Reflecting on Practices for Mental Health and Mindful Leadership

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I’ve been reflecting on what I need to maintain my mental health as a leader, colleague, solo mom to a delightfully curious and demanding toddler, and community member. While we don’t always acknowledge it, we are all on a mental health journey that requires daily and deliberate effort. Here are three practices that I use to maintain my mental health daily so I can be as present and impactful as possible in each role I play.

  • Expressing gratitude: Grounding myself in gratitude is key to maintaining my sense of self and living my values. It’s also backed by data as “ a great way to balance out the negative mindset that uncertainty engenders.” If you’re a close friend or colleague, you know that I’ve been using The Five Minute Journal by Intelligent Change since 2018–and you might have received a journal from me as a gift. Spending five minutes each morning writing down three things I’m grateful for, what would make my day great, affirmations, and later reflecting on those thoughts in the evening has been transformative. It’s also essential to my leadership. I have a 30-minute weekly block to my calendar to email PACE team members, partners, and friends about something I appreciate about our work together and our relationship. Gratitude helps me maintain a positive outlook, which is essential for inspiring and motivating myself and my team.
  • Asking for help. We all need help whether it’s seeking out the support of a mental health professional, calling a friend for advice, or letting someone know that you’re “stuck.” But, asking for help can be challenging. In many moments, it calls up my sense of guilt or, even worse, shame for being unable to do everything under the sun to co-run an organization and manage a household on my own. Yet, I’m a sturdier leader when I lean on my support system and delegate effectively. As I build my to-do list, I ask myself, “What do I need help with? And who can help me?” Each time I’ve asked my co-founder Sean Andersen, or a colleague or friend, for specific help completing something, I’ve received it and gotten to an even better outcome. Asking for help reminds me that leadership is not about doing everything alone; it’s about building a supportive network that strengthens our collective efforts.
  • Walking and spending time outside. I don’t have the expertise to speak to the health benefits of Vitamin D or daily movement. I just know that walking outside everyday, for however long I can, and regardless of weather, is game-changing for me. On the days that I don’t, my mood and even my work suffers. Walking and spending time outside recharges my energy and boosts my productivity. I’m inspired by other PACE team members and colleagues who walk while on certain calls. I hope to “walk and talk” with you in the near future!

Balancing responsibilities as leaders, colleagues, parents, and community members requires us to prioritize our mental health as an integral part of finding balance and being able to face challenges with resilience and compassion. Taking care of our mental health is not a one-time effort but a continuous, deliberate practice that empowers us to lead with strength and empathy. This Mental Health Awareness Month, and beyond, let’s make a commitment to our well-being, for ourselves and for those we lead and care for.