May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to shed light on a topic we at Big Health feel deserves the spotlight year-round.
This year’s theme, set by Mental Health America, focuses on how our surroundings impact mental health. So we want to offer some tips you can share with your employees for building a safe and relaxing home and work environment to better manage common mental health conditions such as insomnia and anxiety.
1. Prioritize relaxation
Whether you’re at work or home (or if you work from home), having time to relax — even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time — is essential for maintaining good mental health. If you work in an office, for example, it can be challenging to find a space to unwind. Prioritize taking daily walks outdoors, if you can, and try to find a quiet place to take a few deep breaths and calm your mind before returning to work. Likewise, try to bring elements that promote relaxation for you into your home or office space, whether that be plants, books, photos of loved ones, or whatever brings you peace.
2. Practice healthy sleep habits
Sleep has been shown time and time again to be an essential foundation for health — both mental and physical. By establishing a healthy sleep environment, you’ll set yourself up for a great night’s sleep. And you don’t have to have the most expensive mattress or a sound machine with all the bells and whistles — most people will benefit from a sleep space that’s quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature of around 65° Fahrenheit.
3. Schedule a time and place for worrying
Worries and intrusive thoughts occupy our minds at some pretty inconvenient times — like when we’re laying in bed trying to fall asleep or spending time with loved ones. A helpful technique for reducing those thoughts is to schedule a time (and designate a specific place in your home or office) solely for worrying. Try listing out all of the worries, negative thoughts, or things that have been bothering you at this scheduled time and place. By getting these thoughts out, you’ll reduce the time spent thinking about them in the moments that matter most.
4. Strengthen the bed-sleep connection
This is challenging but can be one of the most effective ways to improve your sleep. Most people use the bedroom for things outside of just sleeping — such as reading, watching TV, or even working. While this might be comfortable, it can disrupt your sleep habits because your brain begins to disassociate the bed from sleep. Try to use the bed only for sleep, and see how you feel.
Hopefully, these tips will enable you and your employees to be more intentional about your surroundings to support your mental health. Coping strategies like these are the foundation of what we teach patients in Sleepio and Daylight, our clinical-grade digital treatments for insomnia and anxiety, respectively.
If you have any questions about how to better support the mental health of your organization, reach out to us today.
Sleepio and Daylight are available as an adjunct to usual medical care for insomnia disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, respectively, for adults ages 18 and older, without FDA review under their COVID-19 policy.
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