quality time with friends and family, and commit to technology-free time.
WONP Alumni – “I finally took a girls trip!” “I went ice-fishing with my husband and left my phone at home.” “I booked and paid for a Disney cruise to make sure we took a family vacation.”
Strengthen Your Muscles and Your Mind
Exercise and healthy eating habits not only make you physically stronger, they strengthen your mental health as well. Get a workout buddy to help hold you accountable, sign up for a charitable 5K, or have healthy meals delivered to you if grocery shopping doesn’t fit into your schedule.
WONP Alumni – “I now do hot yoga a few times a week and have never felt better physically or mentally.” “I exercised early in the morning at the WONP summit, and realized I had more energy and greater clarity during the day. Now I do it every day.” “I arranged to have healthier snacks in the break room.” “Instead of a phone call, I try to schedule more meetings that include a walk outside.”
Embrace the Power of Positivity
We are inundated with negativity, bad news, criticism, and destructive self-talk. Keep a Brag Book to log your accomplishments and jog your memory of all your successes, express gratitude for the positive things in your life, celebrate wins of every shape and size, recognize and show appreciation for others.
WONP Alumni – “I implemented the positive Post-It note exercise in my office, and it has greatly improved the culture, collaboration and morale of the team.” “I now start every meeting with positive news and people sharing their wins.” “Instead of assuming my team knows, I now tell them they’re doing a great job and it has helped dramatically.”
There is no power in silence when it comes to mental health. Seek help if you need it, and talk openly about the importance of stress management, self-care and positive mental health with your team to reduce the stigma and feelings of isolation often associated with mental illness.
WONP Alumni – “I made sure to talk to my executive coach about making my wellbeing a priority.” “I added wellbeing to the agenda when I have my 1:1 meetings to see how everyone is feeling.” “I arranged to have health and wellbeing as a topic at our Lunch & Learn event.”
Designating the entire month of May to M is extremely important, but it needs to be top of mind every month. Make your health and wellbeing a priority every day of the year.