May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
That makes it the perfect time to refresh employees' minds on the importance of mental health activities. Embrace the need to discuss mental health in the workplace and talk about the importance of exploring mental health activities on a regular basis.
With one in five adults experiencing mental illness, it’s essential to remind your staff of ways to stay mentally healthy. With hybrid workplaces, it can be particularly challenging to figure out ways to have those discussions, but this list makes it easier.
Below, you’ll find ideas that are easy for employees to do that don't demand a ton of time, but that are still beneficial to mental health.
Why is Taking Care of Mental Health So Important?
No matter your age, mental health is an area of well-being that must be taken care of regularly. Being emotionally healthy helps you better balance whatever life throws your way and leaves you less prone to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Mental health impacts:
- How you feel
- How you think
- How you act
The state of your mental health also indicates how well you handle stress and make life choices. It’s as important as physical health. When mental health becomes unbalanced, it can impact physical health, too, and vice versa.
Mental Health Activities to Keep Your Mind Well
You would take your insulin if you were diabetic or your blood pressure readings if you needed to keep track, wouldn’t you? Most people would agree it’s a done deal for them. But what about mental health? Keeping mental health in alignment takes regular maintenance just like a good diet or medicine routine.
Investing in your mental health regularly can help you feel more balanced and happy. It’s one of the best ways to take care of yourself and others who rely on you.
Need some ideas of how to do just that?
Here are 11 mental health activities to give a try:
1. Connect With Others
By connecting with others you love and adore, it uplifts your spirits. Never underestimate what a call to a best friend or loved one can do for your mind. As social creatures, it’s essential to have those personal connections on a regular basis for good mental health.
2. Find a Reputable Counselor
Thanks to the internet, you can now connect with a counselor from anywhere you may be. Experiencing a mental health crisis? Call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.
If you enjoy reading, do more of it! Reading has been proven to be an excellent way to relax the mind and take you to another place. It may also help you live longer, too. In 2016, Yale University School of Public Health shared that those who read books had a 20 percent reduction risk of death over 12 years, compared to those who didn’t read.
4. Enjoy Positive Content
Feeling down? One way to get your mood back up again is to enjoy positive content. Whether that’s reading a book, viewing hilarious memes, or watching a short humor clip from your favorite comedian — all can boost your mood. With smartphones, it’s easy to do this mental health activity literally anywhere!
5. Breathe Deeply
Feeling way too overwhelmed? One simple mental health activity to try is simply deep breathing. It slows your heart rate, which in turn calms the mind. This can be incredibly useful for individuals in the early stages of a panic attack and even during a panic or anxiety attack.
This is a mental health activity that will likely be recommended until the end of time because of its huge physical and mental benefits. Researchers are digging even deeper to find the most significant impacts exercise has on the body. Recently, scientists found that areas of the brain most affected by depression and schizophrenia, for example, are profoundly and positively impacted by exercise.
7. Use a Daily Mood Tracker
Trying to figure out why you’re in a particular mood? A mood tracker is an organized method to help you pinpoint patterns and triggers. When you understand your mood, it can help you better figure out how to manage your feelings and reactions. Just Google “mood tracker” to find your ideal template to use.
8. Try Nature-Based Activities
One great nature stress reliever is an outside meditation. Find a quiet spot — by a river, a creek, in an open meadow, on a bench — and close your eyes. What do you hear, smell, or feel? Take a moment to take it all in through the senses. An October 2021 study published by University of York found: “Outdoor nature-based activities are effective for improving mental health in adults, including those with pre-existing mental health problems.”
9. Bird Watch
Another reason to get outdoors? Do a little bird watching. One interesting University of Exeter study found those who live in neighborhoods with more birds, trees, and shrubs are less likely to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. Next time you go outside, check out the birds in your neighborhood!
Green thumbs who enjoy time in the dirt may be onto something. Research shows there are major mental health benefits of gardening, including connecting to others, being present, and developing a growth mindset (no pun intended).
11. Join a Mental Health Group Online
One of the best perks of the internet is there’s a place for everyone. That includes the mental health community, too. If you’re looking for extra mental health support, consider joining a group. This can be especially helpful for those dealing with issues like anxiety, depression, or other challenging mental health disorders like bipolar disorder.
Continue to Protect Employees’ Mental Health
Now it’s time to reflect: Are you doing enough to support your employees’ mental health? In an era where nearly a third of employees believe their work harms their mental health, it’s time to take a closer look at if your employees fall into that category.
There is always room for improvement and change. Ask your employees how leadership can be the champion of workplace mental health changes. The lingering issues of social isolation, depression, and even anxiety as the pandemic restrictions ease up are still very real concerns in employees’ minds.
By fostering discussions and exploring mental health activities in the workplace, you can help your team — whether hybrid, in-house, or remote — keep their mental health in tip-top shape.
How does your company tackle mental health issues? How does your leadership bring awareness to the topic? Share in the comments below!