People are finally speaking up about the importance of mental health care in the workplace. We’ve seen many people share stories of their own struggles from a unique point of view as a freelancer or entrepreneur. Pressures can be especially difficult in these circumstances due to financial strain and a small amount of resources. Finding the balance between navigating a demanding day job, being present for a loved one, and holding space for yourself can be tough. Here at Meteor Street Studio, we’ve definitely felt life’s pressures and responsibilities come in waves. The following five tools are helpful to improve mental wellbeing, therefore making you a calmer, more resilient individual.
Mindfulness is defined as a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and environment. It is being present in a non-judgmental manner. I set aside time to act more mindfully in my everyday tasks by single-tasking. Multi-tasking is no longer the superpower it used to be considered. Turns out, we can’t always do it all, all the time. By single-tasking, I was more creative and productive and truly appreciated life’s journey as it was happening. I even single-tasked my meals. While eating, I stepped away from my desk and put away my phone. I learned to savor each bite and actively noticed the food nourishing and fuelling my body. My favorite way to practice mindfulness in this way is to wake up a bit earlier, cook a healthy breakfast and slowly enjoy a cup of tea. Sets the day off on the right foot. On my journeys to and from work, I turned off the headphone noise and mindfully walked through town – paying attention to my feet hitting the ground and the environment around me instead of going into autopilot mode from point A to B. The third way I practice mindfulness is using Headspace; especially in the late afternoon. I am lucky to have an office with a dedicated mindfulness room where you can sit in silence with a fantastic view of the city. I took advantage of this room frequently during the summer whenever panic would arise and I needed privacy to meditate for ten minutes or just breathe.
Find a favorite exercise routine.
When you are overworked and hyper stressed, your cortisol levels rise. Exercise is important, but the right kind of exercise will be most helpful in times of stress. Intense forms of exercise can actually put continued pressure on your stress hormones if you are already through the roof. Yoga, stretching, and light jogging are all good ways to get your body moving and your endorphins rising whilst maintaining a sense of calm.
Talk it out.
During periods of feeling overwhelmed it is so important to talk it out. Whether this is to a confidante or, even better, a professional therapist. Talk therapy isn’t the taboo it used to be. I think everyone should probably be in therapy at some point. Holding your stresses in will just fester until you burn out or break down. You don’t want that. Telling people you’re overwhelmed and need help proves you have a strong character. It will help you feel better and most likely lead to solved issues.
Laugh more often.
Stop watching dramas and turn to feel-good entertainment. Laughter is good for the soul. Spend time with people or a goofy furry friend that sparks joy and smile often. Smiling might be hard to imagine in dark stressful times, but even the silly practice of smiling to yourself in a mirror can boost confidence and your mood.
Take a detox vacation.
Detox vacation is no longer a luxury. It’s become a necessity. I dream of going on a fancy yoga retreat in an exotic location one day, but as those take some saving and planning, a weekend out of the city will do in a pinch. We drove up to the Lake Districts for a countryside cabin to stay with a small group of good friends. We didn’t watch tv, we limited our phone time, and instead, we played board games, cooked wonderful group meals, and ventured out on a glorious sheep-filled hike.
Taking care of mental health is just as important as taking care of physical health. Taking steps to constantly keep your personal headspace feeling good will help when life’s dramas and shakes up come your way.