Saturday, October 10th marked the celebration of World Mental Health Day. The intention is to bring needed awareness to a topic that can come with lack of understanding and, at times, stigma. The focus this year is especially needed, given what all of us have collectively gone through over the past seven months.
The Centers for Disease Control reports U.S. adults have experienced considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions from anxiety and depression to increased substance abuse through the pandemic. Tragically, there’s one death every 40 seconds globally from suicide. This affects mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbors, friends, coworkers and loved ones. Mental health affects all of us, and it’s just as important as physical health.
Science increasingly showcases the benefits of mindfulness for overall wellbeing. Here’s how I apply mindfulness in my everyday life. I view it as a way of getting you more aware of what’s going on inside yourself and around you. For me, awareness creates an opportunity to ensure I’m showing up fully – with my mind and heart. Having a mindfulness practice connects me to my intuition and helps filter through distractions, a tuning fork for the soul if you will.
There are many different forms of mindfulness practices, from meditation to nature walks to yoga. The key is to find something that creates stillness within you while being fully present in the moment.
One of the simplest practices I’ve found is literally a breath away. While there are many mindful breathing techniques, an easy one is to bring awareness to the inhale (through your nose) and exhale (through your mouth) of your breath. Doing this for a few minutes a day can reduce your body’s stress levels, lower your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and beyond.
Whatever the form, I hope you take the time to find what works for you. We must take care of ourselves in order for us to take care of one another.
I believe World Mental Health Day also shines a light on the need for us to have empathy for each other. Whether it’s caring for elderly parents, juggling virtual learning for kids while working, or the challenging effects of isolation and social distancing, everyone is going through something.
To mark World Mental Health Day, I hope you take a moment to check in on someone you think needs it. It can be a simple text to share you’ve been thinking of the person or setting up time to reconnect. It goes a long way, and it’s something we all could use a bit more of these days.
I’m proud of the resources Tyson Foods has made available to team members as a commitment to their overall health and wellbeing. Some of them include:
- Working Wellness Groups that provide information and discussions on kids and parenting along with financial, mental and emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing
- The Tyson Foods Chaplaincy Program, with about 100 dedicated chaplains available to listen, encourage, or pray with team members who reach out
- An Employee Assistance Program, designed to assist with personal, family, work and life issues – offered through Health Advocate. Through the program, team members can speak confidentially with a licensed professional counselor.
These resources are supplemental to national hotlines, which help people across the country every day. I encourage you to keep these numbers in mind for you or someone you love.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- National Crisis Textline: Text “HOME” to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text “LOVEIS” to 1-866-331-9474
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662- HELP (4357)
World Mental Health Day is a timely reminder to take care of yourself, your family, and one another. Together, we can help end the stigma and shed light on this important topic.