Taking care of one’s mental health can be difficult, but this year has proven especially challenging for many around the world. Staying indoors, being isolated from friends and family, as well as being hooked on news headlines can make just about anyone feel overwhelmed.
Fortunately, you are not alone. Novel Coworking is here to help, by offering a few helpful reminders as well as directing you to important resources. But first, it’s important to understand exactly why looking after our mental health is so important.
Importance of Mental Health
Why is it so important to take care of our mental health? Just as we take care of our bodies, we must take care of our minds. Our brains handle all the important functions of living, from memory and emotion, to logic and reasoning.
If our mental health suffers, so too does our physical health, which in turn affects work, productivity, decision-making and almost everything else in our life. We can run the risk of burnout, endanger our personal and professional relationships, and develop even more damaging mental illnesses.
On the other hand, if we take the time to understand what is happening in our minds, and seek the necessary help, we can avoid these growing problems and cultivate a happier and more fulfilling life. Let’s look at a few resources that can help with your mental health.
Mental Health Apps
Bloom is a quick and easy way to get started with therapy straight from your phone. The app comes with interactive videos, guided therapy programs, daily exercises, and even analytics that track your overall progress. Bloom harnesses the power of CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a short term, goal-oriented, and hands-on approach to therapy. The app comes with a free trial, as well as monthly ($14.49), three-month ($34.99), yearly ($86.99), and lifetime ($399) subscription options.
Headspace has captivated the world with its simple yet friendly format, that anybody of any age can find it useful. Their mission is simple: to allow people to live healthier and happier lives through meditation and positive sleeping habits. The app comes with guided meditations, videos, music and more. Best of all, they have something for every situation: whether it’s handling anxiety at work or relaxation before bed. Headspace is free for the first two weeks, then can be purchased for $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year.
Similar to Headspace, Insight timer offers over 55,000 recordings, music tracks, and guided meditations with one notable exception— they’re all free. Whether it’s a guided practice for going to sleep, or a TED talk on the importance of meditation, there’s something here for everyone.
Habits can either help us or impede us in the quest for mental resilience. Bad habits such as drinking and smoking can be difficult to stop, while good habits such as exercise or mindfulness, can be difficult to start. HabitBull can help. This app has a ton of features that you’ll find useful, from reminders, cloud syncing, data exports, and much more. HabitBull is totally free, and you can see it in action in this video:
Streaks is a lot like HabitBull, only with a cleaner, minimalist design. Each habit you want to track (say walking the dog or quitting cigarettes) is represented by a circle, and the more you continuously form that habit, the more that circle gets filled in. It’s simple yet surprisingly effective. Streaks has a one-time payment of $4.99.
Free Online Mental Health Classes
The Science of Well Being
Offered by Yale University, The Science of Well Being is a deep dive into increasing one’s happiness and building productive habits. Taught by Professor Laurie Santos, the course covers misconceptions about happiness, how the mind works, and how to change for the better.
Offered by the University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill, Positive Psychology is a primer into the field of positive psychology, or the science of what makes life worth living. Dr. Barbara Frederickson also covers tactics that can help just about anyone make a positive difference in their lives.
Positive Psychology: Resilience Skills
A University of Pennsylvania Coursera course, Positive Psychology: Resilience Skills is all about mental resilience, at home and at work. Taught by Dr. Karen Reivich, the course covers protective factors (such as mental agility and optimism), cognitive strategies, and a critical relationship enhancement skill.
Mindfulness and meditation can often seem like exotic or complicated concepts. Though it started as a religious practice, today it is also viewed as a psychotherapeutic practice, meaning it can help one tremendously with their mental health. In his course, De-Mystifying Mindfulness, Professor Chris Goto-Jones breaks down the history of mindfulness and relates it to the fields of philosophy, politics, and psychology, giving each student the tools to understand meditation and mindfulness with clarity.
Mental Health at Work
You may be wondering, “how can I apply these lessons and resources in the workplace?” The answer depends on how you want to approach it!
As a leader, you can always increase awareness of mental health by providing assessment tools, workshops, and seminars. Manager training can also ensure your other leaders are equipped with the vocabulary and resources needed to support their teams.
It all starts with the culture. Companies should strive to develop a welcoming culture, one that prioritizes work-life balance over productivity. This can present itself in a variety of ways:
– Allowing employees to work remotely when they want
– Regular check-ins regarding workload
– Encouraging and incentivizing healthy decisions (such as rewarding workers that maintain their exercise habits or kick a smoking habit)
– Offering crucial benefits such as healthcare, paid time off, vacation days etc.
– Providing free or discounted mental health resources
Caring for our mental health remains one of the most important issues of our time, perhaps now more than ever. We live in a culture and society that views mental health illnesses as weaknesses or nuisances when in reality it can affect just about anyone. It falls on us as individuals and as a collective to look after ourselves and each other. That all starts with developing the practices and using the right resources to look inward and care for our minds.
Here is a list of emergency resources if you need immediate help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
Crisis Text Line: Text ‘DESERVE’ TO 741-741
Lifeline Crisis Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ (Online live messaging)
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT-CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line: 1-800-622-2255
National Crisis Line – Anorexia and Bulimia: 1-800-233-4357
GLBT Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
TREVOR Crisis Hotline: 1-866-488-7386
AIDS Crisis Line: 1-800-221-7044
TransLifeline: 1-877-565-8860 and https://www.translifeline.org
Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net