I know it was on October 10th, but I wanted to relax on my weekend, and I went on a long hike, which was extremely relaxing and much needed after being cooped up inside of a house for this long.
Why I’m glad, there is a World Mental Health day in 2020.
This year’s World Mental Health Day, on October 10th, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.
The economic consequences of the pandemic are already being felt, as companies let staff go in an effort to save their businesses, or indeed shut down completely.
Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. Investment in mental health programs at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.
This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.
These are ten ways and things I have done to help me cultivate a positive mental state.
- Journaling exercises– I purchase Moleskine journals because I enjoy the look and feel. Journaling every day allows me to process things think about the good, the bad, and what I can improve on, and what I appreciated about my day. A journal entry can contain everything from gratitude for the mentors and people who have made a positive impact in my life, or it can be a running to-do list that I haven’t completed, and when I wake up in the morning, I can tackle these unresolved items/ emails.
- Gratitude practices: I have a gratitude journal, and I create videos on things that I am grateful to share with the world to spread positivity and acknowledge people who have impacted my life.
- Couple’s Journal/activities– being able to block off time and intentionally do things that we enjoy together, like playing video games, helps us connect with each other and unplug from our work. We have been playing the mobile League of Legends, and it’s been a lot of fun. She’s really a pro, and we win so many games together. It helps bring us closer when we do cooperative games like Borderlands and League.
- Create a space to reflect and gather your thoughts– I work with therapists, coaches, and mentors to talk through some of the issues and talk through some of the anxieties we have and that I come up against. Everything from imposter syndrome and working in a remote environment. Processing the loss of my workplace working in the beautiful Empire State building is something that I had to come to terms with. It sounds silly but losing that was a big part of my life but then realizing how much of my identity was tied to work that I made a commitment that I will be dedicated to my job but it will not define me to the point of losing my true identity.
- Meditation practice– Luckily, we have cool support structures like Scott’s Month of October Mindfulness challenge, where we do 20+ mindfulness meditations. We run a daily meditation group every morning at 9:15. One of my favorites is Transcendental Meditation. I’ve tried many different types of meditation, and this has been my favorite so far. I always feel a sense of calm, and it helps me tap into my intuition.
- Doubling down on relationships and friends– The men’s group that I created we meet every month and have a buddy system where we get closer to our buddies. That has served me so much in being able to have deeper connections and create separation. We can be vulnerable and talk about our insecurities and our life story. It’s a beautiful thing when men come together to share vulnerably about what it means to be a father. You don’t feel alone when you have a group of men who talk openly about their feelings and what they are out to create in the world. One of my best friends Edwin Aristor is going to be a father soon, and I cannot wait for him to be one of the world’s greatest fathers. Other fathers can chime in and offer advice based on going through these experiences before.
- Creating boundaries- being able to turn off helps so much- With everyone working from home. Well, a large portion of us is. Turn off notifications when you leave for the workday and make sure you aren’t overloading your calendar so that you still make time for yourself is crucial- remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. I can do a much better job at this, but I did take 3 PTO days the last three workdays, which helped unwind going for a long hike.
- Hiking and being in nature does wonders for me- Figure out what your connection to spirituality is. My spiritual practice is when I am around a large body of water, or being able to appreciate the fall foliage helps me have a sense of how beautiful the world is. Turning off the TV to be connected to something beautiful instead of watching the triggering news stories every once and a while will help to reset and appreciate what’s beautiful already.
- Block off time for just you– Self-time for me looks like a reflection, doing what I love to do that sources me. Reading a lovely book and biography helps me relax. I enjoy a nice story or reading about these past great leaders like Ben Franklin, Tesla, and Leonardo Davinci’s lives that inspires me and takes me away from thinking all of the time. I can truly unwind and be myself.
- The top things I’ve learned from seeing a therapist is that often the stories we make out in our subconscious and unconscious often take control of our lives. We don’t even realize how much it’s affecting us. Most of us don’t have the awareness to be able to take a bird’s eye view in looking at our “problems and issues”. By not dealing with it and pretending that it doesn’t exist it makes it out to be bigger than it really is. That’s why I love taking advantage of LYRA health- a mental health/ Employee Assistance Program. A lot of people say it’s expensive to pay for a therapist- well I think having peace of mind and being able to function at 100% is worth the trade-off don’t you think. Being able to be even more effective in your job, life, and relationships, in my opinion, is always worth the ROI.
What are some of the ways you work on Mental Health? Please share it below.
Davidson Hang is currently in Sales at Cheetah Digital which is a Marketing technology company located in NYC.
Davidson is an avid networker, personal growth- life and business coach.
He loves spreading the love and regularly helps people create and design the life they want for themselves.