From May 3-9, it’s the 70th annual CHMA Mental Health Week. This year’s #GetReal theme highlights the importance of talking about our emotions: naming, expressing, and dealing with the good and the bad alike.
It really spoke to our team here at CoLab because we work hard to create a culture where everyone brings their full, authentic selves to work. It’s not just something we say on our Careers page — it’s something we put into practice, day in and day out, so we can all be at our best. Health is important, and mental health is health.
Here’s what some of our CoLab team had to say about what the #GetReal theme means to them:
Christina: I think the first step is recognizing and accepting your struggles, believing in your capability to overcome them, taking the steps to take care of yourself, and then being okay with talking about it out loud. The out loud part is really hard. This requires overcoming the fear of judgement and rejection, and letting go of the desire for validation. I'm still not there yet, but that's where I strive to be.
Robert: I have never, ever been good at sharing or voicing emotions. So for me, this year's theme is a personal call to action to try and be better with my own mental health and expressing emotions.
Meag: Just because an emotion feels bad, doesn't mean it is bad. Emotions are messengers, and learning to listen to them is an important skill. When we avoid describing our emotions in plain, ordinary language — it's typically because we're afraid of painful emotions. Being vague or abstract about our feelings is a way to try to escape them. I recently learned a helpful way to overcome this: describe your feelings the way a 6-year-old would. Simply saying "I feel sad" or "I'm mad" or "I'm afraid right now" actually improves your emotional intelligence and helps you feel better!
Terri-Lynn: There's often a minority in a group not being heard, even within minority groups. Everyone goes through something. It's okay to be yourself, even when it’s scary. It's important to share and learn from others. Vulnerability is a powerful connection tool, even when we’re different. Being mindful helps everyone grow. If we can’t see each other’s problems, we can’t relate or help or learn from each other. We all deserve to be heard.
Adam T: Growing up, mental health was always a taboo subject among my group of friends. Showing our emotions was often equated with weakness, so we never had a healthy way of dealing with them. A few years ago, that all changed. While going through a difficult period in my life, I decided to open up about it to my closest group of friends and the response was incredible: I was met with compassion, support, and understanding. #GetReal about how you feel with your friends — and you might be surprised at the response!
Steph: It means showing up in an authentic way for yourself and those around you. Being vulnerable and expressing yourself creates an environment of trust that is reciprocated.