Studies show that 1 in 5 Americans manage a mental illness in their day-to-day lives. That one person could be your coworker in the stall over, your bus driver, one of your parents — or even yourself.
Since 1949, the United States has recognized May as National Mental Health Month to raise awareness surrounding the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of trauma survivors. Trauma comes in many different forms, just as it affects everyone differently.
Mental health is the glue that keeps us running smoothly as we live out our lives, but staying even keeled can be difficult, even in the most conducive and supportive environments. Most of our adult lives are spent at the office, making our careers a central feature in our stories. Since the majority of our waking hours are spent on the clock, it’s common for mental health disorders and issues to arise on the job. In fact, deteriorating mental health is a major motivator for people leaving jobs.
At Hireology, we’ve taken the mental health of our Hireologists to heart. This May, we made the time to highlight the various endeavors we’ve made as a company to support our teammates, both during the pandemic and after because we know that when our team feels good, they are primed for success. While we offer unlimited PTO to our full-time employees and mental health days every month, it can be difficult to embody healthy behaviors if you don’t have a model or at least an idea of what will proactively help you relax and be present.
While we could use this opportunity to speak to you about structural policies you could implement to help your employees manage their mental health, we’re actually going to focus on some pointers from our leadership team on how they effectively manage stress during their day-to-day lives. After all, there isn’t a singular solution for mental health; how your mental health is performing is often the culmination of your daily activities and the efforts you make to remain in the present moment and shake off unnecessary stress.
How Hireology leaders proactively manage their mental health
“Over the last 18 months, I’ve made a conscious decision to prioritize sleep, diet, and exercise, and it’s made a huge difference in my ability to stay present and focused for work. I’ve shifted my schedule to be in bed by 10 pm, up by 5 am, and then start every day with something active. For years, I brushed off the importance of prioritizing sleep and a consistent exercise regimen. Never again!” — Adam Robinson, Founder & CEO
“When it comes to coping with stress, there is no one model that I use to cope. When stress hits, I find that it’s best for me to take a minute and it’s usually rooted in nature or movement. I will take 20 minutes to go outside in my backyard, breathe in deeply and enjoy nature; I also will take a moment for quiet or meditation. It is calming to see and hear the birds, or feed the squirrels, or just sit in the moment and find gratitude and give myself grace. I find that getting in a quick workout, going for a walk, blaring music and singing loudly, laughing and when it’s been a really crazy day — giving and receiving a bear hug from my daughter. She will always think I have superpowers.” — Terry Adam, VP of People
“Two things I love that weirdly help me unwind are running and true crime so any combo of that on a Mental Health Day off is great! An early morning lake run then coffee and Dateline.” — Elizabeth Gerber, VP of Operations
“A task I use to help restore my mental health is yard work and gardening. I would never pay anyone to mow my lawn. Admittedly, I have a relatively smaller urban yard and I’ve also got an electric mower so there isn’t a lot of noise or fumes, so I find the whole process therapeutic. Just you and the sun and the grass and the visible accomplishment you get when you’re done. The perfect mindless task to escape your daily anxieties.” — Kevin Knapp, CFO
“My approach to stress can vary with the seasons but there are a couple of consistent ‘go-to’s’ for me that I try to always be centered around: 1) Always try and get a good night’s sleep. 2) Do my best to exercise five days a week. 3) Eat as healthy as I can. Beyond that, simple mental health exercises for me are spending time walking or talking with a family member, playing golf or basketball, getting my house in order and just generally being outside. I am always pleasantly surprised with how centered I feel even taking 20 minutes to prep for the next work day.” — Chris Skerrett, SVP of Sales
“Working out has always been my go-to stress reliever, but even more so since becoming a mom. Nothing hits quite right like a 6 am HIIT class to get the blood flowing and set my intentions right for the day. It’s the time in the day that is just for me!” — Maggie Presby, Sales Director
“Taking care of my mental health and wellness means I am more able and capable to care for others around me and also set the right example for others.” — Anil Harjani, SVP of Product & Growth
“By taking care of your mental health and wellness, you are essentially ensuring that you bring your best self to work, personal relationships, etc. If your mental health is suffering it can be an albatross that blocks your ability to think, communicate, or engage. What this means in practice to me is a consistent pursuit of self awareness and checking in on YOU. Give yourself permission to say, ‘I’m not okay,’ and then address it in the way that works for YOU. For me, it’s constantly asking myself, ‘Why did I react that way?’, ‘Was that my best work?’, or ‘Am I giving my all to this situation?’ If the answers don’t fit, it’s time to give myself permission to find a way to take a breath, step away, hit pause or even ask for help.” — Kristin Tschantz, VP of Growth Marketing
“For me, it’s all about knowing when to step away. If I find myself going down a negative path or starting to feel overwhelmed, that’s my queue to take a step back from the situation and take a few minutes for myself. When I’m at home, that usually leads to a walk with my dogs or if I’m at work, I’ve left the office and gone for a walk along the river. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, that’s enough to collect my thoughts or even just zone out completely.” — Julie Lombardo, VP of Customer Success
“For me, I love to share a good laugh with coworkers, friends, and family. Finding the humor brings down the stress and helps build connections with others. Our work is important, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun while doing it.” — John Asermely, CTO
Key takeaways from Mental Health Month
- Mental health is more important now than ever before — the pandemic exacerbated existing mental issues for some while creating brand new anxieties and other issues with mental health for those who were previously unflappable. Take the time to check in with employees to see how they’re holding up occasionally.
- Creating a safe space for yourself to ground and focus on remaining in the present moment is necessary.
- Take time for yourself and monitor your bandwidth — saying “no” is okay
- Creating routines takes trial and error, but you’ll find what replenishes your battery with a little practice
As an employer, the best thing you can do for your employees is to model healthy mental behavior yourself, meaning you take the time you need to make sure you’re performing at peak capacity. We hope that you were able to find your balance again this May, and that you continue to do so throughout the rest of the year.