When Julie joined her company as a human resources professional, it was her first full-time job out of college. Initially, she felt stressed and disconnected.
All of her colleagues work together in-person once a week. Julie, however, isn’t based as close to the office, so she comes in just once every two months. Additionally, being “new” in every sense of the word—to the job and her career—she had a big learning curve.
“It’s hard to navigate when you’re new at your job and struggling, but everyone seems to know what they’re doing—and they’re doing so well,” she says. “I had never felt so lost.”
Julie’s stress continued to grow, partially because she held herself to standards that she couldn’t meet. “I thought I had to work even harder to keep up. But I was burning out,” she says.
Her turnaround began while attending a meQ resilience training series offered by her company. Although the sessions were virtual, they were led by meQ experts and live, so attendees could interact with each other. Each week, a new resilience topic was introduced, and activities from the meQ program were suggested for practice.
“I had learned some of the techniques before,” Julie says. “But I’d fallen off the bandwagon in this new life transition. The meQ sessions provided helpful reminders to re-establish healthy habits.”
Today, Julie is in a much different place with her mental health. Here is how she decided to prioritize her well-being.
She Realized It’s Okay to Be Not Okay.
“When my manager would ask the team how we were doing, everyone would give such positive responses. It made me feel like it was not okay to feel the way I was feeling. But during the resilience webinars, I saw other attendees talk about their experiences with burnout, losing sight of purpose, and struggling with work-life balance. I even saw coworkers who moments before had spoken positively at our weekly roundtable sharing that they too were having a hard time. It was really validating.”
She Found What Works—and Schedules It.
“At first I followed the suggested activities. But eventually I was able to start picking and choosing what works for me. For example, I schedule a few minutes each day to go for a walk. I enjoy breaking off from my work environment, being outside, and getting fresh air. I also like journaling. At work, I deal with a lot of people, and some days can get heavy. Journaling is a release for me. Knowing which exercises work for me, and being consistent with the practices, makes all the difference.”
She Controls How She Thinks.
“I was a lot more isolated before investing time in my mental health. The isolation came from being caught up in my headspace of work, stress, pressure, deadlines. I let myself brew that type of environment inside my head. But I realized that I am in control of how I think. Now I’m learning to pull myself out of that way of thinking and not let it bleed into my personal life. I’m a lot more conscious of how I feel at work, so I’m not projecting onto the people I love.”
She Takes Breaks.
“At first, I was so negative about finding time for myself. There was already so much work to do. I thought, ‘If I’m digging out an hour of my day to do this, that’s losing an hour of work.’ But I’ve found that taking breaks has actually made me more productive at work. My focus is sharper, and I’m able to get more things done in a shorter period of time. Rather than dragging a task on for hours when I’m not in the right headspace, I pull away and do something else, and then come back to it. I used to beat myself up over stuff like that, but now I just accept that it’s not the right time. It’s a huge difference.”
She Knows She’s Not Alone.
“I’ve become better at taking action when I’m feeling stressed—whether that be leaning on my teammates and asking for help, or having that open conversation with my manager about my workload and how I’m feeling. Those are things I was never comfortable doing before the meQ training, because I felt like I had to figure it out on my own. The reality is that people struggle at all ages, not just when they’re young or new at their job. Since realizing this I’ve had a lot more empathy in the way I do my work and in the way I treat people, both inside and outside of work.”
She Sees This Journey as a Lifestyle.
“No matter where you are on your mental-health journey, whether you are a champion or someone who is still exploring the waters, if you do your best to make sure that you are taken care of, the trickle down effects are huge. It affects how you operate at work, your productivity, and how you treat those closest to you. It’s something that I want to keep consistent in my life, these daily routines, on my bad and good days. I don’t want it to be something that I’m leaning into just on my bad days. I want it to be a lifestyle.”