Skip to content

Bite-sized Mental Health Nuggets

Bite-Sized Mental Health Nuggets

Sometimes blog posts are just too long to read if you don’t have the time! These nuggets are short reads that get to the point while covering what’s happening in the world of mental health. Tips, advice, short commentary and more!

Mental Health 101

Another day, another instance of people being criticized for putting their #mentalhealth first

July, 2021

Simone Biles is now receiving similar criticism as Naomi Osaka, for pulling out of the Olympics.

It blows my mind that after the last 16 months of what we’ve been through as a society that anyone would look at these women and have anything negative to say. We still have this horrible tendency to tell people to sit down, shut up and push through your #mentalhealth issues. We don’t care about your trauma or suffering or burn out.

I can’t imagine all the lives that would have been changed for the better and in some cases saved if more of us put up our hand and said, “No, I can’t. This isn’t worth my mental health and there might not be much of me left if I ignore it and try to ‘will’ it away.”

I wish we had more role models like Simone and Naomi when I grew up, it would have saved me so much grief, guilt, suffering and shame. We need more people to say, enough is enough.

#compassion #HR #leadership #mentalillness #depression #anxiety

quote_1_original (7) copy 7
woman in black shirt sitting on chair

One of the hardest parts of the stigma around #mentalillness is the idea that it’s always in your control

June, 2021

There’s a said and unsaid notion that you’re to blame and you’re just not trying hard enough. Why are you so unhappy? Why are you so anxious? You must be doing something wrong. But mental illness doesn’t work that way, that’s why it’s an illness.

This is one of the many reasons people don’t get help or even admit it to themselves because admitting it means you weren’t strong enough to prevent it or pull yourself out of it.

The way we conceptualize things is so incredibly important, we can’t forget the illness part of mental illness and what that means for how we view it.

It’s not your fault, you have an illness and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

#mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #mentalhealthawareness #leadership #wellbeing

Just here to remind you that you’re going to have bad days, as a:

June, 2021

Employee

Boss

Parent

Student

Friend

Sister/Brother

Wife/Husband

Partner

Human being

Never feel guilty or less than for having an off day. Sit with it, accept it and be gentle & patient with yourself. Tomorrow will likely be better, even if it’s just a little bit. #motivation #leadership #mentalhealth #mindset

pink mug and magazine

On top of fighting stigma, another important reason we need to talk about #mentalhealth is to compare and contrast

May 2021

Now more than ever parts of our normal selves might be MIA and some might think this isn’t problematic but it really depends. This is why talking to one another can open your eyes. For instance, majorly losing your temper and yelling at your kid a few times a week – probably normal right now. A few times a day – maybe not. Staying in bed past 10 a.m. or napping once a day – maybe normal right now. Maybe not. A great place to start is to talk to your friends or close colleagues about what you’re going through because it could be, “Oh, yes me too. Oh my goodness,” or not. And if not, you may need to re-evaluate, “Mm maybe I’m losing my temper with my kids too much. Maybe I should try to find a therapist.” Perhaps your co-worker says, “I can’t work past 5 p.m. anymore. I just crash.” But for you, you’re crashing at 1 or 2 p.m.

Yes, for everyone mental health looks different and there are clinical evaluations for #mentalillness, but this is a very basic and small thing to do.

Not only does it create stronger bonds and comradery, but it makes you think twice about what is normal right now and if you need to seek support.

#depression #HR

quote_1_original (7) copy 4
Choose Happiness

This. Now, this, is one of the most cringe-worthy memes and quotes circulating

May 2021

“Choose to be happy.”

I absolutely hate it. And I’ll tell you why. 

If you are struggling with your #mentalhealth or you are living with #mentalillness, this is the worst message you could get. As if you can spring out of bed toss your hair or rub your eyes awake and say, “Yes! You know what? Today I choose to be happy!” Nope. No. Nah. This isn’t how it works. And what it says is that you are choosing to be sad, depressed and #anxious and that you lack willpower. It’s a dangerous message.

Yes, you can try to do exercises that focus on being grateful and re-framing things, you can try to journal or do cognitive behavioural therapy exercises to shift your thinking but sometimes you can’t simply choose positivity.

It doesn’t work that way. Good mental health is a process and sometimes you’re in a place where you can’t be optimistic. And that’s okay.

Next time you see this type of post, close your Twitter, Instagram or whatever other social media app you’re on (maybe unfollow that account as well) and instead constructively think about what will help you get through the months ahead and as a by-product bring you happiness as well.

#wellness #depression #anxiety #therapy

Our bodies & minds have limited capacities

May 2021

If you’ve worked with me and you’re in IT, you know that I am notorious for having a million web browser tabs open (thankfully, IT folks have always just laughed at me and accepted me for who I am). Last week, while talking to an Apple rep on the phone, she told me people think that you can have a ton of things open on their computer, but your computer’s capacity is not infinite.

I couldn’t help but make the comparison to how we treat our minds and bodies. We think we can do it all or we’re too scared to tell people no, and then we attempt to function when really our capacity is limited! We’re not superhuman. We will crash. You need time to sleep, you need social interaction, you need to be okay saying ‘no.’ Fifteen months later, I think there are still some who are pushing and are on the cusp of a physical or mental breakdown.

It’s not all doom and gloom, like our MacBooks and PCs, we can still do phenomenal things, but we have to choose and focus on top priorities and know that our motherboards can only do so much. Next time you’re on your computer and its freezing or slow and you’re getting angry, remember neither tech nor people are limitless.

#mentalhealth #mentalillness #wellness #wellbeing #HR

Another perfect example at how society fails to address and discuss #mentalhealth & #mentalillness

May 2021

The stigma is still rampant, the judgement fierce. Kudos to Naomi to rise above because I don’t think everyone could do this…most people would just push until they broke down. And that’s the problem, we’d rather see someone push through, while hiding their #mentalillness and say sorry when they break, than to see/hear them say, “No, my #mentalhealth comes first. Sorry.”

It comes first before social pressure.

It comes first before glamourizing working yourself to the bone.

It comes first before a company’s bottom line.

It comes first before keeping up appearances.

A big question I think we all need to consistently ask ourselves is, “Is this worth my mental health?”

I hope in most cases, the answer would be, “No.”

#lessonsforlife #leadership #motivation #mindset

You need to be assessing how much you can actually give to loved ones

May 2021

We’ve all heard the #selfcare tip, “don’t pour from an empty cup” but I’m going to go a bit deeper in regards to why it’s important. For the sake of your relationships you need to be assessing how much you can actually give. If you’re running on low and don’t have much to give, I implore you to step back.

Sadly, I’ve been there. I’ve had a relationship with someone who was close to me suffer because the other person needed what was in their cup for themselves and I kept asking for a sip – joking aside, it saddens me to look back, but I gained so much wisdom from that relationship and what happened.

This is a very real scenario right now as we’re all struggling to fill our own cups. You have to be cognizant of how much you are actually able to give to others and not be afraid to distance yourself, even if it’s just for a little while. And at the end of the day you’re helping the other person because 1. You won’t freak out with anger or be resentful when you’re pushed too far, 2. You can return another day when your cup is topped up and you can actually help that person! 3. That person won’t feel guilty when you possibly have your own break down (that might sound like a joke but I am very serious), 4. They will learn that they have to consider the #wellbeing of others.

There is a lot to this whole #mentalhealth game but the more we talk and share our experiences, the better off we all are! #wellness #mentalillness #mindset

Friday 5 Minute Mental Health Exercise!

May 2021

Write two lists on two separate pieces of paper. One list is, “Things I can control,” second list is, “Things I cannot control.”

Examples:

Things I cannot control:

When the world will open back up

My boss’ newly developed temper

Kids (still) being in virtual school

A good friend who has gone MIA

Things I can control:

Researching the vaccine, making that personal decision, taking the vaccine/decide not to, recognizing the reasons why I don’t want to and set a date to return to that decision making process

Asking my boss, “Hey, is there anything I can change/do to make things less stressful for everyone?”

What my kids eat for the day

Finding new ways to connect with my friends, perhaps reach out if you can and see if there is something in particular they are struggling with

Now tear up the list of things you can’t control and BANG, next week focus on the things you can control list! Post it somewhere obvious, like the bathroom mirror. Now enjoy the weekend and don’t think about either list!

*Long weekend if you’re Canadian!

#TGIF #wellness #stress #mentalhealth #mentalillness #lockdown

The flip side to not pouring from an empty cup

May 2021

We focus on the whole “don’t pour from an empty cup” notion quite a bit, but there’s a flip side to this situation. When it comes to your own #mentalhealth issues, you have to understand and gauge how much others can actually support you, this includes your spouse, family, friends, supervisors and colleagues. It sometimes takes time to learn this skill (took me decades), but it is so worth it, I cannot emphasize that enough.

On your hard days, you have to try to look objectively at who has the capacity to emotionally or mentally support you. Yes, at some points you might not be strong enough to be able to pause and correctly choose who likely has time, space and energy to support you. But now more than ever it’s crucial to try to give it some thought and make sure you’re not overwhelming others or trying to tap a dry well.

You have to be cognizant of this scenario because a lot of times people won’t simply tell you, “I can’t today,” even though they might be having their own crisis. It’s okay if you struggled with this type of social screening in the past or you’re not quite there yet, we’re humans and we have human relationships with bumps along the way to growth.

You have to ask yourself, does this person have anything to give me right now? #mentalillness #mindset #people

Seek advice from others but remember you know your life best

May 2021

The other day I had mentioned to my Dad that I had finally met a personal milestone that all my older siblings had met. It took me much longer, but I had finally gotten there. He replied, “Why do you want to be like them?” I just stood there dumbfounded. Pardon? This was the man who put pressure on me, throughout my teen years, to live up to what my siblings had accomplished .

A lot of us can get hung up on comments or opinions of others, whether it’s from our parents, siblings, supervisors or colleagues. They say something that might hit a chord and you never forget it. And right now, it might be hard to shrug certain things off like we normally would.

ln the last few years I’ve realized, people say a lot of things and then completely forget they said it. All the while I was hung up on it. People are consumed by their own lives, worries and shortcomings, no one is focusing on you and what you’re doing, outside of that one moment. Trust me, they aren’t harping on something they said to you in passing that you took to heart.

My point is, create your own narrative. Seek advice but remember you are the only one who knows your life best. Never let anyone take up room in your head and if you do, don’t let them stay too long! #mentalhealth #stress #success #relationships

Don’t forget at one point your current life is all that you ever wanted

April 2021

When we’re tired or stressed or angry, we tend to forget. We forget that once upon a time, we eagerly wanted the things that we are now committed to and have in our lives.

You wanted that opportunity.

You wanted that job.

You wanted a partner and kids.

You wanted a house.

For me it’s doing my masters. When I have a ton of readings to do or a paper to write, I have to stop and remember that I wanted this for myself. I wanted to further my studies and learn more about our world. There was passion and purpose behind that choice and now I have the privilege of executing it. I wanted this!

I’m not saying not to grow or #change but instead when things get hard, remind yourself of why you wanted this life in the first place – because there’s likely a really good answer that you’ve just simply forgotten. #personaldevelopment #happiness #mentalhealth

Be proactive about your mental health, even if you feel “fine”

March 2021

Some may think they’re fine or not impacted by our present-day world but…is that really true?

Last year, I had to go to an ENT doctor and she took one look in my mouth and said you’re grinding your teeth at night. And I was thrown, like really? Are you sure? Look again! She recommended I get fitted for a mouth guard to wear at night. She also told me she was seeing a lot of these cases and even people who have chipped their teeth because they are grinding them so hard in their sleep.

I encourage everyone to be proactive about their #mentalhealth, even if they feel “fine.” They call it a subconscious mind for a reason. We’re on month 13 and the #stress, #anxiety & #burnout is mounting! We need to stay on top of the narrative and what we’re telling ourselves. #healthandwellness

Workplace Mental Health

What we can learn about workplace mental health from 9/11

September 2021

Like everyone else, I thought a lot about 9/11 on its 20th anniversary. I listened to podcasts, watched documentaries and had conversations. NPR’s The Pulse podcast shared a few stories that really stood out to me.

Just after the plane struck, there were people who were in important meetings and were told by their supervisors NOT to leave their meeting. Sadly, they did so to their own demise. Another, a woman whose job it was to test DNA to identify people went in regardless of the soot, dust and horrendous air conditions of her office. Her boss told her to buy a mask from the store and go in.*

This says A LOT about workplace #mentalhealth. The fact that these people listened. The fact that most of us probably would have listened too! These employees put themselves at risk when their lives should have been put first. This says a lot about what we value and the way we are told to look at our #jobs.

But this was twenty years ago and I think after the last two years especially, our views and priorities are shifting. The conversation about how much we should sacrifice for our jobs has really been more closely examined. Let’s keep moving in the right direction and keep having these hard conversations!

*I would be remiss not to mention the stories about bosses who went back in to make sure all of their staff had evacuated, some not making it back out. There are incredible workplaces, supervisors and CEOs out there who truly value their staff! It’s not all doom & gloom. #HR #mentalhealthawareness #leadership #911anniversary

woman touching a black wall
quote_1_original (7) copy 6

Who you should be listening to right now

June, 2021

If you’re going to listen to anyone right now, it’s not:

Your boss

Your coworkers

Your work BFF

Your work husband/wife

Your friends

Your significant other

Your parents

It’s your body. If you can’t keep your eyes open, if you’re having trouble reading or comprehending what’s on the screen, if you’re hungry or have to pee and trying to work through it, if you’re feeling off in any way (which can be how your anxiety is showing up), listen to your body and get up or take a break or call it a day. Your body is trying to tell you something. Listen.

We have a vaccine and numbers are down but we still have a long road ahead of us #mentalhealth wise. Let’s not forget that this journey isn’t done. #wellness #selfcare #motivation #mindfulness #leadership

Breathe and think about how you can make someone else’s job/life a little easier

April 2021

Yesterday, I was on the phone with an Apple rep for a couple hours because my Mac was slow. And I stopped to ask her, “How are you? You guys must be be so busy/stressed because of covid & people working from home/virtual school.” “Do you live in America (I could tell from her accent that she did)?” “How are things in the city you live in?” We talked about our lives, joked, laughed and talked about how hard things are right now.

Thirteen months later and I still make sure to stop and ask people, who I know have a rough job, “How are you?” It costs zero dollars to be kind to people and treat them like human beings. I can tell you 1000% kindness is going to be a big part of how we’re going to move forward from this horrendous time in our lives.

I know a lot of people are on the edge and have zero patience right now but I urge you to breathe and think about how you can make someone else’s job/life a little easier.

#mentalhealth #people #covid #leadership

After all that we’ve experienced in the last year, are we all finally ready to redefine what success means?

March 2021

I know I am.

Does it mean a big salary & job title, working late nights, burning out?

Does it mean a big house and fancy car?

Or does it mean a smaller house, a practical car and a more balanced life?

Does it mean finding the time & money to travel now? Or wait 30-40 years until you’re retired and much older?

Does it mean putting your #mentalhealth and the mental health of your family first?

Does it mean being close with your family, being connected to and knowing your kids?

Or does it mean paying for their education?

Does it mean being able to listen to your body and what it needs?

Does it mean fighting your demons and always growing as a person?

Does it mean understanding other types of people from all walks of life and contributing to making their lives better, in any way?

Does it mean thinking about and minimizing your carbon footprint?

Why are we all here? What makes us successful at life? Especially now that #covid19 has flipped our world upside down.

#leadership #balancedlife #success

Remind your staff about the facts around their EAP

February 2021

I’ve read that one of the big issues with workplace #mentalhealth is that employees know that they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) but they aren’t using it! Which, I find very disheartening.

Make sure to tell your staff about your EAP and what type of mental health professionals it covers. Let them know it can be a stepping stone to finding additional support! And remind them that it is 100% CONFIDENTIAL.

#covid19 #leadership #HR #workplacementalhealth

Student Mental Health

Young Adults Cropped II

Dear University & College Students

September 2021

Almost two years later, the world is still figuring itself out. And this all still sucks. Plain and simple. You didn’t sign up for this. But you’re here so now what?

  1.  I urge you to create your own experiences. What type of experience did you envision before #covid19? How can you use that young brain of yours to think of ways you can salvage this time? What unique ways can you connect with TAs, instructors and profs? Be creative!
  2. Talk to each other! You’re all likely feeling the same way (even if no one is saying it).
  3.  It may not feel this way, but you have many years ahead of you! This is not the end-all, be-all. You will graduate, it will be hard, but you will.
  4.  Remember there are #mentalhealth supports. Check your school’s counselling services and talk with your parents about getting additional support.
  5.  If your parents are all up in your business right now, remember, they love you, want the best for you and are probably just really worried about you.
  6. You can do this. You are strong and #resilient. Everyone is rooting for you!