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Finding Space to Prioritize Mental Health

Headline NA leader Amy Martin shares her lived-experiences of finding space for self-care, and elevating the conversation around mental health.

Amy Martin
Amy Martin

Mental health has always been an important part of my life. As a kid, I struggled with severe migraines and learned meditation as a coping skill. I also went through significant childhood trauma and grew up in a family that struggled with alcohol addiction.  I have been around family counseling and therapy for as long as I can remember. As an adult, having time set aside to process and check in with my own mental health has given me the tools to be able to cope with day-to-day stressors, and to accept and understand my emotions and what they are telling me — with the added benefit of being able to help my young kids process their big emotions, too.

It took me a long time to figure out how to make space for myself. As a mom of young kids, I’m used to marathon days, putting in a full day at work, and then a full day at home. My idea of self-care used to be just my head hitting the pillow sometime before midnight!

My definition of self-care is now whatever little pockets of joy I can fit into the day. Walking my son to school every morning, popping out into the yard at lunch to pull weeds or water my garden. Getting out for a run after a stressful day. Turning off the TV or social media in favor of a real book. My manager has been hugely supportive when I’ve had to reset my work/life balance, like when I was struggling to return to work at the client site after maternity leave, or when we had COVID go through our house just recently.

"A decade later, I have a therapist I love, I meet with her monthly, in good times and bad, and it makes me a happier, healthier, and more resilient person in every way."

The biggest barrier for me in getting the help that I needed was HOW to find it. Our healthcare systems, especially in the US, are complicated and convoluted, and it wasn’t that long ago that insurance didn’t cover mental health resources. I was lucky to have a Nurse Mom who could help me navigate the system. At the time, that was too overwhelming for me, and overwhelm is a typical symptom of someone struggling with their mental health. So that is part of the critical mission at Headline. Let’s talk about it and get the resources out in the open, let’s help each other get through those initial barriers.

A decade later, I have a therapist I love, I meet with her monthly, in good times and bad, and it makes me a happier, healthier, and more resilient person in every way. I think of that time when my Mom helped me through that first barrier, and the hope it opened up for me, and that’s what I wish for everyone, just to be able to take that first step.

World Mental Health Day is a great time to recognize and re-establish that mental health is an ongoing practice. We can consciously make time for self-care, establish healthy coping skills, and build up our mental health resiliency so that we have the tools and the energy to cope. Part of that is taking time – and taking time off – to tend to our mental health needs.

PS is recognizing World Mental Health Day this year with a company-wide Mental Health Day Off. Beyond just a day of awareness, this sets the tone that it’s ok to take a day off to rest, reset and recharge. Figuring out what works for you takes some practice, and it does take some trial and error. I’ll give you an example… turns out, yoga is not for me. Instead, I strap on some running shoes, crank up the Queen tunes, and go for a run! I do this to breathe in the fresh air, burn off the days’ stress, and have 30mins of Freddie Mercury wailing in my ear. Figure out what works for you, put together a list of easy mental health practices and tack it up where you can see it. Carve out space to attend to your mental health EVERY DAY and you will be happier and healthier for it. 

Amy Martin
Amy Martin
Associate Creative Director, PS Minneapolis
Amy is a passionate creative and a curious problem-solver, who geeks out over typefaces and color palettes and says things like “em dash”, “let’s work to reduce the cognitive load for our users” and “this looks kinda hinky”. Amy lives in the quaint river town of Stillwater, MN with her musical husband, Doug, happy-go-lucky son Jonah, and fearless daughter, Piper. Her dog Ruby has been featured in more Publicis Town Hall presentations than Amy herself.

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