Importance of Mental and Emotional Health

Mental and Emotional Health

We all know the basics when it comes to our physical health: eat right, exercise, get routine screenings. But over the last few years, conversations about health have begun to include other kinds of health. Emotional and mental health have become major talking points and can hugely contribute to a person’s physical and overall well-being. When it comes to yourself and your team, it’s important to understand mental and emotional health and to treat them as just as important as physical health initiatives.

What does mental and emotional health mean?

According to the CDC, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

Poor mental health and mental illness are not the same, though they sometimes can be equated with each other. Mental illness is more specifically defined as health conditions like mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, or trauma-related disorders. However, poor mental and emotional health can lead to poor physical health, harmful behavior, and even chronic illnesses.

Although progress has been made, there is still stigma associated with mental health and mental illness. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans experience some kind of mental illness, so it’s highly likely that you’ll encounter team members who fall into this category. It’s important to be understanding and accommodating to meet the emotional and mental needs of yourself and anyone you manage.

How can I better care for my own mental and emotional health needs?

Make sure you have a trusted person in your life who you can talk to openly and honestly. That might be a mental health professional like a therapist or psychiatrist, or it might just be a friend or family member. Humans are social creatures, and sharing experiences and struggles with another person can help us to feel connected, understood, and less alone.

The pressure is especially on for professional women to be performing at high levels. That feeling of having to be on all of the time, or the pressure to constantly be working and working at your highest capacity, can really take a toll. Remember to take breaks, take time for yourself away from work, and implement practices into your everyday life that give your brain a break from work. Those activities might include exercise classes, a meditation practice, reading a book, or even enjoying your morning coffee away from your inbox. Even small changes can have a major impact!

What are the mental and emotional health needs of my employees?

Your team is looking to you to set an example. One of the biggest challenges to peoples’ mental and emotional health right now is burnout. In order for employees to not reach burnout, they need to work in an environment that supports their mental health needs, allows them to leave work at work, and is flexible as their lives change. You can set an example by doing small things like not sending emails outside of work hours or taking a lunch break away from the computer. If your employees see you setting boundaries and prioritizing your own mental and emotional needs, they’ll feel much better about prioritizing their own!

Some easy steps for implementing better mental and emotional health practices in and out of the workplace

  1. Provide access to mental health professionals
  2. Offer and take advantage of mental health days
  3. Offer and take advantage of flexibility like work from home options
  4. Take breaks throughout the day
  5. Make time for meals, movement, and fresh air
  6. Put time limits on reading emails
  7. Take the email app off of your phone

Mental and emotional health are incredibly important. We know you want whatever is best for yourself, your business, and your team, and these easy steps are a good place to get started!