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The Importance of Mental Wellness

by Lorin Hancock , Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services
Woman Jogging outsideAt the start of a new year, one of the best resolutions we can all make is to take better care of ourselves. A good place to start is by checking up on our own mental wellness. Mental wellness is about more than just the absence of mental illness—it’s our ability to cope with the stresses of life in a way that allows us to stay productive and positive.

Our child welfare staff know a lot about managing stress. They have to keep a cool head through situations most of us couldn’t even imagine, then get up the next day and do it all again. Their important work requires them to be at the top of their game all the time—something that’s impossible to do without an effective mental wellness regimen.

Woman on EllipticalHere’s what some of our child welfare staff have learned about coping with stress and practicing mental wellness:

“Just make sure that you are taking care of you, whether it’s talking to a coworker or supervisor, working out, whatever hobby you have that gives you the chance to just kind of relax and have a good time. To deal with stress I work out with coworkers, Monday through Friday at 5:45am, which makes my day even longer, but I need that to get my mind right and get ready for the day.”
-Mallory M.

“When I started this job I wasn’t prepared for coping with the level of stress I was going to take home. It really affected personal relationships, my physical health deteriorated, I was putting everyone else before myself. However, I realized very quickly that you have to have a mentality to take care of yourself, otherwise you’re no good to anyone else. Maintaining hobbies, connecting with your family, and knowing when to shut down at the end of the day and disconnect.”
-Deanna B.

“One of the most important things—and you’ll hear it over again—is that you have to take care of yourself. And if you don’t have that ability to do that yourself or you think you’re being selfish, you can flip that and really think if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not serving your families the best you can.”
-Leah H.

“Burnout is a big problem we have. And the biggest lesson I’ve learned is self-care. You have to take time every week to take care of yourself. You can’t do this with somebody else in mind all the time. Dealing with stress you have to have an outlet of some sort, whether it’s going to the gym, making time on the weekends to go out with your significant other, your family, going to yoga, going to art, whatever. You have to have something for yourself to be able to come in five days a week, sometimes six days a week, and deal with some of the stuff that we see.”
-Kori S.

This month, take some advice from people who know a thing or two about stress, and come up with a strategy to manage your mental wellness. Find a hobby that helps you unwind, get your heart pumping to burn off some stress, and relax with your friends, family, or pets. Practicing mental wellness throughout the year will help you stay healthy and productive so you can accomplish all your 2020 goals, whatever they may be.