For many of us, our workplaces become second homes. Colleagues become extended family, and work offers fulfillment and professional growth. It is not without its stressors, however—especially throughout the pandemic. From offices shutting down to now opening back up, fears and expectations for working parents and caregivers, societal and political issues and unrest—each brings challenges that can impact an individual’s mental health.
According to Mental Health America, since the start of the pandemic, more people are talking about mental health and see it now as an important component of overall health and well-being—though mental health conversations can still feel complicated and out of reach.
Even with these conversations becoming less taboo, the stigma is still a daunting hurdle to overcome. Recently, during a Society for Health Communication meeting, in recognition of Mental Health Month, attendees were asked to share what they are doing to support their own mental health.
As an agency that supports a variety of health & science clients, the importance of this question was evident. This was an opportunity to be part of the conversation in a workplace setting that may not feel as comfortable at first. We were so inspired by the question and responses that we asked our team the same. Here’s what team FOVNDRY had to say:
“My work has always been one of my greatest passions, so I tend to live glued to my email—even when it’s not necessary. Over the past year, I’ve made a really conscious effort to try to separate from my phone in the evenings and constantly remind myself that “it’s not urgent” and “it can wait until tomorrow”. Even though I never resented the self-induced grind, this focus on separation has made a huge difference in my stress and anxiety levels, and has given me the time and energy to re-commit to an exercise routine and more time with my family.
Externally, I’ve also been very conscious of what others might be going through behind closed doors. It’s so easy to view things through a narrow perspective; but when you shift focus to empathy and understanding about others, it encourages you to have more grace with yourself, too.” – Megan
“I am dedicating time for meditation and self care, including trying to work out at least three times a week to help stay active. I have been communicating more openly about my feelings when they arise to my family and friends. Every morning, I write down 10 things I am grateful for.” – Camille
“It is important for me to talk openly about my mental health journey. I have been in therapy on and off for 11 years. I currently have weekly sessions and still find them to be very insightful. Being candid about my experience with therapy will hopefully lessen the stigma around it, even if just for one person. I believe mental health and well-being means taking care of ourselves first to then being able to take care of those around us. I’m learning that self-care is not selfish and saying ‘NO’ or setting boundaries are okay. Overall, I am learning to accept that I am not perfect and am a continuous work-in-progress, and that’s okay, too!” – Joanna
“I love this question. It’s inspiring to learn about what others are doing and an important reminder to prioritize my mental health more. Truly setting aside time for self care, and a good place to start for me is a daily walk—even if it’s a short one.” – Hillarie
“After experiencing a series of family emergencies in the past year, I’ve learned to ask myself in the most stressful moments of the day, “Is this a life or death situation?” Despite how anxiety-ridden the situation may be, the answer is generally and comparatively “No.” That alone can really help bring perspective, clarity, and peace of mind to any worrisome or problematic encounter. These days, I find it easier to assess and compartmentalize things—just by asking myself that one very simple question. It helps. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.” – Gerald
“I try to wake up an hour before I actually need to each day to listen to music, read, meditate, or journal. Not only am I doing something that calms me—I am getting back-in touch with myself. Staying in touch with oneself and one’s needs is, to me, the first step in self-care. For anyone, I think even the smallest window of alone time in the morning can grant them time to do just that.” – Hallie
We appreciate the openness of our team to share their challenges and what they are doing for their own mental health, and encourage others to have these conversations with their own extended families. For more information about Mental Health Month, visit: mhanational.org/may.more insights
FOVNDRY (formerly Van Eperen) is an award-winning, fully integrated communications agency that has made its mark in the public and private sectors, plus a variety of membership-based associations since 2004. We craft custom solutions for multiple industries, including: Health & Science, Transportation, Real Estate, Education, Consumer Packaged Goods, and more. With offices in Rockville and Baltimore, our Maryland-based PR and marketing firm also fulfills the creative and branding needs of businesses and organizations in the DMV and beyond.
We’re a certified minority business enterprise (MBE)/disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. As well, FOVNDRY is a woman-owned small business (WOSB) that’s on the federal GSA AIMS schedule (GS07F0312T), and on a mission to help DoD and HHS agencies. Get to know us better in person, and connect with us daily via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.