With everything on your plate and the constant striving to be superhuman, how do you safeguard your mental health and cultivate a genuine connection in our modern life?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a perfect time to consider and reflect on how we can all do just that.
We live in an era where there’s a constant need to adapt to the dramatic pace of never-ending change. Technology has forever changed and is forever changing the way we interact and talk to each other.
For many, that change has had us retreating to our computer screens, email, social media accounts, and “to do lists” for the bulk of our days. And in doing so, it’s easy to see how we’re becoming more and more disconnected from other human beings.
With endless responsibilities & demands on our time how do we create connection with both ourselves and others in a lasting an meaningful way?
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office there is an epidemic of loneliness and isolation in the United States. Lacking connection can increase the risk for premature death to levels comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
The report released this month [Link], titled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation,” finds that even before the pandemic, about half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness.
“And it warns that the physical consequences of poor connection can be devastating, including a 29% increased risk of heart disease; a 32% increased risk of stroke; and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia for older adults.”
These are not the only causes of lonliness and isolation. Ironically, you can feel lonely even if you have a lot of people around you, because loneliness is about the quality of your relationships.
Which once again has us wondering, how do we do it? Said a different way, how can we safeguard our mental health, keep that human connection and not feel lost while benefiting from all of the advantages of technology and change?
I’ve often wondered this myself and I can’t profess to have the answer. I can only share what has worked for me. And when I start feeling like I’m beginning to become submerged and need to come up for air, I have found the following to be hugely helpful and keeping me happily afloat.
- Daily Self-Care: I start my day with a simple, personal morning ritual. Even when I’m feeling anxious about something on my mind, it’s amazing to me how this process grounds me and gets me closer to a resolution before diving in to solving it. My ritual always includes journaling, and exercise – whether a walk or something more intense – they both provide clarity, focus and help me start my day from a source of strength.
- Vision: I start my work day by reading my Brilliant Brand Statement and Manifesto. These are tools I developed to stay connected to what I am creating, why I’m doing it and what are my audacious goals. They keep me connected to the fire within me that keeps me going.
- Human Connection: After I read my vision I connect with 3 people, just to reach out, say hello, offer a smile or even support, if needed. People are really important to me so I make time for it.
- Solo Time: Every Friday afternoon I have a creative date with myself. This could be going for a walk in a park, visiting a museum, going to an art supply store, getting a massage, etc. Something that is truly for me.
- Read & Learn: I carve out at least 30 minutes each day to read and or learn something, like a new technology that I want to delve into.
- Family: Dinner with my family is our daily time together.
- Imagination: I have a vision board filled with images and words that I take in right before falling asleep. I imagine I’m in it, feeling and experiencing it as if it’s happening now. (This is a neuroscience concept.)
- Fun & Creativity: I engage weekly in creative expression – Currently, I’m starting Tango lessons with my husband. And I swear I will do a musical duet with my son before I physically leave this earth.
- Support: And if I feel I need support, I get it. It’s a sign of strength. Here’s one organization, Mental Health America, that has free tools, resources, assessments, worksheets and articles that can support you.
As you take on your holiday weekend, just do one thing that’s really important to you to keep you grounded, feeling happy and powerful without having to be superhuman. I’d love to hear yours…the special thing that you do to safeguard your mental health.
And finally, MY GIFT TO YOU. My son, Luca, is a professional musician and performed Wonder Woman in a tribute to John Legend. ENJOY!!!