But some simple techniques combined with an adoption of treatment through tech can help to solve those limitations. Here are three ways to incorporate effective care into your daily life, no matter your geographical access or cost limitations:
Harvard Medical School suggests six techniques to incorporate into your daily routine in order to maintain a sense of well-being, calm, and focus.3 By invoking relaxation, these techniques overpower and calm down your body’s natural stress response. Creating a daily practice, even for a few minutes a day – while waiting in the Starbucks drive-through line, or while on hold with your doctor – creates a skill that, in time, you will be able to turn on as needed.
Dr. Ellen Contente, DSS, MA, RSCP, NSA and Founder of Heart-Centered Programs will lead you through the first two techniques, Breath Focus and Body Scan, in this clip from Guardian’s webinar, Mental Health in Uncertain Times: Strategies to manage stress, anxiety and fear.
Try a simple meditation technique from Dr. Contente:
It’s a lesson in irony to realize that while tech may be the root cause of mental wellness challenges4, in many instances it may also act as the solution.
Access to smart, licensed therapists who can screen you for an actual mental disorder and act as your consistent support system is easy to find virtually now – and can take up a lot less time out of your week. For instance, Talkspace created an online network of licensed therapists that are accessible 24/7 as part of a subscription fee. Traditional hour-long therapy sessions are available, but what’s unique about Talkspace is that it offers “quantity time” – answering clients by texts or voice notes quickly and in smaller bites.
Virtual talk therapy can be expansive and inclusive: Therapy for Black Girls makes mental health treatments specifically relevant to Black women, and the newly launched Ayana connects marginalized communities with therapists from their culture, background, and race.
Mental health wearables are in beginning stages, but for early tech adopters this is a space to experiment with new gadgets while also improving your well-being. Feel is an emotion-sensing wristband with integrated biosensors that monitor a user’s physiological signals throughout the day. It pairs with a supplemental cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) app that provides relevant exercises and a weekly meeting with a mental health professional.
Payroll company Paychex surveyed 1,000 workers in 2020, who shared that only one in five employees discussed their mental health with their manager, and just 5 percent with their HR supervisor5.
If your mental health is taking a toll on your work, it’s OK to bring up mental health struggles with your manager in a one-on-one video chat, especially if you approach the conversation with candid honesty. Your manager could be experiencing the same feelings or has a loved one struggling with a similar issue. Really, the only way your manager will know how you are feeling is by talking to each other.
If you advocate for yourself in the workplace by asking for a raise or time off, then discussing your mental health needs is no different. But if this makes you uncomfortable, or you do not have a trusting relationship with your manager, there are ways to tailor your work life that do not require you to disclose your diagnoses.
- First, if your employment circumstances and health condition render you eligible for leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or state law equivalent, make sure you obtain the appropriate paperwork from your health provider and certify it through the appropriate channels with your employer so that you can take legally protected absences when you need to. Your employer is legally required to protect your private health information.
- If you work for a company with 15 or more employees, your employer is covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). If your condition qualifies as an ADA-protected disability, the company is required by law to provide reasonable accommodations if you ask for them so that you can perform the essential functions of your job. Ask your HR department how to access this information.
- Some companies offer mental health services, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides a limited number of complimentary therapy sessions.
While it can seem easier said than done to manage your mental health, there are so many techniques and resources available that you shouldn’t feel alone or ill-equipped. Take a breath, and reach out.
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