As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we’re looking forward to sharing stories of hope and healing with our listeners in an effort to have more conversations surrounding mental health. Because talk saves lives.
Thanks to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), we're happy to share a list of 10 helpful tips that any of us can make use of in order to create more positive spaces in which we can all thrive and grow -- while taking into consideration the different mental health challenges each of us faces on a daily basis. Plus, for more helpful hints, take a look at AFSP's Mindfulness and Office Life tips.
1. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep -- 8 to 10 hours is ideal.
2. Limit your intake of media, substances, or other consumption that leaves you feeling more drained than empowered.
3. Do your best to eat healthy foods that make you feel good, and drink plenty of water. It seems simple, but it can make a positive impact on your mental health (Plan for weekday meals in advance).
4. Take daily breaks to whatever extent you can, even if it’s a 5 or 10-minute walk. Or just get outside -- even stand up and stretch for a minute. This can help shift your mindset during stressful days and establish a daily routine.
5. If you have control of what your workspace looks like – personalize it in a way that feels calming to you. Self-care at work can also involve having things in our immediate space that soothe and anchor us in times of stress. Whether that means adding photos of good memories, music, plants, inspirational art, or other items that reflect who you are now, having things we are connected to around us can help ground us when challenges arise.
6. Set small, daily goals that can give you a sense of accomplishment without feeling too burdensome.
7. When things feel overwhelming, take a moment to focus on your breathing. Take a few deep breaths and imagine blowing all of the air out of your lungs until they are empty. Follow that with a deeper inhale. Deep breathing is one way we can slow down our heart rate when life feels like life is moving too quickly, or when we feel stressed.
8. Take the time to acknowledge something you have done or accomplished, no matter how seemingly small -- celebrate the “little wins.”
9. Extend compassion to yourself and be kind to yourself throughout the workday -- no one can be perfect all the time! Allow yourself to be your imperfect self. When things don’t go perfectly, treat yourself with grace, humor, and compassion.
10. Work can feel tiring, but make sure to make time outside of work for activities that fill you up – even if it’s just a phone call or getting coffee with a friend, getting some exercise, journaling, or anything you find calming or supportive. Even though you are working, remember, you are more than just an employee, and work is just a part of your overall life.
If you find yourself having difficulty coping, know that it is an indicator that it is time to reach out to someone for support – whether it’s a friend or family member, a mental health professional, or by calling or texting 988 for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Find a full list of additional resources here.