Benefits professionals know that mental health was already a growing focus for benefit plans even before the pandemic, and now it will continue to be of heightened importance for years to come. That’s why this Employee Benefits Day, the Foundation is focusing on mental health and resilience.
Resilience—adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, has been a buzzword in the mental health world over the last couple years, but over the last year it has been an essential skill as we have adapted to COVID-19.
Here are seven tips you can share with your employees to help them continue building resilience:
1. Take Time for Self-Care
Whether it’s physical activity, eating healthy or getting enough sleep, healthy behaviors can help you manage stress. Find an activity that you enjoy, and take time each day to fill your tank. If you’re not sure where to start, try mindful breathing, where you sit quietly and bring attention to the physical sensation of your breath. Doing mindful breathing for even a few minutes can make a big difference!
2. Reframe Challenges as Opportunities to Grow
There will always be unexpected bumps (or sometimes potholes!) in the road, but reframing challenges can make a big difference in how you face a situation. Try to stay flexible to life’s inevitable surprises. Resilient people are not paralyzed by challenges but instead see them as a chance to grow.
3. Improve Your Self-Talk
That little voice in your head? Make sure it’s practicing self-compassion. A good way to tell if your self-talk needs a makeover is to consider whether you would say those same words to a friend in your situation. Try to stop negative self-talk when you hear it. Remember that everyone experiences struggles, and be optimistic about the future.
4. Establish Realistic Goals
In a crisis, it may be daunting to see how you will handle a problem. Try to view the situation in a matter-of-fact way and set reasonable goals. If you’re getting overwhelmed, break the challenges down to small, manageable steps. You can do it!
5. Accept That Some Circumstances Are Outside of Your Control
Flexibility is an essential part of resilience, and it is sometimes necessary to adapt to a situation that you cannot control. Accept that reality, remain positive and focus your energy on situations that you can control. Journaling or jotting down thoughts helps me with this one!
6. Connect With Family, Friends, Co-Workers and Neighbors
Though it might not be through in-person contact right now, having a strong support network is a great way to get through life’s challenges. Sharing your feelings with others allows you to release stress and brainstorm solutions, and a strong network can provide both emotional and logistical support in a crisis. If your network isn’t as large as you’d like, look for opportunities to help others. By extending support to others, you’re more likely to receive support in return.
7. Know That Your Actions Are in Your Control
Don’t forget that, ultimately, you are the one in the driver’s seat of your life and the one in control of your future. Remember: You can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can always choose how you respond.
We hope you are able to recognize this Employee Benefits Day and know how appreciated you are for all the work you do to help support employees, especially during challenging and stressful times.
Three more resources for you:
- A free webcast on mental health at work (today, April 6 at 3 p.m. ET). You can catch the recording afterward as well.
- Mental health resources page—a repository of all mental health resources from the Foundation (webcasts, blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, etc.)
- Read this great summary my colleague, Julie Stich, CEBS, put together on Resilience: Readiness to Face Adversity.
Communications Associate at the International Foundation
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