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Ways to Improve Mental Health & Wellbeing

Published: October 21, 2021

Author: Sana Ansari

Mental health is one of the most important aspects to our wellbeing, but it is often deprioritized. We live in a goal-oriented society, pushing people to live from one accomplishment to the next. In addition to that, we have our own whirlwind of responsibilities to manage – both personally and professionally.

While we try to juggle all the aspects of our lives, our mental health can easily be overlooked. If this happens too often, it takes a toll on our quality of life. Then it impacts both our personal and professional lives – the lives we were working so hard to improve in the first place!

About a year and a half ago I had a major change in my personal life – which not only drastically increased the number of responsibilities I have, but also took a toll on me emotionally. This made me realize the magnitude of how important mental health is, and the impact it has when it is not given the attention it deserves and needs.

We’ve all had a major life-changing experience over the past two years – going through a pandemic, tumultuous domestic and world events, the acceleration we have seen in the digital marketing industry, and how it has all impacted our workload.

This being said, there are a lot of things I do to ensure I’m prioritizing my mental health so I can be the best version of myself both personally and professionally. I wanted to share some of the things I do to improve my mental health, along with why.

  • Daily Release
    • This is what I refer to as a time where you can step outside of your world of responsibility to just get your body moving and doing something you love. For me, this consists of either a morning run or bike ride. It gets me outside (in a different environment, since I am typically at home most of the day working), allows me to get my head out of the weeds, and the endorphin release gives me a good mood boost so it starts my day off in a productive and positive way.
    • Everyone has their own variation of this type of release, whether it be physical or creative (such as painting or music). The goal with this is to just have some set time to do something you love and allow your body to get outside of its usual responsibilities.
  • Therapy
    • I started going to therapy for the first time a little over a year ago and it has been quite life-changing for me. It has been extremely valuable to have an unbiased, trained professional to talk to about any struggles or challenges I am having – being able to lift the physical weight off my chest by talking it out, and better equipping me with the tools to navigate the challenges I am facing. Additionally, therapists provide a unique perspective and help you reframe things to guide you forward in a productive and beneficial way.
  • Awareness
    • I try to consistently stay aware of how I am feeling throughout the day. If I ever start to feel overwhelmed or exhausted, rather than pushing through and sucking it up, I use my variation of a method called “DIG Deep,” which is a concept introduced by Brené Brown in ‘The Gifts of Imperfection.’ DIGing deep is when I get:
      • D: Deliberate in my thoughts and behaviors by setting intention
      • I: Inspired to make new and different choices
      • G: Going (when I take action on the above)

For example, let’s say I’m at work and I have one person on the team who just announced their plans to leave 3Q and pursue an MBA and I need to find a backfill ASAP to meet current client obligations, another person who needs advice on an urgent, highly-complex client request, and a third person who needs support to scope a critical project request from a CMO with ASAP timing and all are asking for my attention at the same time. In this scenario, when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed, rather than pushing through and trying to solve all of the issues (as they come in via Slack!), I get “deliberate” with my thoughts. I take a step away from my computer and get outside for five minutes to get some fresh air and think about what needs to be done now and what can wait. I “inspire” to make a different choice that gives me some breathing room. Instead of taking care of it all at once, I decide to:

  1. address the most time sensitive issue that really requires my attention (urgent client request),
  2. empower my employee who was fully capable of managing changing project expectations with the CMO to develop his or her own action plan, and
  3. address the employee transition plan to the next day. Since I will need to meet with my managers to determine resource availability, and since every employee transition is emotional, it gives me time to think through communications.

By stepping away to “DIG” deep, three important and complex issues that all need my attention ASAP are minimized to just one, and I no longer feel overwhelmed. This also helps develop the skill sets of my team so next time a similar issue arises, they will have the confidence to problem-solve without my involvement.

  • Proactive identification & self compassion
    • The more I have worked on getting in tune with what I can handle and will keep my headspace in a good spot, the more I have been able to proactively foresee when I may get burnt out, overwhelmed, or expect an event to have a negative toll on me. When I identify that, I make sure to show myself compassion. To me this means I don’t need to be the strongest person in town and “push through.” Instead I need to protect myself mentally and plan to do something that will either:
      • Help me rest and recharge (like taking a half day or minimizing unnecessary internal meetings so I can preserve my headspace and focus on what is most critical).
      • Do something that makes me genuinely happy (such as taking a PTO day to ride my bike all day!).
      • Get the support I need (like raising my hand to my manager Stephanie Mace to let her know how I’m doing and that I may need relief).

One of the biggest reasons why I have been so grateful to work at 3Q is the fact that I can do all of the above. While these past two years have been difficult for me, it goes a long way knowing the company truly wants to support you and ensure you have a healthy lifestyle. I would encourage everyone to rely on 3Q’s support – take advantage of the amazing benefits here and communicate with your manager and the leadership team so they can help support you in the way you need it.

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