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:

Meditation and breathing techniques

Pairing up with a therapist through one of many new online or wearable programs

Talking to your employer

Take a breath: Overcome simple stressors with these relaxation techniques

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:

Digital tech solutions that make mental health treatment easier than ever

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.

Wearables: Wear your emotions on your sleeve

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.

Talk to your employer

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.

Understand the laws concerning mental illness in the workplace

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. If you don’t have a program, Guardian is making our WorkLifeMatters Employee Assistance Program resources available to all Guardian small business customers.
  3. 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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Disclaimer

Work Life Matters Program services are provided by Integrated Behavioral Health, Inc., and its contractors. Guardian does not provide any part of WorkLifeMatters program services. Guardian is not responsible or liable for care or advice given by any provider or resource under the program. This information is for illustrative purposes only. It is not a contract. Only the Administration Agreement can provide the actual terms, services, limitations and exclusions. Guardian and IBH reserve the right to discontinue the Work Life Matters program at any time without notice. Legal services provided through Work Life Matters will not be provided in connection with or preparation for any action against Guardian, IBH, or your employer. The Work Life Matters program is not an insurance benefit and may not be available in all states.

This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations may vary. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Sources:

National Institute of Mental Health, January 2021

Harvard Business Review, December 2020

Harvard Health Publishing, September 2019

Very Well Mind, February 2020

Paychex Works, July 2020

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