With pandemic-induced anxiety and depression levels increasing by 25 percent globally in 2021 and countries scrambling to support citizens’ mental health and improve mental balance, one CEO is citing five steps for improved outcomes during National Mental Health Month in May.
“Some mental health aspects are highly vulnerable to environmental influences, and the pandemic has certainly levied an unprecedented effect on workers,” said Kevin Guest, chairman and CEO of USANA Health Sciences (NYSE: USNA). “I’ve adopted five practices that consistently bring a more balanced approach to function at higher levels.”
Maintaining social support is top of the list to combat the isolation many have experienced.
“Even in today’s hybrid working environment, staying connected to a network of people, groups and organizations that are supportive and fun is key to good mental health,” said Guest. “This includes friends, neighbors, volunteer opportunities, church, book clubs, support groups, community events and extended family members.”
Author of bestselling All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony, Guest grew up in Montana close to friends and family who shaped his outlook for living a balanced life and supported his hobbies, such as playing music. As a teen, Guest formed a country band that toured and was headed to Nashville.
“I’ve been fortunate to perform with country star Collin Raye’s band, playing at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and sharing the stage with Brooks and Dunn, Keith Urban, Diamond Rio and many others,” he said. “Not only is music my passion, but I’ve found it’s a necessary outlet for mental balance, and that people benefit by doing hobbies they love.”
The third step is committing to consume nutritious foods.
“Eating a healthy diet can support brain function, resulting in positive emotional and behavioral health,” Guest said. “Experts agree eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, with lean protein and moderate carbohydrates is ideal for most people. Because health begins at the cellular level, good intake naturally results in a good output.”
Effectively managing demands of the day, such as planning, prioritizing, organizing and time management, is the fourth key to balance and harmony.
“Leading a global company can bring high levels of nonstop stress,” said Guest, whose years of growing up surrounded by nature helps him calmly assess situations. “In my quest to live a life in harmony, a habit of setting clear priorities in the greater context is one secret to regulate personal energy, cope with stress and avoid a multitude of problems.”
Finally, regular exercise with much needed down time brings balance and helps prevent anxiety and depression, as well as other mental and physical health issues.
“Relaxation and adequate sleep are as important as exercise for stress management and overall mental health,” he said. “Each person must identify their personal sleep needs but getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep has greatly improved my ability to handle daily challenges.”
Leading a billion-dollar company in 24 markets worldwide, Guest shares these principles globally and expects work environments will improve as key mental health steps are taken.
“By persistently working on these five items, I know we can reach higher levels of balance, harmony and happiness everyone deserves,” he said.
All proceeds from All the Right Reasons are directed to feed two million meals to hungry children. Available on Amazon, the book provides 40 meals for each single purchase.
For more information, visit www.kevinguest.com.