It is uniquely healing to be able to tell your story to others. Storytelling has a role in every culture as a way to transfer knowledge and bond people together through common experience. And as awareness of mental health grows, more people are disclosing their own experiences of mental health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and at Two Chairs, we’re encouraging our team to share their stories of how they manage their mental health in order to lead fulfilling lives while working to bring exceptional mental healthcare to all. We hope that, as you read about our experiences, you are inspired to share your story with the people in your own life.
Two Chairs Shares
We asked Two Chairs team members across departments questions about managing their mental health. Here’s what they said.
What is one coping strategy or self-care practice you'd like to share with others?
“Any type of physical activity helps. I find that if I get some exercise in every day, my resilience for dealing with stressful situations or setbacks goes way, way up.” - Jake Powell, Business Development Team
“Square Breathing, for sure. It's short, easy to memorize, and very effective.” - Matt Stephan, Clinician
“As an EMDR therapist, I recommend regular walking (if it is safe to do so) as it mimics the bilateral stimulation we create in an EMDR session to reprocess traumatic memories.” - Anonymous
“I love cooking and find that. When I try something new, it really pulls all of my attention in a way that promotes mindfulness. There is no space for worrying about work or the cleaning that I haven't done. I try to pick at least one new recipe a week.” - Margaret Anton, Senior Clinical Innovation and Research Manager
“Sunlight can do wonders for your mental health, including helping your body maintain a balanced circadian rhythm.” - Hilary, Clinical Team
“Movement creates momentum towards change and freedom! I walk every morning, and it literally moves me towards feeling energized instead of being ‘stuck in my feelings.'" - Leah Hibl, Clinician
How has managing your own mental health positively impacted your personal and professional life?
“Being a working mom of two kids, mental health is a top priority of mine in order to effectively parent my kids and bring my best self to work.” - Amanda Brownell, Quality Team
“Being able to manage my mental health has helped me find balance as a full time working mom of two as well as a wife. By checking in with my emotions, and learning what I need to do throughout the day that makes me feel good, I can fill up my cup before I need to be there for others.” -Hilary, Clinical Team
“I am simply a better human being when I am managing my own mental health. I am kinder, more patient, and more compassionate to myself and to others.” - Jen Munyer, Clinical Team
“Managing my own mental health has given me the ability to find meaning and purpose out of life's most difficult and challenging moments, while also gaining the tools and insight to navigate things both in and out of my control.” - Matt Stephan, Clinician
Do you have a story about your mental health or self-care tip that you want to share?
“The Positive Psychology world has made a large impact on me. Knowing what actually leads to happiness (not being happy but having happiness) and deliberately practicing those things has improved my overall enjoyment of my life.” - Colleen Marshall, Clinical Leadership Team
“We are not robots! Our best looks different every day. If you're at 15% and you give 15%, you're still giving 100%. Go easy on yourself when you're in survival mode, it's only temporary!” - Anonymous
“Prioritizing self-care first thing in the morning creates the message ‘I put myself first and my needs matter.’ It's empowering!" - Leah Hibl, Clinician
How do you maintain awareness of your mental health as a clinician?
“I love journaling on a daily basis because it allows me to check in with myself and my feelings and notice the things that I need to do for myself throughout the day.” - Hilary, Clinical Team
“I have found journaling and meditation to be highly important pieces of self-reflection. They help me zoom back and get a better sense of how I am doing overall. And, as a somatic therapist, I try to pay attention to the messages my body gives to me about my mental health on a daily basis.” - Jen Munyer, Clinical Team
“As a person with lived experience with mental illness and substance abuse, I must remain in constant contact with my recovery and spirituality on a daily basis. Having some practice to start my morning as well as frequent self-reflection throughout the day is required to set myself up for success. Being more present and mindful allows me to know when I am living, when I am thriving, and when I am surviving, and how I can meet my needs in response.” - Anonymous
We don’t all cope the same (and that’s okay!)
Managing mental health is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every person has a different way of coping with the various stressors of life depending on their personality, culture, lived experiences, and many other individual circumstances. If anything we’ve shared above resonated with you, feel free to emulate it. If you don’t feel that connection, give yourself permission to manage your mental health in ways that feel right for you.