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5 Must-Reads for Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise mental health awareness and erase the stigma surrounding mental illness. Books are a powerful way to gain insight, empathy, and practical tips for navigating your mental health journey or understanding that of a loved one. This month, the EFR team is sharing mental health-related books in their personal library that can inspire, educate, and uplift. Whether you’re struggling with mental health challenges or simply interested in learning more about the topic, we hope you find valuable insights, support, and new favorite additions to your reading list.

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Mental Health Awareness Month Tips

Throughout this month, embrace the idea of total well-being. While it’s common to separate physical and mental in terms of health, the reality is that they are inherently connected. Our thoughts reside in our brain, and our brain resides within our body, so how we spend our time and how we treat our body impacts our minds. This month, commit to caring for both your physical and mental health! These quick tips, broken up by each day of the week for a fun spin, will help you on your journey toward a happier and healthier you:

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Don’t Dread the Ebb

As it turns out, the method and mindset behind hustle culture are counterproductive to achieving success. It contributes to burnout, mental health problems, and as a result- lowered productivity and happiness. There’s a much more effective way to tap into your productive flow, work with yourself, begin Mondays with less stress, and build momentum throughout the week.

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The Dark Side of Staying Positive

Searching for the silver lining gives us hope for the days ahead. Sayings such as “this too shall pass” can provide comfort in the knowledge that pain doesn’t last forever. But there’s a dark aspect to solely focusing on the bright side. Despite the best intentions, turning your back on life’s storms to maintain a sunny outlook hurts your health and relationships. Slapping on a smile to avoid facing a painful reality is an avoidance mechanism that disconnects you from yourself and the world around you.

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Shining the Light on Gaslighting

Despite nearly a century of use, Merriam-Webster’s 2022 word of the year is one of the most misused. Gaslighting, a form of manipulation, is often a catchall phrase for manipulative behaviors that don’t fit the word’s actual definition. Overuse of the word obscures the true nature of this abusive tactic and makes it increasingly difficult to recognize. Its true meaning is to have your reality and experiences repeatedly challenged, which can look different and happen in various ways. We’ll cover what gaslighting is, what it looks like, common tactics, and red flags to watch so you can more easily detect this subtle form of abuse.

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Promoted Out of Your Comfort Zone? Don’t Panic

After putting in the hours, building rapport with leadership, and taking initiative on several new projects, your hard work finally pays off, and you earn a promotion. As you savor your success, proud of being recognized for your efforts, a new emotion settles in; anxiety. You wonder if you’re ready for the next step in your career. The what-ifs parade in your mind; what if you fail? What if you hate it? What if everyone thinks you’re incompetent? The excited butterflies in your stomach sink into a heavy weight of overwhelm and trepidation. The duality of triumph and self-doubt duel it out as you realize you’ll soon whisk through the succession plan, meet your new team members and peers, and set goals for the next quarter. With extra status comes extra stress. It’s normal to feel excitement and nervousness during times of transition! But you don’t need to let it hinder your career success.

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Maddox

Student Assistance Program (SAP) & Outpatient Counseling

Maddox*, an elementary-aged student, struggled with anger outbursts, physical aggression, and difficulties with problem-solving. After spending years off-and-on in therapy seeking treatment with various providers only to remark that “none seemed to want to listen,” Maddox’s parents sought SAP services through their district. 

Today, Maddox is completing his SAP sessions and moving towards outpatient counseling. He has reduced his anger outbursts and has learned skills to help him successfully navigate challenging days.

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