Minding Your Emotional Health
Aug 05, 2021
When you think back on the past year or so, it's no surprise that 2020 and COVID-19 took a toll on Americans' mental health. In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 40% of American adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression – up 11% from 2019.
It's not just a pandemic that can cause stress in our lives, however. People everywhere have challenges that may include job stress, relationship stress, physical health challenges and more. Mental health impacts all areas of our lives - focus at work, relationships, our mood and even our ability to maintain healthy habits like eating well, being active and not using tobacco or other substances.
Again, everyone experiences mental health challenges from time to time. Ask people you know, and they'll probably tell you about times they have felt stressed, anxious, sad, had trouble sleeping, struggled with parenting, struggled with coworkers and the list goes on. So, the important thing to know is this: You're Not Alone.
Change and challenge is just part of everyday life, so how do we deal with that and still maintain balance? One way is to practice mindfulness.
What is mindfulness, you may ask? In short, it is the ability to be fully aware of where we are and what we're doing. It's time that we can set aside to focus on ourselves and tune out what is going on around us. Invest time in yourself every day, even if it's just a 5-10 minute break. Take time to be quiet and focus on how you're feeling. Take time to recharge. And...make sure you do this at work AND at home!
Maintain social connections. You can be with a group and still practice mindfulness...think yoga!
Expect incremental changes. Change takes time. Like any other tool, mindfulness isn’t magic. It takes a little time and commitment before you see meaningful results...but results will come with practice. Start with a minute here and there and work up to a steady habit of 5 minutes a day.
For more tips, you can download this resource from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).