4 Ways to Prioritize Our Mental Health
In a world of instant connectivity, we must never forget that people are at the heart of leadership.
We are living in and leading through some intriguing but undoubtedly challenging times. While obstacles are often disguised opportunities and diamonds crystalize under pressure — the reality is what we have experienced these past few years has been beyond demanding and taxing on the human spirit.
In a world of instant connectivity, we must never forget that people are at the heart of leadership — people with real stories, feelings and emotions. We should not overlook or dehumanize the fact that we are all carrying and going through something that another person can’t see.
May represents Mental Health Awareness Month. As leaders and positive difference makers, having a conversation and formulating strategies to support our team’s mental fitness can no longer be a mere checking of a box. It must be intentional. Otherwise, we will live in a world connected to devices yet so far disconnected from ourselves.
Performance psychologist and founder of Finding Mastery Dr. Michael Gervais, recently said:
So as leaders and positive difference-makers, how will we courageously meet this moment in time to cultivate and build a future of greater human connection and well-being?
As we embark on finding solutions to the dire challenges of mental health and weave these into the fabric of organizational cultures, it is paramount to start that vital work at home with ourselves. Our mental health should never be neglected and deserves the same care and attention as our physical health.
Here are four ways we can start prioritizing our mental health right now:
- Stand up to negative self-talk — We are in more control of our negative-self talk and chatter than we think. There is nothing wrong with having a negative thought. We just have to remain mindful not to allow it to turn into a lingering negative conversation. Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.
- Stop saying yes when you want to say no — Using “no” is a complete sentence. Realize our time is limited, and the art of managing our energy is more important than ever. If we attempt to please everyone without nurturing our spirit, we open ourselves to resentment, burnout, and internal turbulence.
- Move your body — We were born to move, yet we find our days consumed with a lot of sitting in front of screens. Getting creative and intentional with moving our bodies for a walk, dance, stretch, or exercise can boost our mood and reduce stress. These acts can help us feel holistically lighter.
- Ask for help when you need it — Asking for help does not make us inadequate. It makes us human. Our lives thrive on connection, support, belonging, and the meaningful relationship with ourselves, our minds, and others. Putting our ego and pride aside and asking for help is a radical act of self-care that we deserve.
It is time for a new paradigm as we think about mental health, self-care and well-being. While we have a long way to go, remaining silent on this life-and-death matter should not be an option. The Dalai Lama once expressed, “Attempting to create a just world starts through the internal transformation of individuals. Though it is difficult, it is the only way to begin.”
Today, we must do something to begin taking better care of our mental well-being, while continuing to progress in dismantling the stigma and taboo around mental health.
If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.
You are seen. You are appreciated. You are loved. You are valued. You are enough.
It is okay not to have it all figured out on this journey. It's okay not to be okay. Life is a marathon. In time, you will emerge from this storm different from the person who first encountered it. Recognize that these moments of enlightenment, self-discovery, and transformation — no matter the days, weeks, months, and years it takes — become the beauty of life.