May is Mental Health Awareness Month! This month, the ALKrew is spreading awareness and emphasizing the importance of mental health in partnership with State of Mind Employee Resource Group (ERG). This ERG opens the conversation around mental health and wellness in hopes of fostering supportive connection and eliminating any potential stigma in the workplace. Without further ado, we introduce: Benefits Manager, Danielle Ledoux! Danielle is a member of the amazing State of Mind. Check out her answers below!
What is your favorite mental health /positive influencer/celebrity?
There are a lot, however, there is one public figure who has really stood out to me this past year. Simone Biles took a step back and withdrew during the 2021 Olympics and put her mental health and wellbeing before her quest for gold. In that moment, Simone demonstrated a different way to win; she put herself first and came back stronger, happier and in the right mindset. From the sidelines, she cheered on her teammates and competitors before brushing herself off and getting back on the beam. My hope is that the young people of the world look to Simone as a role model; someone who is self-aware and unapologetic when opening the conversation and putting their mental health first to be successful.
What has motivated you to get involved in State of Mind/why?
I have always been passionate about mental health, wellness and having an open-door policy when it comes to listening to whoever needs me. It was during the pandemic that I saw how much people were struggling with their mental health, myself included, that sparked the idea to form this employee resource group. The positive response from the DEI council when the idea was pitched made me realize how impactful this could be and that proved to be true when State of Mind had its first meeting. The way that the members have come together to listen, share, and lift each other up is so inspiring and that is what has continued to motivate me.
What are you doing to make sure everyone feels included and safe while attending State of Mind? All State of Mind members are aware of our ‘safe space’ policy. Our meetings are always an open-floor discussion where members can speak if they choose to do so. The known point is to utilize the group in the way that best suits the members, whether that is sitting back and listening, sharing experiences, or posing words of encouragement. It is all welcome! I cannot take credit for everyone in the group feeling included and safe; that all goes to the members who have been so supportive of each other since the beginning.
What is your favorite way to resolve stress and anxiety?
It is especially important to push through your routine or continue to do the things that fill your cup even on the harder days. For me, lately, long walks, journaling and listening to wellness podcasts have been my go-to outlet. When I ensure these things are part of each day, it helps alleviate any added stress or anxiety and ensures I am not holding onto any negative emotions. It is also important to be self-aware and know when it is time to change things up if your usual routine is getting a bit monotonous. Some things I may work on include meditating, trying out new workouts or playing around with new recipes in the kitchen. It is all about knowing what keeps your mind happy and at ease.
Thank you, Danielle for taking the time to answer some questions and showing the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month!