Mind, Body
+ Spirits

Self-Care:Your New Mental Health and Wellness Routine

It’s often mid-Spring, mid-week or even just midday when “the feeling” begins to creep up. It’s last night’s argument with a family member distracting you at work or you suddenly remembering that 5 pm deadline right as the drinks arrive at happy hour with your boo thang. “Check please!” Cue the inevitable eye roll.

It is a hustlers world, and anxiety camouflages itself seamlessly into our everyday routines. We all live and work in a society that’s always plugged in, where high-stress levels are worn like a badge of honor in most workplaces. At Covet PR, we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with some of the most inspiring health and wellness brands in the industry. While healthy snacks, functional beverages, cruelty-free self-care products, and natural supplements stock our shelves, even we can be thrown off course by the evolving needs of our clients and industry, not to mention the ebbs and flows of life in general.

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the Covet PR team turned to our favorite RD’s, life coaches, podcast hosts, and authors to help us better understand the mental obstacles we face in the workplace on a daily basis like anxiety, fear, stress, and worry. Most of these tips and tricks should sound familiar. Some newer ideas will be so simple and clear they might set a string of lightbulbs off in your head that will help you think clearer, make better decisions, and develop a high-functioning culture within your workplace where you can foster balance and collaboration free of the nasties that cloud us day to day. Either way, any and every one can benefit from brushing up on their coping mechanisms to better combat stress and achieve mental well-being.

If you can harness these 6 totally free habits, you will undoubtedly set yourself – and your peers – up for mental, physical and spiritual success.

Inhale Gratitude

“Breathing exercises are a quick and portable way to relax in the moment — whether you’re commuting home or on a lunch break,” says Marlynn Wei, MD, psychiatrist, certified yoga and mindfulness teacher, and author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga. She pairs breath work with a walking meditation. “I inhale gently through the nose for five steps, hold for five steps, and exhale through the nose for five steps,” she says.

Breathing exercises can help you tap into your most grateful state of being. You know that gratitude can help you be happier, but it can also help you de-stress, according to Dr. Ross. “Mentally connect to three things that you are grateful for in your life. They can be big things, such as family or owning a home. If you can connect to something you are grateful for related to the stressor, even better,” he says. “For example, being grateful for the opportunity you have at work despite the mounting pressure of the current project or deadline.” This helps you reframe the situation.

PRO TIP: Taking daily supplements like Liveli’s, All In System (includes Sleep Peacfulli, Restore Daili, and Focus Clearli) is a great way to get ahead of your game, keeping you rested, even-keeled and ready to take on life and works inevitable curveballs.

 

Buy The Ticket

We get it, we’re not all living that A-list life with fueled-up jets and a glam squad ready to fly us to Ibiza at the drop of a floppy suede hat. But we can all take a “get away” even if our most recent bank statement suggests otherwise. Whether you literally or figuratively “gotta get out of dodge,” the idea is simple and remains the same; get away from your desk and decompress. Whether it’s simply taking a day-caytion and heading to a local park with your favorite read or pampering yourself with a facial and massage at that trendy day spa, the goal is to set aside the time and only do activities and visit with people that fill your soul.

PRO TIP: Out of PTO? Utilize popular Apps like Calm and/or Headspace to gain access to thousands of modern 3-minute meditations. It’s like having your own mini vacation right there with you in your back pocket. You’re already attached to your phone, so why not use it to your advantage?  Double up and listen while taking a walk around the block. Not into meditation? Even doing something as simple as setting a daily reminder to pause and be grateful will make a world of difference.

Eat More Calories

This one is counter-intuitive but an absolute truth. Keeping common sense in mind, opt for healthy snacks vs. the overprocessed and sugar loaded alternative. Max Lugavere, author of Genius Foods and host of The Genius Life podcast says that foods high in fat, protein, and/or fiber are your best bets, as they can set off a chain reaction of neurotransmitters that produce more serotonin and as a result, boost your mood. Our favorite afternoon pick me up? Barney Butter’s 100 calorie snack packs in flavors like Chocolate, Vanilla & Espresso and Raw & Chia.

 

Take The Stairs

Literally! Take the stairs, park far away when running errands, and make it a habit to walk around the block or house whenever you’re on a phone call. Unfortunately, there’s no way around it; sweating releases endorphins and that makes you feel good. We love Kim Kelley’s (Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential’s Personal Trainer) approach to integrating a little movement into your routine, even at Happy Hour. “There are little things you can do every day to add steps and movement. When a friend approaches you to meet them for a cocktail after work, suggest hitting Soul Cycle for a 45 min. spin sesh first. Or when your girlfriends are all making plans for Sunday Brunch pose the question “Would you guys be open to joining me on a hike first so we can earn those calories!?” Attaching something you aren’t as motivated to do to a plan you’re already going to do will help you “balance your calorie checkbook” and eliminate excuses. Think “What did I do to earn this glass of Rośe?” before indulging and you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll look better too.

PRO TIP: Stay hydrated. While we all aim for that post-workout dewey glow, it’s important to remember how crucial it is to stay hydrated. At Covet PR, we prefer to have a big bottle Core at our desk, in our gym bag, and in our car at all times. Not only is the bottle ultra grammable, it’s also ultra purified and balanced with electrolytes and minerals to work in harmony with our body’s natural pH but hey! That’s just how we roll.

Go Natural

Being outdoors often reminds us of where we came from and connects us to our spirituality. When you feel your blood pressure and pulse rising, get up and go outside for a mental reboot. “Spending time outdoors is a great respite for an overactive mind,” says Dr. Boardman. According to Kate Hanley, author of the new book, Stress Less and founder of MsMindbody.com, gazing off into the distance can literally change your perspective. “Otherwise, you spend most of your time constantly looking about a foot and a half in front of you, most likely at your computer, which fatigues the eyes and makes your world seem metaphorically smaller than it is,” she says. “Extra points for kicking off your shoes, as having your bare feet on the Earth is especially energizing and grounding.”

Phone a Friend

We’ve all done it. Calling your BFF to vent is so helpful in relieving stress and shifting your focus. Verbalising your frustrations not only helps you to clarify key points but also helps to just get the negative convo out of you. The best part is your friend is disconnected from the situation and will be able to offer clear sound advice. Worst comes to worst, there’s nothing like the power of a girlfriend who knows how to make you laugh at yourself. Even if you don’t feel like sharing your struggles and stresses just hearing about someone else’s day, life and happenings can get you out of your funk and focused on helping a loved one through theirs.

PRO TIP: Cleaning up broken agreements, arguments, incompletions can actually recover energy, that you can then put into more productive efforts. So no matter what the issue is, you owe it to yourself to reach out and communicate with loved ones. Suggest meeting for an activity to chat through unresolved issues. Focusing on something like volunteering at a church or homeless shelter will help to shift your perspective and make you current woes feel smaller and much easier to forgive and/or resolve.

Weighing in on Employee Wellness

We have all heard the business buzzword “work/life balance” and wondered where that magical place exists. Is it at the end of rainbow? Do you teleport there? With the increasingly competitive job market, there lies an exceeding pressure to give 110% all the time, resulting in a big imbalance of these two poles. Far too often we are – as a culture – guilty of neglecting our health in pursuit of the next deadline, or that big report. We have begun to get caught in the hamster wheel of the overachieving adage, who has time for life when there is so much work to be done?

Work/life balance is like regularly scheduled car maintenance. Sure we can skip a couple routine checks when we are pressed for time and/or money…until that fateful morning when your car suddenly sputters to a stop on your way to work and some neon doodle starts blinking like crazy on your dashboard. Only then, when it is too late and costly to undo the damage of neglecting our cars’ health maintenance, do we realize the importance of proactive measures for our valiant steeds.

In a day and age where time is money, how can we encourage employees to slow down their day-to-day responsibilities to make sure they are taking care of themselves? Think outside the box. It is time to get creative with our policies and procedures and go above and beyond what once passed as acceptable.

The only way to attract new talent – and keep those we already have happy – is to spice things up. The Huffington Post put it best in a recent article on Why Ignoring Employee Wellness is a Mistake: “Success in this new world will depend on an employer’s ability to maintain older, experienced workers, keep healthcare costs down, and satisfy the ideals of the incoming generations.”

It is time to view employee wellness as a necessity, not a luxury. Behind us are the days where gym memberships, healthy office snacks and team retreats are deemed irrelevant. Now, more than ever, we are seeing employers offering programs and initiatives that address employees’ total well being (Stephen Miller, SHRM, 2016). Investing in efforts to keep your staff happy and healthy shows in the numbers, increasing employee performance, productivity and profits. In a recent study conducted by University of Warwick economists, productivity spiked by 12% in happy employees, while dropping 10% in those who claimed to be unhappy (Ravesencio, Fast Company, 2015). Research also shows that when team members are happy at work, they are better collaborators, more willing and energized to work toward common goals, and develop more creative ideas. (Zwilling, Forbes, 2014)

So treat your staff to a pass for a free spin class. Order smoothies for your team to kick off a brainstorming session. If you have noticed someone logging a ton of extra hours, offer them a mid-week comp day to recharge their batteries so they don’t burn out when you need them most. Or on the most basic level, take a little time each week to give an employee or colleague some praise for something they did a great job on. All of these are examples of newer practices that make up great company culture, and will undoubtedly attract the right people to your team to help take your business to new heights.