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Highlights | Prioritize your emotional health

  • Focusing on your mental health is a form of self-care and can help you deepen your connections with others.
  • A deep breath and a quick body scan are great ways to stay in tune with your mind and body.
  • The initial act of noticing how you’re feeling is a great first step in addressing your mental, physical and emotional health.

In our series, One Fun Thing, we’re collaborating with Anne Browning, PhD, associate dean for Well-Being at the UW School of Medicine, to bring you small, specific and low-effort ways to have more fun, plus a question to help you check in with yourself and others, and well-being resources.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Although May is coming to a close, checking in on our mental health and well-being is a year-long priority. Whether at work or at home, take some time during the day to focus on your mental health in a positive, healthy way.  

One fun thing: Proactive ways to stay in a healthy mindset

Addressing your mental health doesn’t need to take a lot of time out of your day and can ultimately help you keep an optimistic mindset.

“One way we can start taking care of our mental health is by starting to pause and take stock of how we are doing,” says Anne Browning, PhD, associate dean for Well-Being at the UW School of Medicine. “I will often ask folks to do a ‘3 Centers’ check-in, where I ask them to take a deep breath as they reflect on how they are feeling in their body, head and heart.”

Attending to your moods and emotions can ultimately help you be more caring to yourself and the people around you, deepen connections with your co-workers or loved ones and increase gratitude for your time at work and outside of work.

“Noticing our aches and pains or excitements and joys can help us attune to our own well-being, to notice the shifts over time, and ultimately attend to our mental, physical and emotional health,” says Browning.

Try these tips to keep your mental health top-of-mind: 

3 ways to maintain a positive headspace

  • Treat yourself — You don’t need to fill up on your favorite sweets or buy an expensive lunch, but try to find something in your day that can bring you joy and excitement, such as listening to your favorite podcast or taking time to connect with colleagues. 
  • Take breaks — Regular breaks can be beneficial to your physical and emotional health. Stand up, take a walk or get some sunshine.  
  • Talk it out — If you’re feeling stressed or feel your mood negatively shift, try to take a minute to talk to a loved one or a trusted friend.

Question of the month

A way to check in with each other and ourselves. Use this question to connect with co-workers at your next meeting, to start a conversation around the dinner table or as a journal prompt.

Staying in a healthy, positive mindset takes daily practice and intentionality. What is one thing you are doing today to take care of yourself?