How I Like to Put #MeFirst

February is not just about Valentine’s Day. This time of year serves as an excellent reminder that we should all take time out of our busy lives and show ourselves some love as well. As Buddha said, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Here are my tips on self-love and putting #MeFirst sometimes.


How to Fall In Love with Yourself

1. Say “No” to comparisons: No matter what, there will always be someone who seems smarter, stronger, prettier, livelier, wealthier (the list goes on and on) than you. The most important thing to know is that there is only one “you.” So instead of beating yourself up over your perceived shortcomings, accept who are and keep on trying to be the best you can be.

2. Eat with love: Healthy food = a healthy body. You don’t have to eat at five-star restaurants or spend your whole paycheck on a fridge full of 100% organic foods to be healthy. Be conscious of what you eat and make better choices. Love your body enough to feed it the best you can.

3. Treat Yourself: Every once in a while we deserve to spoil ourselves. So yes, it’s okay to get that fancy purse you’ve been eyeing for months or indulge in that box of chocolates you’ve been day dreaming about. You’ve worked hard, so you should get to enjoy a few simple pleasures.

4. Be kind to people: Simple acts of kindness toward the people around us can really increase our “happy vibes.” Holding a door open, giving a compliment, helping someone carry their groceries, these are all easy ways to brighten someone’s day. Just imagine how you would feel if someone was kind to you for no reason. Pay it forward.

5. Say “cheese:” Even if you have to fake it. Smiling is a natural, contagious way of boosting your mood, and of course it makes everyone look better. Take some photos while you are at it. It is always fun to look back at pictures and smile.

Let It Go

1. Physical clutter: A clear mind can never be developed in a cluttered environment. To create a clearer and happier life, our space must be clear and happy as well.

2. Resistance to change: Change is inevitable in life, we are constantly evolving. We need to embrace change so we can improve and help others improve as well.

3. Need for control: To all the self-proclaimed “control freaks:” let go of the reigns! It is unhealthy to try to control everything around us. Life has a crazy way of changing our plans.

4. The past: The past will always be what it is. We cannot go back and change it no matter how much we want to. All we can do is embrace what has happened in our lives and use those experiences to become better people. The best is yet to come!

5. Expectations: The things people expect from us and the things we expect from ourselves can cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves shoulders and make life seem like a rat-race. We should always try to keep pushing ourselves to become better but do not let the line between positive expectations and “over-working” blur.

How to Put Yourself First

1. Accept that you deserve “me time:” Without a doubt, each and every person should be able to accept the fact that they deserve some guilt-free time completely to themselves. Once we can accept that then it becomes very easy to actually carve out time to do so.

2. Say “No:” It is absolutely alright to shake your head and say “no” to people’s requests. We should allow ourselves time to breathe and take care of the things we need to do for us, and not what others want us to do for them.

3. Spend a few minutes a day doing what you like: Whether five minutes or 20, spend some time each day doing something you love. Whether it’s listening to music or reading a book, it will breathe some fresh air into your daily schedule.


Guest Blogger:

Komilla Karim

Communications Intern

Mental Health Association of Montgomery County

Taking Time for Yourself During the Summer

Summer is warm and exciting, with plenty of fun activities to participate in. But summer activities and jobs can get overwhelming. Year-round jobs during the summer (while everyone else is sunbathing) can get pretty overwhelming and depressing, too.
Therefore, it’s just as important as ever to take your occasional mental health days, or to set aside some time for you to relax by yourself, or with others.
Here are some of the ways I like to spend my own mental health days:
1.) Coffee and a good book. 
Don’t underestimate the power of an extra cup of iced coffee or tea to accompany that new young-adult, romance or science-fiction novel, while sitting near a window, or outside if possible. I recently read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, one of my favorite childhood authors, and it helped distract me from everything that usually stresses me out during the work week.
2.) A date with your laptop or TV.
Let your mind relax while you watch a movie in bed, or binge-watch a couple of the new “Orange is the New Black” episodes.
3.) Explore your town or city.
As someone who has been living in Washington, D.C. for the past year, I can honestly tell you that I have barely explored any of it. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that many of us live places where there are areas we have yet to venture out to. Take a break and explore your surroundings. Take it all in and let your mind wander. 
4.) Petsmart trip.
If you don’t have a pet of your own, consider relaxing by going to Petsmart. Look at all of the cute little kittens or the weird looking birds and guinea pigs. Also, studies show that watching fish swim in fish tanks can help relieve stress and anxiety. 
5.) Youtube pet videos.
If you can’t go to Petsmart, take a look at some of these online cat and dog videos that are sure to make you smile.
6.) Take a break from social media.
Uninstall Facebook and Twitter (if you can) from your phone for a day. Sometimes social media stresses us out more than we can tell. Social media is great, but it’s important to maintain your mental health while using social media 
7.) Listen to instrumental music.

I love listening to rock, country and pop music. However, I have come to realize that sometimes lyrics can stress me out. When I really need to calm down and relax I turn to my favorite pianist, Yiruma. I also enjoy listening to the Scottish instrumental band Mogwai
8.) Go for a swim.
 If you live in an apartment complex with a pool, or if you live near a pool, take a swim every now and then. Swimming can help clear your mind.
9.) Redecorate.  
Sometimes, all you really need is a change of scenery. Move around some furniture in your home or hang up a few new pictures and interior decorations here and there. Need help? Check out, which is one of my favorite redecorating blogsCurrently, this article about temporary and removable adhesives is my favorite.
10.)  Try a cold shower or a warm bubble bath. 
We often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of rushing to get ready for work on time and rarely ever take that time to relax. If you get a moment later in the day, try a cold shower (you know—for when it’s INSANELY hot outside and your commute home involved walking) or a warm bubble bath (because when was the last time you actually took a bath? What about one with bubbles?) with a book to read or music to listen to. 
11.)  Window shop! 

Whether it’s the book store down the block, or the consignment shop two streets over (or maybe you have returned to take another look at the fish in Petsmart), window shopping is a nice (and free) way to get your mind off of daily stressors.
12.) Creative expression.
Have a few hours to relax in between jobs or obligations? Try a quick and easy outlet like creative writing, sketching, journaling, painting or singing. Personally, I tend to prefer writing or painting to help express myself. This article is one of my favorite guides to painting for stress relief. 
13.) Go on a road trip. 
If you have a car and gas money to spare, road trips can be really fun and are great for taking your mind off of work. It doesn’t have to be long, either. Maybe you live two hours away from the beach, or three hours from the mountains. Pick a friend or family member, your favorite CD and hit the road! Driving down country roads with the windows down, while listening to “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas never fails to make me happy. 
14.) Go kayaking or canoeing.
If you don’t have a canoe or kayak (I don’t have either), you can still take part in this activity. There are many businesses along rivers in cities and towns that let you rent a canoe or kayak for an hour. I like to kayak on the Potomac on Saturday mornings when I’ve had a really bad week. The wind and the smell of the fresh, river water helps me relax. Plus, it’s a great work out. It can be a little expensive ranging from $15-$20 an hour, so I only do it occasionally.
15.)  Rant. 
Find someone willing to listen to what you have going on in your life—your best friend, your mother, your significant other, your dog, the Internet…and just rant. The rant could be about annoying coworkers or your detail-oriented boss, but they don’t have to be. Rant about the weather. Rant about climate change and social justice issues. Rant about how silly you think it is that a museum in Kentucky decided to keep a sinkhole as a tourist attraction. Just rant For me, I am constantly ranting to myself about these subjects in my head, but since I’m not letting any of that anger out verbally, it just bottles up. After getting all of those rambling, raging thoughts out of your head, the weight on your shoulders starts to feel a little lighter, and it really does help. 

Guest Blogger:

Rain Freeman, Summer Communications Intern


Mental Health Association of Montgomery County

Giveaway Day Winners!

DSCF0094Yesterday was My Mental health Day Giveaway Day! If you were following along on Facebook, you already know all the winners and hopefully found time to read some of the great stress reducing tips and articles we provided throughout the day. But in case you missed it or you want to double check your raffle ticket number(s), below is the full list of lucky giveaway winners.

If you weren’t able to purchase a raffle ticket, there are other ways to support the campaign throughout the year. Our mission is to educate the community about the importance of mental wellness, taking time for yourself, and reducing stress. Eliminating the stigma associated with mental health takes many voices and we are ever grateful for your help and support.

Carla S (#1061): Leroy Neiman Limited Edition Serigraph called “Cal Ripken, Jr.” which commemorates his record-breaking “2131” game.  The serigraph is pencil signed by both LeRoy Neiman and Cal Ripkin, Jr. and comes with authentication information for both the artist and the athlete (note: this piece comes unframed).   Estimated retail value of $3,500.  Donated by Ronald D. Paul Companies, Inc.

James T (#0869): Three hours of financial planning services.  Expiration June 30, 2014 and appointments must be scheduled in advance and at convenience of Monument Wealth Management.  Winner’s name and contact information to be provided to the firm.  Estimated value is $1,200.  Donated by Monument Wealth Management/Mike Jacobs.

Sarah L (#001): Ten passenger Limousine for 3 Hours of Service. Value is $450. Gratuity due at time of service. Expires May 24, 2014. Donated by RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation.

Sarah L (#004): A $400 gift certificate redeemable at any Black Restaurant Group location.  Value is $400. Donated by Black Restaurant Group.

Kathleen R (#048): Four hours of home Maintenance and handyman service. Service available in the Washington DC Area and in San Antonio, TX.  Winner must allow for a few weeks advanced scheduling. Estimated value is $360. Donated by Hassle Free Home Services Inc.

Melanie & Lawrence N (#1478): Nikon Coolpix P7100 10.1 MP Digital Camera. Estimated Value is $350. Donated by Joy Paul.

Susan F (#086): IPad Mini (7.9” display, 16 GB) or New Kindle Fire HD (7” display, 32 GB)* Estimated Value is $229-$329.  Donated/purchased with My Mental Health Day underwriting support from the Jerome S. & Grace H. Murray Foundation.

*Item winner to select color (if applicable) within 14 days of being notified of winning and selection will be limited to the available stock at Apple, Amazon, or MHA-selected retailer.  Prize will be ordered upon receipt of that information from the item winner.  The item will be available to the winner upon receipt of the package by MHA.  Wi-fi/phone service charges are NOT included with this prize.

Amanda Curoso (#1024): IPad Mini (7.9” display, 16 GB) or New Kindle Fire HD (7” display, 32 GB)* Estimated Value is $229-$329.  Donated/purchased with My Mental Health Day underwriting support from the Jerome S. & Grace H. Murray Foundation.

*Item winner to select color (if applicable) within 14 days of being notified of winning and selection will be limited to the available stock at Apple, Amazon, or MHA-selected retailer.  Prize will be ordered upon receipt of that information from the item winner.  The item will be available to the winner upon receipt of the package by MHA.  Wi-fi/phone service charges are NOT included with this prize.

Hope G (#064): Baroni hand crafted Tourmaline Citrine Topaz Crystal necklace. Estimated Value $289. Donated by dmf collection.

Michael M (#124): Visit to the flower wholesaler and one flower arranging lesson with Ellen Seagraves.  To be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time.  Valid until May 2014.  Estimated value is $250.  Donated by Ellen Seagraves.

Jenifer J. (#098): Hand crafted Gold fill Tourmaline crystal topaz necklace. Estimated Value $239. Donated by dmf collection.

Shadow Graphix (#1506): Three-month membership to Rock Creek Sports Club. Estimated Value $210. Donated by Rock Creek Sports Club.

Elizabeth H (#016): Hand crafted Sapphire Zircon Crystal necklace. Estimated Value $189. Donated by dmf collection.

Carla S (#1065): Four weeks of class and membership at My Gym. Estimate Value $167. Donated by My Gym.

Stephanie A (#082): Golf Lesson at Congressional Country Club and lunch at the Founder’s Pub (Bethesda, MD).  Winner’s name and contact information to be provided to the donor.  Dates and times will be at the discretion of the donor.  Estimated value is $150.  Donated by Haywood Miller.

Amanda C (#1023): Aspen Hill Club (Silver Spring, MD) One Month Couple Congressional Membership. Estimated value is $119. Donated by Aspen Hill Club.

Kathleen R (#046): Two tickets to the Olney Theatre Center production of Rancho Mirage (Showing October 2-October 20, 2013). Estimated Value $113. Donated by Olney Theater Center.

Hope G (#066): A $100 Amazon gift card. Estimated value $100. Donated by Cindy Flanders.

Adrienne Fierro (#091): A Washington Redskins  autographed “Limited Edition 2012 Team Laser Signed” football. Estimated value $100. Donated by the Washington Redskins.

Nick A. (#0929): Circa at Dupont (DC Restaurant) Gift Certificate for $100.  Estimated value is $100.  Donated by Circa Dupont.

Mark and Ann B (#0900): Circa at Dupont (DC Restaurant) Gift Certificate for $100.  Estimated value is $100.  Donated by Circa Dupont.

Ronald D Paul Companies (#1458): Hand Crafted picture frame welded combining brass and copper elements. Estimated Value $100. Donated and hand crafted by Gary Rosenthal.

Teddy A (#0934): A $100 gift certificate to Newton’s Table. Value is $100. Donated by Newton’s Table. Expires 4/11/14.

Michael D. (#0928): Baroni hand crafted inlaid pearl five ring set. Estimated Value $99. Donated by dmf collection.

Madelon J (#104): Baroni hand designed gold five ring set. Estimated Value $99. Donated by dmf collection.

Shu-Ping C (#1072): Baroni hand designed moonstone oval ring. Estimated Value $99. Donated by dmf collection.

Yoko Consulting (#1504): One hour massage with Val Ford at Ninotch Spa in Bethesda. Estimated value is $95. Certificate excludes Gratuity. Donated by Val Ford and Ninotch Spa.

Mary K (#0923): Roger Bernadina autographed baseball from the Washington Nationals. Estimated Value is $85. Donated by the Washington Nationals.

Anthony C (#0877): Two space-available passes for The Studio Theatre production of Baby Universe: A Puppet Odyssey. (Showing June 26th-July 14th, 2013). Donated by The Studio Theatre.

Ronald D Paul Companies (#1456): A $50 American Express Gift Card. Estimated value $50. Donated by Joy Paul.

Stephanie A (#084): A $50 gift certificate to Clyde’s An American Bar. Estimated Value $50. Donated by Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Expires 5/2014.

Steve S (#0962): A $50 gift certificate to Old Ebbitt Grill. Estimated Value $50. Donated by Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Expires 5/2014.

Carla S (#1066): A $50 gift certificate to Tower Oaks Lodge. Estimated Value $50. Donated by Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Expires 5/2014.

Alexa H (#0939): Two Day Passes or Two Open Climb Passes at Climbing Earth Treks Centers. Estimated Value $50. Donated by Climbing Earth Treks Centers.

Lee H (#010): Two Day Passes or Two Open Climb Passes at Climbing Earth Treks Centers. Estimated Value $50. Donated by Climbing Earth Treks Centers.

Amanda C (#1022): A gift certificate for a free manicure and pedicure from Nails by Timothy. Estimated value $40. Donated by Nails by Timothy.

Richard M (#0891): A gift certificate for a free manicure and pedicure from Nails by Timothy. Estimated value $40. Donated by Nails by Timothy.

Abbey K (#062): Baroni hand designed green and blue crystal silver chain earrings. Estimated Value $40. Donated by dmf collection.


Stress in the Land of Mommy (or Daddy)? …Follow the Mellow Tips Road

yello brickChildren bring countless blessings into our lives: joy, love, pride, and the many other gifts derived from the bond between parent and child. However, the commitment and responsibility of nurturing and raising another human being from infancy to adulthood can also cause an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. Though each mother may experience a range of unique stressors, many demands of motherhood are nearly universal. Here are a few practical steps to keep unwarranted stress away:

1. Take Time For Yourself

First and foremost, remember to take care of yourself. Flight attendants ask you to secure your own facemask before helping others because you need to be healthy and able to care for your loved ones. Plan a girls night; take a bubble bath; go for a spa day; meet friends for lunch; take an after dinner walk—whether you take a whole day or just a few minutes, you need and deserve a little time to yourself.

2. Keep Lists and Get Organized

With soccer practice, grocery shopping, ballet recital, and a visit to Grandma’s house all on the agenda, it is easy to forget the little tasks that may slip through the cracks. Lists can be helpful when planning weekly meals and tracking all the errands that need to be made. These lists can eliminate multiple trips to the store and help you keep running around to a minimum. Lists help you stay on task and avoid forgetting important responsibilities. Plus, it always feels good to cross something off your list after completing it. (Save room in your purse and eliminate the paper—there are great Apps for making lists.)

3. Don’t Forget Romance

The relationship between you and your children is one of the most important and greatest bonds. You also have friends to stay in touch with, employers/employees to keep happy, and parents to care for. With all the relationship upkeep, it is easy to forget your significant other. Remember that romance is an incredible stress reducer and your partner can be an excellent source of comfort and support during overwhelming moments.

4. Know When to Say No

You are a super mom! But it’s ok to admit that you do not have super powers. It is impossible to be two places at once or accomplish more than one person could ever do. Consider declining favors asked of you, reschedule events, or delegate tasks. Having trouble saying “no,” instead try saying “I’m sorry, that just doesn’t work for me.”

5. Seek Support

There is no need to do it all by yourself. Your partner, family, friends, neighbors, and even your older kids can be great resources in times of need. There are also cheap and handy services that can assist in daily chores—use a grocery delivery service, shop online, or every so often call a professional cleaning service. Remind yourself that you can seek support and shouldn’t have to do it all by yourself. Mothers everywhere sympathize with your hefty responsibilities—reach out and ask for help.


Happy Mother’s Day to all those wonderful, hard working moms and caretakers out there. None of us would be here without you!


The Healthy Benefits of Gardening

By: First Lady Katie O’Malley

garden KOM

The American botanist Luther Burbank said “Flowers always make people better,
happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”


April is National Gardening Month and at Government House in Annapolis, we’re preparing for our fifth annual food garden. As we enjoy warmer weather, budding plants, and emerging wildlife, we encourage you to plant a food garden at your own home.

There are so many things we gain when we get our hands a little dirty and plant a garden in our backyard, in containers or in a lot down the street, including:

  1. Eating Healthy: Fruits, herbs, and vegetables are fresh, nutritious, and readily available. They can easily be incorporated into favorite recipes. ChopChop Maryland offers seasonal recipes to make with your family.
  2. Exercising More: Gardening encourages us to get outside and be active. From watering plants to pulling weeds, the work helps you and your plants stay healthy.
  3. Connecting with Nature: Gardening at home gives us the opportunity think about the source of our food, as well as the importance of eating healthy, well-balanced meals.
  4. Spending Time Together: Gardening provides a wonderful opportunity to bond with friends and family. It encourages conversation and observation for children of all ages.
  5. Supporting Family Farms: Families who grow their own garden often choose to supplement their homegrown food with fresh produce from farmers’ markets, strengthening our local economy and supporting our family farms. Learn more about the benefits of eating locally-sourced foods.

Planting a garden at home is a great way for Marylanders to improve their physical and mental well-being. From patio containers to sprawling acres, we hope you will join us in getting outside and getting active.

Follow the progress of the Government House garden online at


My Mental Health Day Thanks:
First Lady Katie O’Malley

BREAKING NEWS: Spring Fever Outbreak Hits Hard

breaking news photo

“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”  ~Mark Twain

Are you finding you:

  • Would rather go to the park than your 8am social studies class or board meeting
  • Often daydream about laying in the shade under a palm tree
  • Envy your friends on Facebook who post about their Spring Break adventures
  • Recognize that the only difference in your daily routine is the type of sandwich you packed for lunch

If you said “yes” to any of the above symptoms, you may have Spring Fever. Around this time of year, many of us are struck by an unexplainable desire to avoid routine. We long for change, adventure, renewal, and growth. Often we are unsure about what it is that we really want or need, but one thing is for sure…we want it and our minds will remain restless until we find it.

When Spring Fever strikes, it hits hard and does not discriminate by race, age, or gender. You may see it among high school and college seniors who long for the end of their four year strife towards graduation, as well as among office professionals who have sheltered themselves in their cubicles against the bitter chill of winter.

Fortunately, if you happen to catch Spring Fever, there are a few home remedies that may bring relief and sooth your mind:

  • Vacation: Going on a vacation can give you a break from normal routine and allow you to spend time with family and friends. Thus, it is a great way to get rid of the Spring Fever bug. However, vacationing for some may be difficult because of deadlines at work or financial restraints. If you are unable to journey far from home or take several days off of work, stay the weekend at a bed and breakfast in a nearby town or pack a picnic and spend a day in the park with your family.
  • Start a new project: A sense of accomplishment can help relax a restless mind. So now is the perfect time to begin a new project, or perhaps finish an old one. Did you see a craft on the internet that you wanted to recreate? Have you always wanted to try knitting? Is the motorcycle you started working on last fall still sitting in the garage? Crossing something off your “to do” list or doing something that makes you happy and feel accomplished can give a huge boost to your mental wellness.
  • Get Outside: Usually during the winter months we have an undeniable urge to snuggle up in a blanket and drink hot chocolate every night. Now that the weather is getting warmer, there is no excuse to continue hibernating indoors.  Maybe you love riding your bike, hiking, fishing, or playing Frisbee? Getting back into warm-weather habits can break the cycle of cold-weather routine.

If you have had Spring Fever and want to share your own remedy, we would love to hear it. 

Spring Cleaning For Your Mental Health


Soon we will smell newly bloomed tulips, cut the grass, clean out our closets of old winter clothes, and begin our other pre-summer routines. Springtime is full of fresh starts and new beginnings, a time of renewal. So what better time than spring to give a little attention to renewing our mental health?

Taking a little time to focus on our needs and discover the things that make us happy helps us gain a clear and refreshed mind.  Here are a few tips to follow when spring-cleaning your mental health:

  1. Create a to-do list: Instead of your common project list, create a list of things you want to achieve emotionally over the next few months. Include dreams—things you’ve always wanted to do– as well as long-term and short-term goals that are easily achievable. Perhaps you have been wanting to reconnect with that old high school friend or maybe you wish you knew how to play the guitar. Put them on your list!
  2. Enhance your physical health: Physical wellness is an important part of sustaining mental well-being. Exercising and eating healthy are a big part of physical wellness but often are hard to incorporate in your routine. Try something simple like replacing soda and coffee with herbal teas, or eating a small portion of dark chocolate instead of a donut or other sugary snack.
  3. Renew your spirit: Yoga, Pilates, and meditation often lend themselves to mental cleansing. Taking just a few minutes each day to relax by yourself can make a huge difference and reduce negative energy and thoughts that may be consuming your day.

New beginnings and healthy steps toward better living can help us rid ourselves of negative emotions and built up stress that may be bringing us down. Remember that each day is a fresh start—just like spring.

What Does Cupid Do to Your Mental Wellness?

So it’s Valentine’s Day, and though its intention may be to establish time to celebrate love, maybe you’re not feeling the love for this holiday. Billboards, magazines, and commercials depicting beautiful happy people sharing and extravagant dinner and exchanging gifts can create stress and anxiety.  People who are in relationships question what to get each other: Will it be good enough? Am I spending enough money? And, those who don’t have a partner can sometimes feel sad or alone at a time when love is the theme of the day –thus, the common vernacular of “Singles Awareness Day.”

If Valentine’s Day is leaving you feeling anything less than excited, our gift to you is a list of strategies that may help lift your spirit:

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate all your relationships

You don’t need a special someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Your parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, friends and colleagues all play a special role in your life.  Today is a perfect opportunity to show them how much they really mean to you.

Your love is not equal to gifts and money

It’s important to remember that your love for someone is not measured by the gift or the amount of money that you spend. A simple “I love you” or a handmade card can mean just as much (if not more) than anything you can buy in a store.  And remember if you receive a gift, it truly is the thought that matters.

Show yourself how much you love YOU

This is the essence of My Mental Health Day and Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to  pamper yourself. Go to the spa, soak in the tub, sleep in a little later—whatever it is that makes you feel a little less stressed and a bit more relaxed. This day is an opportunity to love  yourself and appreciate your needs as much as it is a day to recognize the other important people in your life.

Do you have more tips to subdue those Valentine’s woes?

If you have additional tips to reduce stress and anxiety, we would love to share them. Please feel free to comment or pass along your personal strategies.

chalk board

And as always, if you are feeling blue and want to talk, there is someone to listen. In Montgomery County you can call the hotline at 301-738-CALL. The national hotline is 1-800-273-TALK.

Setting the Right Example for Work-Life Balance

When did it become more respectable to say you work “like crazy” than to say “my family is always my priority”?  Bragging about how many hours you work has replaced bragging about your children.   The reality is that we actually work much less than our forefathers. So kudos to Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg for coming out publicly and admitting she leaves work every day at 5:30pm to have dinner with her children. 

It’s a shame that a statement like that made national news. As managers and leaders, you can be like Sheryl Sandberg and re-establish a culture where balance isn’t a dirty word.   Here’s how:

  1. Lead by example. When the boss comes in at 7am and leaves at 7pm, the expectation has been set. Most people feel that to get a good review or a promotion they need to emulate the work habits of their boss.  I know you’re busy, but is it really necessary to be physically in the office for 10-12 hours a day? Once you start keeping more regular hours, your head will spin with how fast your team will follow suite.
  2. Reward good time management. In my experience, the people that tend to burn the candle at both ends are often the most disorganized. Are these the same people whose office looks like a tornado hit?  Or seem to miss every deadline? People that find a way to work smarter, stay organized and meet deadlines should be rewarded not chastised because they leave the office every day at 5pm.
  3.  Create a results only environment.  As a boss, when you publicly cite the long hours one of your employees puts in, you’ve basically communicated that the time in the office is more important the results.  In a true results only work environment, hours worked is never a factor in rewards or recognition-only results.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, people will stop telling you how many hours they work and start telling you about what they’ve accomplished in both the home and work life.

My Mental Health Day Thanks:
Cindy Flanders, Manage Fearlessly


Time to Kick Off… My Mental Health Day 2012!

What does May bring? Spring, camping, vacations, and –oh yeah—the welcoming of Mental Health Month. In order to promote mental wellness and stress free living, we are culminating the observance with “My Mental Health Day,” Saturday May 26th, but this doesn’t keep us from celebrating mental wellness all month and all year long.

It is important to continually recognize that we all need a little time for ourselves and remember that it is important to engage in the activities that promote mental well-being. When’s the last time you took a day for yourself? It’s time to give yourself permission to relax — take a breather, smile, and enjoy something you love.

Here are some helpful tools that will help you:

  • Need ideas about what you can do?  Sure thing, go ahead and “Choose Your Adventure”.  Just answer a few questions about what you enjoy and you’ll get some great ideas.
  • Want to get strategies sent directly to you and have a chance to win great mental wellness boosting prizes?  Buy a ticket (or several) to formally participate in the campaign.
  • Engage your workplace in a My Mental Health Day Contest by showing us how you plan to spend the day. Details coming soon.
  • Check our blog frequently for exciting ways to get involved, stress reducing tips, mental health boosting ideas and thoughts from our spotlight guest bloggers about “My Mental Health Day.” (Interested in being a guest blogger?  If so, let us know!)

We hope you’ll take your “My Mental Health Day” with us on May 26th and we hope you’ll participate with us through Facebook, Twitter, and this website. If you are following along and participating, you could win one of many mental wellness boosting prizes.

Take your “My Mental Health Day” with us!

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