Someone Like Me | Mental health tips from Elasticians

World Mental Health Day takes place each year as a reminder that all of us have struggles, and that the first step in making mental health care more acceptable is to remove the stigma around it.

We recently shared the story of Elastician Anna Ossowski to show our support of World Mental Health Day. Her story is also one of sharing, and in that spirit we wanted to do more. So, we sent an email to request tips and tricks from our Elasticians for dealing with challenging moments, and how they nurture mental fitness to weather any situation.

Here’s advice from some of our Elasticians on how to care for your mental health:

Dolph Augustus — Manager, Recruiting

I do guided meditation for a minimum of 20 minutes every day. It doesn't matter how much my mind is racing when I’m doing it. When thoughts wander off, I don't judge them. I just come back to focus on my breathing. Meditation helps me to be in the moment and not get lost in my head.

Clint Caldwell — Coordinator, Recruiting

As an extrovert, being cut off from a lot of my social circles has been really draining on my mental health. Feeling disconnected and unsupported can be overwhelming. Scheduling regular times for activities can really help. I have flexible, weekly 1:1 virtual workouts with friends. We block an hour, spend 15-20 minutes catching up, work out for 30 minutes, and then chat a bit afterwards. They help me feel close and updated, without anything feeling forced.

Michelle Cloutier — Manager, Tech and Operations - Sales Development

Disconnect and take a break. I walk my dogs at least three times a day, for 30 minutes each. This allotted time away from “life” enables me to regroup, refocus, and reprioritize what is going on in my head. I can think through things more clearly and it releases my tension and anxiety. No phone, no music, just me and the puppies enjoying the outdoors a little bit every day!

Francois Conil — Senior Support Engineer

I highly recommend this blog post. It was really helpful to me when I was seeking therapy. For our friends in Australia, this website is great for finding a psychologist. You can search for a wide range of criteria, including languages spoken and topics you want to discuss.

Angie Hardy — Manager, A/R & Collections, Accounting

When going down a rabbit hole of negative thinking or predicting confrontational situations I ask myself: "What are the facts?" Knowing the facts, as opposed to assumptions or conjecture about what someone else is thinking, is helpful. Uncertainty is unsettling and it's okay to feel unsettled sometimes and "not okay." But separating fact from fiction will keep you from going through problems, rather than around them.

Tyler Langlois — Principal Software Engineer, Stack-Infra

Compartmentalize work life from personal life to avoid background anxiety. Separate physical space, digital space, and "attention" distance from notifications or interruptions. This has been crucial, at least for me, for achieving mental balance.

Jonas Lavoie — Principal Product Manager II

I was looking for a simple, repeatable mantra to help friends, family, and myself reframe the mind in times of confusion, brain fog, or distress. Here’s what I came up with:

Present repairs, present prepares.The only way to successfully take back the reins when the mind goes into a tailspin is to seek the present, embracing it as fully and as genuinely as possible. It is the mind's prerogative to look for the escape hatch, flee an emotion, ruminate on situations from the past, or fear future uncertainty. But the most beautiful tool we as Homo sapiens have is our ability to move through time in this peculiar vessel called the Present (capital P). Only in the present can you heal the wounds of the past. Only in the present can you stock up on confidence, love, and strength for the future. The present is your lifelong home, make it cozy.

Mara Nicholson — Director, Finance Shared Services

I think taking care of physical health is the key to maintaining a good state of mind. Drinking enough water, prioritizing sleep, eating healthy food, and moving your body for at least 30 minutes every day are all really important. Making these things a daily routine (instead of a few times a week) helps to form great habits.

Dominic Page — Education Architect

Mindfulness is important. When I start thinking about mindfulness, I can’t help but notice parallels with our current approach to observability. I'm absolutely not trying to sell stuff, it just strikes me as a metaphor which might be of some use. Here’s how it works:

Check your personal o11y dashboard. It might look like this:

  • Logging: What happened so far today? What events did I deal with well and which caused me stress?
  • Metrics: How do I feel right now? Is my work focus improving or declining at this point in the day?
  • APM: I'm going to have another try at <suboptimal_event>. This time I want to be fully aware of how I deal with every step of that process.

So, after checking in with my dashboard, I might notice:

  • Logging: I had 50% over my quota of stressful events in the last 2 hours.
  • Metrics: I feel tension in my shoulders and it's hard to stay on task.
  • APM: The <suboptimal_event> can wait. It’s time for a break to collect my thoughts. Then I'll come back and try that task again.

Devin Rhoades — Project Manager, IT

For me, regular exercise has always had a profound impact on my mental health. It keeps me balanced, improves my focus, helps me think clearly and react to stressors with more logic than emotion. Whether it’s an intense lifting session or a brisk walk, staying active is my key to peace of mind.

Amanda Rizkita — Sales Development Representative, Singapore

Whenever I notice myself getting caught in unhealthy thought processes, I try to use my body. This might mean controlled breathing, doing a body scan or, if time permits, doing yoga or exercising. You cannot always fight thoughts with thoughts, and your body can be a wonderful tool to help your mind work for you instead of against you.

Joelle Sopariwala — Commercial Account Executive, Sales

Everyone can benefit from therapy. The opportunity to speak openly and honestly with someone outside your personal circle and get feedback is not the same as venting to friends and family. It is important to purge your thoughts and feelings — even if it’s just to talk about the mundane.

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