Mental Health Awareness Month 2020

October 31, 2020

In honour of October being Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re going to take some time to discuss how we here at EPIC are taking care of our health, both mental and physical. Even if these experiences aren’t identical to the ones you may have, there may still be ideas or options that can be helpful. As well, an important part of taking care of our mental health is to talk about it and it can be very helpful to know that other people around you are experiencing, or have experienced, something similar.  

mental health

During our Sept. 30 episode of the E.P.I.C. Hour, Alisa and Rochelle spent some time talking about how they’re dealing with burnout and taking care of themselves as Epic Alliance Inc. has continued to grow substantially over the last seven years. Both of them gave different examples of steps they’ve taken and things they’re doing as they each make their health a priority. 

For both of them, helping with their burnout and stress levels has been hiring other people to join Team Epic to take on some of their responsibilities so they can focus on their top priorities or higher-level activities. As Rochelle often says, “I have people for that!” Recognizing that we can’t do it all is a great first step when it comes to dealing with burnout or high levels of stress. Of course, not everyone is in a position to hire someone else to take on some of their career responsibilities, however, as both Rochelle and Alisa illustrated later on in the discussion, they’ve extended that approach to their personal lives. 

Rochelle mentioned that she doesn’t have the time for meal prep or cooking, which means she’s turned to a meal prep service to help meet that need that she has. For Alisa, that looked like hiring someone to come in and do house cleaning every other week so it’s something she doesn’t have to worry about.

By figuring out what one or two things might be contributing to stress and feelings of being overwhelmed and finding someone else to take that on, it can help you to avoid burnout. There are a couple of options that may work: 

  1. Hire someone to come in and do a thorough cleaning once (or once every few months) and then do what you can until their next visit. 
  2. If it’s overwhelming to think of the total amount of things that need to be done, try breaking them down into more manageable steps or allotting a day per chore. Rather than spending an entire evening or Saturday afternoon or cleaning, it might make more sense to clean the bathroom on Saturday, vacuum on Tuesday evening, and do a load or two of laundry on Thursday and designate Monday for paperwork/business - whatever that looks like for you.
  3. It might not work to hire someone, but do you live with others? Is it possible to delegate certain tasks to other family members or roommates? Even if they’re small things, like checking the mail or putting the dishes away in the morning, having something taken off our plate can help with feeling overwhelmed or having to take care of it all ourselves. 
  4. If meals stress you out, meal kits are definitely an option (and there are a variety available). If that’s not an option, meal prepping once or twice a month might be more feasible. A quick Google search can give you several meal prep options, like these 77 ideas from Delish or these 24 freezer-friendly meals from Good Housekeeping. 
  5. Eating on a budget can feel tricky, but Bootstrap Jack makes it fun and inventive! Along with the recipes, Jack lists the prices of each of the items she used in the recipes, for folks who may be skeptical. Jack does live in the UK, so the prices won’t align exactly, but are still a good guide for budgeting and meal prep. She also has a huge selection of recipes for various dietary restrictions, so those who may be vegan or lactose intolerant will also find recipes. 
  6. Try adjusting or adding in some routines. Small changes can have a big impact and even swapping one way of doing something to another can help with alleviating stress. 

Alisa also talked about getting up in the morning to get on her elliptical, and the World Health Organization stresses the importance of taking time for exercise. To help with some ideas, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has some activities for people of all ages to try! Another option might be trying this guided walking meditation put together by UC Berkeley.

Often what we all really need is someone to talk to who can provide an outside perspective, therapy, career counselling or guidance, or even someone to suggest alternative ways of dealing with stress and burnout. With COVID, many services have shifted to online or text services, which have helped make them more accessible. Here’s a list of seven online services that may be an option for you.

If you live in Saskatchewan, there are a variety of services available to help deal with any mental health issues you may be having. In Saskatoon, the CMHA has a weekly drop-in depression support group and Mental Health YXE has a comprehensive list of local and national organizations, hotlines, and other mental health services that are available. 

Something important to keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong way to do something. What may work for one person or even hundreds of people, may not work for you, and that’s okay! Figuring out what works best for you is what’s important, even if it takes some trial and error to figure out what that thing is.

Stay healthy and Stay Epic!