Protecting your mental well-being


Molly Burke: Mental well-being is 100% in line with, like, mind, body, spirit. Najwa Zebian: Our mental well-being, it’s everything that’s on the inside. It’s your emotions, your traumas, your feelings, your-things that you go through on a daily basis, like rejection, feeling like you’re not good enough. All that stuff that’s hidden that comes home to you at the end of the day when you’re alone. Lauren Howe: When you look at what you need to do to be healthy physically, it’s almost a prescriptive list. It’s are you eating properly? Are you exercising? Are you doing all these things? You always, always, always need to do that check in with yourself to look at where you stand with your mental well-being and taking that step back. Donté Colley: What I think the most important thing to always remember is that we’re not alone in anything that we’re going through. We may not be going through the exact same things as other people, but being honest with yourself and being vulnerable and knowing that vulnerability is strength. Alyssa Bertram: I have a friend who says all emotions are beautiful. And I think, especially in our sort of outward-facing society, there’s this idea that being joyful and being happy is always the goal. And it’s just not realistic. And just letting yourself feel what you feel, it takes this pressure off. Molly Burke: And I think that’s really important, accepting your emotions as they come. Everything affects each other. So to me, I’m always trying to work on being healthy and balanced as an entire human, and not focus so much on one or the other. Najwa Zebian: It was my quest to reach my mental well-being that led me to do what I do. So I arrived in Canada when I was 16 years old. I had started writing when I was 13, and my journal was my home. So when I came here and, you know, it was the-the cultural shock. It was the shock of being in a new place. It was too painful to write about it. So I just didn’t want to write anymore, and I ripped up my journal and said, I’m never writing again. And seven years later, when I became a teacher and my first students walked in and they were a group of Libyan refugees, I saw my 16-year-old self in them. I started writing to empower them, and as I was helping them heal, I was healing my 16-year-old self. Alyssa Bertram: So I was having some family issues. My mom was really sick. She was in a coma and I was her power of attorney. And I was trying to show up at work and do a job without being able to bring any of that to the workplace and just having to kind of stuff that down. And it made me realize that it was really important to me to have a job where I could bring the fullness of myself and my life to it. And a job where, whether I’m the boss or I have a boss, uhm, somebody’s asking, ” How’s your mom doing? ” And I think for employers, that’s really important to remember that the people that are coming here, yes, to get paid and do a job every day, are human beings. Molly Burke: I was diagnosed with PTSD and generalized anxiety, and I couldn’t work. I had to take a medical leave. And at the end of my six-week medical leave, I decided to quit and start my own business. A part of my commitment to myself when starting that business was no matter how successful I get, no matter how many opportunities start coming my way, I will always say no when I need to. And so now, I don’t let anybody take from me. Molly Burke: And that’s the commitment I’ve made, and I’ve stuck to it. And it’s the only reason, five years into my business, I’m successful, and that’s because I’m healthy. Donté Colley: I think thinking about what no actually means is thinking that it’s a next opportunity. There’s something else coming for you. There’s something ahead that-this necessarily wasn’t meant to happen right now. Najwa Zebian: I encourage people to never hide parts of who they are just so that they can be accepted somewhere. It’s o.k. for you to be in transition. You do have a place here, you don’t have to fight for a place.

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