The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. During this time, we wanted to raise awareness about mental health, fight the stigma around mental health and educate and support members of our company about different resources they have available to them to support their own mental health.
Earlier in the month, we added a “mental health break” slack status to our company for those times that you are needing to take an hour or a whole day away from work and your computer. As a company, we encourage people to take this time if they are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.
We also held a session for the whole company where we invited a therapist to come speak with us as well as had employee - led sessions that were different ways to take a mental health break.
We were lucky to invite Jennifer Riviera - Enriquez, Licensed Professional Counselor, to speak about ways to create a positive mental health environment at work. Some of the ways to do this are to regularly check in with each other during coffee chats and informal meetings, making sure that employees are actually taking time off when they say they are (no checking slack or email!) and providing time and spaces for employees to turn off their work brains after hours to rest and recover. We give our greatest thanks to Jennifer for her time speaking to us during our session!
The second part of our session was employee led mental health awareness sessions. During these sessions we had CS team member Alvin lead a 15 minute fitness routine, CS team member Lucy lead a crafting session and Dir of People Ops, Ashlee lead a meditation. Please read a bit about the sessions and why our team leaders decided to run these sessions:
What did you do during your session?
Alvin (fitness)- During our session we started off with a demonstration of the movements for the workout then jumped into a spicy warm-up “Bring Sally Up”! 30 repetitions of the squat, now the total reps wasn’t extremely challenging it was the holds that were intense!
After waking up our legs, we got into the real workout which was Tabata (HIIT)! The workout consisted of body weight movements with intervals of 20 seconds of work at max effort accompanied by 10 seconds to rest.
Then after all of that heavy breathing we cooled down with some light dancing to Despacito - thanks to Qian!
Lucy (crafting)- We channeled our inner child and made shrinky dinks! I used to do this as a teacher with my first graders and it was so much fun.
Ashlee (meditation)- We encouraged everyone to find a calm, quiet space and we did a 10-minute guided meditation that focused on relieving stress.
Why did you choose to lead this session?
Alvin (fitness)- Fitness is one of my absolute passions and having the opportunity to share a piece of me with my team was phenomenal. That was one of the most soulful experiences I’ve had since my time with IK12.
Lucy (crafting)- It’s no secret to the Customer Success team that I love to craft. What I love about shrinky dinks, and crafting in general, is that it is open-ended and everyone can find a way to participate. It also doesn’t hurt that crafting is the perfect time to chat and catch up, which is super meaningful in a remote-first environment.
Ashlee (meditation)- Meditation is something I incorporated in my daily routine 3 years ago. It’s been very instrumental in helping me manage my anxiety. I love talking about the practice of meditation and always hope that it can help others as it continues to help me.
What does (fitness, crafting, meditation) mean for your mental health?
Alvin (fitness) - Fitness means that I can decompress everyday stresses and challenge myself. It means that I can unplug and recharge my battery so I can perform at optimal levels. It means that I can show up as my very best self for everyone in my life or that I cross paths with. To me fitness is absolutely everything for my mental health and I will continue to prioritize it and spread the good word!
Lucy (crafting) - Other than a walk or hike, crafting is my ultimate mental health break. When I feel myself getting stressed or overwhelmed, I make a plan for weekend crafting. I love the opportunity to put on some music or a good movie and create something. I especially love making things for other people whether it’s a banner, ornament, or care package. My dream is a combo office/craft room where I can keep all my supplies organized and easily accessible.
Ashlee (meditation) - Mental Health is a topic I hold near and dear to my heart. I started openly sharing my own journey with chronic anxiety years ago to help normalize the conversation because I didn’t want anyone to feel as alone as I used to feel. Meditation is something that I’ve incorporated in my daily routine to help me manage.
With so much going on around us, I hope awareness about meditation continues to grow, and people learn how much of an amazing tool it is for managing and improving our mental health.