As Mental Health Week wraps up here in Canada, we want to emphasize the importance of nurturing mental wellness of ourselves and others, fighting the stigma surrounding mental health, and urging companies to take care of their employees. In our current mental health crisis, employees’ needs are not being met. As a result, people are suffering unnecessarily and companies are not succeeding as they could be. While we urge employers to address this, here are some ways you can take the initiative in addressing your own mental health.
- Normalize mental health issues and treatment. It is essential that we fight the mental health crisis on a daily basis. Whether this means casually talking to your friends about the therapy session you and your partner attended today, standing up at your child’s school event to talk about mental health, or posting on social media, we are all able to find a way to take action.
- As humans, we are all coping with our own unique battles. Social media is a highlight reel: an incomplete snapshot of someone’s life. Try not to fall into the comparison trap that many of us struggle with, and keep in mind that people choose not to post about the negative parts of their life. Remember that you are not alone and that everyone is coping with different issues.
- Ask for help when you need it. Life presents some tough challenges, and we must remember that there is no shame in seeking help. While traditionally mental health stigma has made us feel weak or incompetent when we are unable to handle our problems, we must continually remind ourselves and those around us that the ability to ask for help indicates inner strength. It suggests that we know our limits, and we know what we need to be healthy and productive.
- Prioritize your self-care. As we emphasized earlier in the week, if you don’t put on your Oxygen Mask first, you can’t be there to help others. Explore what brings you joy and allows you to unwind, and do these things regularly. If you are not mentally well, your ability to support those you care about, your productivity, and your overall happiness all suffer as a result.
- Nurture your relationships. Invest time and energy in those who bring you up, support, and care about you. Close relationships are precious and extremely powerful in their ability to promote resilience in all areas of your life.
- Lead a balanced life. Build and protect boundaries in both your personal and professional lives to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Eat well, exercise regularly, and call your loved ones often. Too much of anything can be harmful, and it is essential that we don’t put too much time and energy into one area of life while neglecting others.
- Start today, not tomorrow. It is too easy to tell ourselves that we’ll “start tomorrow,” and fall into a vicious cycle of procrastination. Take charge of your life, be proactive, and choose to make an improvement right here, in this moment. When tomorrow comes, you will be so happy you did.
We encourage everyone to extend their focus on nurturing their mental wellness beyond Mental Health Week: to promote positive messages about mental health and wellness, and use them to fight stigma and improve both our lives and others’ around us.