We need more than a day to honor mental health.
Like so many other globally recognized days dedicated to honoring an important part of our history or celebrating progress, some need more attention than others.
As the world went into a time of uncertainty and fear in early 2020, mental health joined the pandemic on the global stage. Like many illnesses and health challenges, we don’t always see it on the faces of those we work with, yet suddenly everyone’s mental health was under the spotlight.
According to a Robert Half survey of 2,800 workers, more than 4 in 10 employees (44%) say they’re more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago. That’s up 34% from a similar poll a year ago. Nearly half of employees experiencing increased fatigue (49%) blame it on a heavier workload.
There’s so much that contributes to your mental health and like your physical health, requires the same level of attention, if not more than we have been taught to give it.
We also have more in our control than we realize (through our daily thoughts and behaviors) to nurture the parts of us that often get left behind or deemed insignificant. These are also the parts of us that help us function at our best.
Yes, your heart and spirit of which make up the complex human being you are.
So, where burnout, fatigue, stress and mental health continue to take the front stage, what are some rituals you can create to support your mental health?
Rituals are often treated as sacred and ceremonious. Unlike a daily habit, they’re held with a little more esteem that’s non-negotiable and protected.
Rituals were a go-to for me during the pandemic and continue to be a daily source of calm. Even as the world is opening up and continues to evolve, I rely on them to bring a sense of structure and emotional stability.
Think of a ritual as a way to bring meaning to your well-being.
Here are 3 rituals you can use:
- Morning routine – by far one of my go-to’s for creating a sound practice, my mornings have always been sacred. In some cases, I’ve been more disciplined than others (thanks to being human), yet they’re a time in my day exclusively devoted to nurturing the heart and mind.
A few things to consider:
- Set up your space for whatever practice you plan to do
- Eliminate distractions
- Light a candle to set the mood
- Play music if you want to add to the environment
I set up my environment first before diving into a practice. Whether it’s meditation, journaling or other spiritual practices (sometimes all of the above), they’re vital in setting the tone for my day. You might even consider these all separate, rituals!
I realize while many continue to work remotely, space may not always lend itself to creating the optimal space to do any of the above, so work with what you have. Leave any and all distractions out of the space you’re going to use for that time.
2. Breathwork – another go-to for me and one of the simplest yet effective exercises I share with clients. It helps calm the nervous system and reduce stress. Not only is this a practice to help prep for a difficult conversation or giving an important presentation, yet studies have shown it helps reduce symptoms associated with insomnia, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and ADD.
There are different breathing techniques you can use, however, one simple one is breathing in from your belly for 4 counts, holding for 2 and exhaling for 4 through the mouth. Do this for 3-5 cycles or longer until you feel a sense of calm.
3. Plan for your day – whether it’s through your Google calendar or Outlook, plan for the things outside of your work. And stick to it! Planning for personal time or anything outside of your work meetings helps keep you organized and focused, minimizing the anxiousness of having so much to do and accomplishing nothing.
Think of a ritual you’d love to incorporate as part of your day and see how it nourishes your mental health and overall well-being. After all, without your health (including your mental health), what else do you have?
What rituals stand out from the list above? What would you add to the list that you just can’t go a day without? Let me know in the comments.