only month of the year we think about our mental wellness. We asked mental health experts in the NationSwell Council how we can center our mental health all year long. Here’s what they’ve shared so far.

Give yourself permission to feel: Many people are socially conditioned to suppress their emotions, especially those considered negative, to such a degree they become disconnected from their inner selves. Here is an exercise I created to help people honor all their emotions and access the wisdom transmitted by their emotions. Visualize yourself sitting in a circle with your emotions and feelings as honored guests. It might help to draw a large circle on a piece of paper and write down along this circle the emotions and feelings arising within you. Next, identify the three to five strongest emotions you are feeling (circle them on the paper) and welcome a conversation with them. One by one, say to each: “I honor you and give myself permission to feel you and to listen to what message you want to tell me. Is there anything you want to tell me?” Then sit in a moment of silence with each one to give it space to talk to you. (For more tips, please read this article: “Tender, Loving Self-Care for Asian Americans: A guide for tending to the traumas of anti-Asian violence and racism.”)

Submitted by Due Quach, CEO + Founder, Calm Clarity 

Eat lunch: Instead of working yourself to exhaustion hoping that you’ll have time to rest later, carve out time to do the things that recharge you NOW. A small and powerful way to start creating space in your day is to take a lunch break. Start taking a consistent, hour-long lunch break and do something you enjoy – read a book, meditate, watch your favorite show, or enjoy the outdoors. When you prioritize taking time on a daily basis to do the things you enjoy, you’ll have more energy and you’ll be able to show up in all the parts of your life — for your job, your family, and yourself. 

Submitted by Whitney A. White, Founder of Agra Global, Creator of Take Back Your Time

Hold space in the workplace to discuss: Any credible conversation about belonging at work or within any community requires addressing mental health (among other critical topics). Sharehold’s research on belonging at work during a time of uncertainty found that mental health was the top reported factor that impacted employees during a prolonged crisis. Now, as we emerge from the crisis, we must take the lessons forward with us by holding space to discuss mental health and burnout at work – and take action on what we’re hearing. This could mean a period of reduced work loads or a company-wide, pre-scheduled break during which everyone is offline, and investing in trauma-informed internal communications. It’s critical for managers and executive leads to lead by example here.  

Submitted by Sarah Judd Welch, Principal & CEO, Sharehold

Forget the hype: Remember, mental health is a journey — not a to-do list. Last fall, during a wave of depression, I wrote this blog post about how I needed to let go of the “wellness hype” to keep going in my healing journey. You might not feel better after a week of meditating. You might feel better and then something small triggers you, and you’re down in the dumps for a week. Taking care of your mental health isn’t about succeeding. It’s about taking time to acknowledge and honor your feelings, needs, and desires day to day, moment to moment. Journaling is a powerful way to get in tune with what you need for your mental health day to day – because everyday is different.

Alina Liao, Founder + CEO, Zenit

Learn more about the NationSwell Council here.