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May is Mental Health Awareness Month! As a company, we strive to highlight the importance of mental health and silence associated stigmas, while celebrating personal victories in hopes to inspire. And with a global pandemic shining a glaring light on all aspects of health, we couldn’t let Mental Health Awareness Month end without sharing some personal thoughts. 

Read on as each member of the #taudsquad shares how they improve their own mental health.

Reminder! Think of your mental health as a garden, something that must ALWAYS be tended to. Leave a garden alone and trust us, flowers will struggle to bloom. And for those in extra need, keep in mind that the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers up endless services, including a crisis text hotline.

Tiffany “Tiff” (#taudboss)

Throughout my life, I’ve always relied on exercise to help clear my mind. I immediately notice a difference in my mood and ability to handle stress when it’s been days since my last sweat sesh. I’m lucky enough to have a Peloton stationary bike at home, which has helped this working momma to work out consistently in a pandemic, even if that time is 11 p.m. There’s just something about focusing on finishing the workout that silences racing thoughts for me. More recently, I’ve started to meditate more frequently. I love the meditations on the Peloton app, and friendly tip, you don’t have to own a bike to enjoy the app! And as an ongoing practice, I start each day with journaling. It helps me to narrow down my goals and set expectations, and gives me both clarity and confidence. And if you know me at all, you know I LOVEEEEEE all things Rachel Hollis, so you better believe I have her “Start Today” journal accessories

Danielle “D” (creative director) 

I’ve struggled with anxiety most of my life, and have lived with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for nearly a decade. And while I’ve learned so much on my journey, here’s what I want to shout out right now: Be honest about your mental health. Opening up will help end the stigma that having a mental health issue is something to be embarrassed about. It’s not! If you had something wrong with your heart, would you be embarrassed to tell someone or seek treatment? Likely not. So why are we so hesitant to discuss issues concerning the brain? Here’s my honest declaration: I have OCD (with a focus on contamination) and managing it during a pandemic has been extremely trying. But I’m getting through it. And with each passing day, I’m gaining confidence and strength. Being honest about your struggle will encourage others to do the same, which will result in a big realization: YOU’RE NOT ALONE. Nope, this world is riddled with silent warriors, and the more we talk about it, the more we can all help each other. Being honest and accepting your struggle will hopefully, also allow you to get the help you need, whatever that may be. But it’s a daily fight and the process (and its progress!) is never a straight line, which is really frustrating. But please take comfort in the fact that just like there are so many people struggling, there are so many people overcoming! A calculated combination of the below has kept me smiling, even if on some days, my dimples are clouded in mascara tears. 
Talk and exposure therapy. Daily medication. Vitamins (fave brand: Standard Process). CBD (fave brand: Charlotte's Web). Guided meditation (fave app: Headspace). Free writing/journaling (fave notebooks: bando). Reading and NYT crossword puzzles: A tired mind has less room for racing thoughts! Acupuncture (fave practitioner: Lisa Graham). Breathing exercises (fave new find: Wim Hof Method). 

    Grace (collections manager)

    While a glass of wine (I prefer a generous pour of red) is my go-to decompressor at the end of a long day, running has always been a savior when I’m stressed out or need a mental getaway. I blast one of my playlists (Yes way Spotify!) and get out a run on the good ol’ pavement. Maybe it’s the pounding of each step, or my breaths, but I zone out and sweat it out while almost in a trance. Following a hard run, I feel like a weight has been lifted. And on days when I can’t push myself to run, a walk outside, feeling the sun on my cheeks, works just as well! My all-time favorite running song is “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine. It will alway remind me of my first half marathon. And my sincerest apologies if the catchy song is stuck in your head for the rest of today! 

    Waleska “Wale” (lead crafter) 

    While it may seem like all we do these days is clean and sanitize, cleaning and organizing works for me when I need something to distract my worries. I will plan out a part of my home to organize, or better yet, schedule a deep-cleaning of the house on a Saturday afternoon. And the activity has to be accompanied by music (guilty pleasure: Bad Bunny)! I play my favorite songs and get lost in the motions of sweeping and wiping. And when I’m done, and can lay down and be still in a clean home, I feel at peace and tired enough to relax! 

    Jennefer “Jen” (showroom manager) 

    I look up! I have learned to rely heavily on my faith in trying times. Focusing nervous energies toward my faith and prayer help me tremendously. And while it’s a continuous practice and something I’m always working to get better with, when I do, I feel the difference in my mind and heart. I try to start each day with a morning devotional, using the Holy Bible app. And recently, I put together a touch-base group with my sister and very close friend, through which we share passage takeaways. It’s been such a great way to bring in a new day, connect with gratitude and release heavy thoughts. Throughout my days, if I’m feeling stressed, I take a walk outside and pray with each step. It gets even sweeter when I can bring my labrador “Sally” with me. Neighborhood walks are my form of meditation, and for me, it’s what works!