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Reflecting and Unplugging on World Mental Health Day 2022

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As a society and workplace, we’ve been talking about mental health more than ever before, and for good reason.

This year for the first time, Zeno Group honors World Mental Health Day as an official company holiday. On Oct. 10, our offices will be closed for talent to unplug, slow down and do whatever serves their mental wellness that day.

Zeno also recently rolled out “mental health days” in addition to “sick days,” allowing talent to take time off for mental wellness when needed, and a new Employee Resource Group called Healthy Minds. This ERG is a safe space for our talent to discuss mental health in greater detail, look at current events related to this topic and share resources broadly. Led by this ERG, we hope to destigmatize mental health issues and build a more inclusive community for all Zenoids.

What does mental health mean to you? It can mean many different things for different people. It might mean feeling energized to tackle a busy day ahead, full of important client meetings and hustling and bustling around the city. It could mean approaching each day with a slower, more relaxed attitude, making plenty of time for rest and relaxation.

Personally, I feel “mentally healthy” when I’m well-rested, calm yet energized as I start my day. This usually involves fresh air, movement (ranging from slow yoga to a sweaty run) and time spent with loved ones. One day I may need an hour to recharge in solitude with some breathing exercises to improve my mental health, while another day, I may crave a big, loud, family dinner full of belly laughs and too much homemade French Silk pie.

I also view mental health as something that is ever-changing, never stagnant nor fully “achieved” or “accomplished.” When I started my own journey in therapy about two years ago, I thought one day my mind, a few months down the road, would feel “better,” maybe even “fixed.” I had a few topics on my list to talk through, and I figured once we had worked through these pressing feelings, I would be able to get on with my life and never look back. Wrong!

Two years later, I’m still seeing a therapist, albeit, much less frequently, but finding your own version of “mental health” takes time, and often, a lifetime. We can all benefit from sharing our thoughts, feelings, worries and boldest dreams with a person outside of ourselves. Whether that be a licensed professional or a trusted coworker. Some weeks a few phone calls with my dear mom are all that I need to feel grounded and at peace with my anxieties as they come and go. Other weeks, things feel a bit heavier, and I just need to release a few tears to my loving partner or well-equipped therapist.

There is no shame in asking for help. Let me repeat that. There is no shame in asking for help.

There is no shame in taking an hour, or a day, to breathe, nap, bake, jog, write, paint, or do whatever your body and your mind needs. There may come a time when you don’t know what you need. That is okay too. And let me let you in on a little secret: you are never alone. You are never, ever alone.

Mental health may feel fleeting on certain days, sometimes for days, but know there are brighter days ahead. As my grandma always used to say even as her own mental health severely declined in recent years, “the best is yet to come”. I truly believe in and act upon this notion most days.

How are you being kind to your mind? Think about it. Maybe even write it down. Perhaps share it with a friend, a colleague, or a mentor. Thoughts can lead to action, and action can lead to a better, brighter life. We do not owe it ourselves to be without flaws, to live without fear, but we owe it to ourselves to try.

In the words of Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” 

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