Balancing Your Mental Health and Work

Have you experienced burnout, overwhelm, and gotten to the point of not feeling you’re at your best? We’ve all been there — but it’s important to understand why balancing both your mental health and work is important, especially with the upcoming holidays.

To begin, you must value yourself more than anything else. Make sure that you are aware of your own stressors and identify when you start to notice them creep up. Incorporate time for yourself daily, monthly, and yearly, so you are getting the balance you need. While that can be easier said than done this time of year, it’s essential to prioritize yourself, too!

The need to reset is a real thing, and at some point, you just need to retreat and spend time connecting with yourself. It will be a benefit to you and your loved ones.

Resetting is important because you can focus and be more productive when you have a clear mental space, are present, and not stressing about other aspects of your life. When your mind is clear, you are more intentional about what’s in front of you.

While it can be tough to set boundaries at work, here are some things you can do to make it easier:

  1. Get yourself organized and use time blocking. Determine your daily goals and then plan and map out your responsibilities. It lets you know how much wiggle room and bandwidth you have to take on more. If you are organized and in control of your day by using time management tactics, it allows you to be realistic about what you have going on and what else you can take on.
  2. It’s okay to say no. If you have too much, that is when things become overwhelming, and things slip through the cracks.

While you can get things done well and quickly, sometimes you are given more work. Be transparent about what’s currently on your plate and offer alternative times that you can be available to help. If you are always saying yes or being available, you are taking on more pressure and doing too much. It’s important to set the boundaries early on and give alternative times for when you can assist.

This holiday season, be intentional about balancing your mental health and self-care priorities!

Healing Through the Arts

Did you know that using art as a coping tool is found to be especially helpful for individuals who struggle with self-harm or chronic depression and anxiety?

What is art therapy and how can it help? Art therapy is a complementary form of therapy that assists in a therapeutic outcome to grow in expression and communication. Art therapy along with medication management is a well-rounded treatment option that stabilizes compliancy.

What you should know about art therapy is:

  • No experience is necessary to participate.
  • It’s judgment free
  • It’s a form of expression.
  • It helps with depression and anxiety.

Art therapy allows for creativity, expression, and an avenue to explore. When overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, art therapy permits you the freedom to be guided through your thoughts, allowing engagement, whereas, through talk therapy, you may remain reluctant to talk. Art provides an area to vent fears and deeper thoughts in a relaxed state of being. Thus, significantly improving the mood and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Many people search for alternative methods of treatment that coincide with medication management or management of a mental illness in general. Art therapy fits the bill in many areas for those on a quest for whole health and well-being.

Boost Your Self-Esteem

How is self-esteem a major role player in mental health? Self-esteem has a connection to every part of a person’s life. It can affect a person’s relationship, career, and health. If you find yourself in a rut with low self-esteem, reassess your situation to verify where you can start regaining a positive self-esteem boost.

Here are some helpful ways to boost your self-esteem:

  1. Pinpoint circumstances or conditions that pull down your self-esteem.
  2. Once you identify those circumstances, pay close attention to your feelings; you may feel positive, negative, or even neutral. The idea is to ensure honesty with yourself.
  3. Because you are assessing your thought process, this may be the opportunity to challenge the way you’re thinking. Here are some patterns that may lower your self-esteem:
    1. Changing positives into negatives.
    2. “If” thought process that dumps you in a negative light.
    3. Dwelling on the negative for long periods.
    4. Jumping to negative conclusions.
    5. Using your feelings as a fact.
    6. Downing and doubting yourself.
  4. Create more constructive and positive self-thoughts.

Take these four steps to boost your self-esteem for the better. It can make your relationships, career, and health positively smoother and elevate your mental health.

These steps are evidence-based, CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques utilized at South Sound Behavioral Hospital, a safe place where we are serving people, empowering people, and inspiring hope.

2022 is the Year of Resilience!

The past couple of years has been challenging for many. To tip the top of the iceberg, we are entering 2022 with newfound skills of hope and perseverance due to enduring the wrath of the new omicron COVID strain. The ability to sustain the test of sanity, and the inability to socialize during 2021, is a feat all on its own; the need to look at the positives will outweigh the bad experiences that tagged along with the first round of COVID. The slight positive notions that came, such as a glimpse of normalcy with businesses opening, activities resuming, and lessened restrictions, gave the world hope. Now more than ever, the world is looking for an opportunity to come back stronger than ever. The evidence of the worlds’ endurance proves the skills possessed to continue. There are a few who need more help than others. The construction of resilience in people is now a skill everyone must be exposed to move ahead. Below is a list of what you can do to assist in building strength in others.

Model Positivity: When a challenge is presented, model a “can do” attitude.

Praise often: Make sure to point out and comment on all the good things a person is doing to reinforce success. Everyone loves to feel the recognition.

Frame positive connections: Encourage positive, solid, and loving relationships with loved ones and friends.

Goal setting: Make setting goals normal and set realistic goals to work towards.

Turn problems into opportunities: Taking disappointment right after another is demanding already. Show a different perspective on challenges and turn them into opportunities to learn and grow.

Self-Care: To keep fighting the good fight and maintain self-care is a priority. Take time to find a sense of inner peace and relax.

Selfless service: Empower them to find worth in giving to others in need.

Remember, there are always opportunities to grow, and these are a few ways to keep going. In many cases, the comeback is more fruitful than the setback.


Every New Year has traditions that many follow; it can be a time to refresh, restart, and renew. For some, it signifies a time to make amends, new routines, healthier lifestyles, and new goals, both professionally and personally. Setting goals each New Year can be easy for some and difficult for others, but either way an essential step in growth.

The truth is jotting down a few goals is the easy part; getting started is the hurdle in itself. Getting started can be one of the most challenging things; not everyone can redirect and find an avenue to uncover a new and improved self-way to reaching their goals. So to move forward, create a list of actionable, attainable goals to help you achieve more in 2022!

If you have already chosen your goals, you are ahead of the game, and if not, don’t worry; there is still time to create and implement a New Year’s plan any time of the year. Now let’s dive into achieving those goals; start by reevaluating your goals to verify they are feasible. Remember tackling your goals is not a small task, and it isn’t a fad diet. Achieving goals can be more like a marathon; set an action plan to get started on reaching each goal. You want to ask yourself, what will I need to be successful? Take a look at yourself and evaluate the skills you have and those you lack to begin the process. The skills required on this road to reaching your goals in 2022 are a sequence of plans, motivation, commitment, drive, tenacity, follow-through, and patience.

If you are missing a couple of these, then maybe the first step is to work on understanding yourself to ensure your road to achieving your goals will be attainable. Working on yourself is one of the best things you can do to ensure progress and movement for the future.

Like each year, focus on what you truly want for yourself and set small actionable goals that will help you move forward.

We wish you the best in all your 2022 endeavors. Let’s stay committed!

South Sounds Holiday Reads List

Tis the Season for the Gift of Giving!

Tis the season for the gift of giving! SSBH has sought to optimize our skills and resources to bring better programs suitable for our community. We have added days of availability to one of our programs, implemented trauma-informed therapeutic programming throughout the hospital, and soon providing a new service, GeneSight. SSBH’s IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) now operates seven days a week. The newly added weekend availability to the program has opened doors for many patients balancing work and self-care. The IOP service is a 4-week program, offering a morning (9 am-12 pm) session and an afternoon (3 pm-6 pm) session. Participants can attend 3-days out of the week, including the option of the weekends to better suit their lifestyle. We must continue to serve the community in a balanced manner to provide an optimal treatment experience.

The patient care experience is essential to the quality and continuity of care for patients and their families. Mental health care has changed its outlook at SSBH. Our new program implementation has been a game-changing experience taking crisis stabilization to the next level. The 14-day program has been “life-changing” for many patients and has inspired those waiting to receive the help they deserve take the next step. Our trauma-informed program is based on stress management, identity, communication, coping skills, empowerment, emotional wellness, and reflection. Each person moving through the healing journey is encouraged and empowered to do the “work” to achieve the desired outcome. This program has been beneficial for both staff and patients alike, allowing both to participate and engage, resulting in a therapeutic community.

At SSBH we are hyper focused on advancing our patient care experience, and another way we thought to do that was by incorporating GeneSight Testing. GeneSight is a non-invasive procedure to provide analytical results that may affect medication outcomes, this service is beneficial for both the patient and the doctor. The result will inform the doctor how well the patient will respond to the medication treatment. The GeneSight service will positively add to the patient care experience at SSBH.

We will continue to give the gift of great care to all – our patients, families, and community! We will strive to advance the patient care experience by serving people, empowering people, and inspiring hope during this holiday season and every day.

Healing Art for Mental Health Month

Join us as we bring awareness to Mental Health Month by entering your expressions of healing art into our community art showcase. From May 16th – May 31, 2021, community art submissions will be displayed around and throughout our hospital.

For more information or to submit your art, please email [email protected].

May 6th – 12th is Nurses Week!

May 6th – 12th is Nurses Week! Thank you to all the nurses in the world – we appreciate your commitment to patient care, your time, your efforts, and your compassion. This year SSBH showed our appreciation by showering our nurses with love. Check out the thank you bags and cookies!

Terrance “TJ” O’Reilly Named Chief Executive Officer of South Sound Behavioral Hospital

Lacey, WA—May 10, 2021—South Sound Behavioral Hospital, a leader in behavioral health care in The South Sound, announced that Terrance “TJ” O’Reilly has been named Chief Executive Officer.

O’Reilly’s appointment is a clear reflection of the hospitals’ current state: ready to take on the future in behavioral health and focused to provide the best patient care for the community. South Sound Behavioral Hospital is poised for significant expansion in treatment offerings and excited that TJ’s unique experience in developing effective programming will help the community receive quality care.

O’Reilly served as Chief Executive Officer of Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, located in DeSoto, Texas, and has held executive leadership roles at Haven Behavioral Hospital of Frisco and multiple Universal Health Services “UHS” residential treatment centers. During which time, O’Reilly focused on improving patient satisfaction, implementing programming, and improving quality compliance.

O’Reilly also served on the Dallas Behavioral Health Leadership Team, the DeSoto Economic Recovery Advisory Task Force, and the North Star Collaborative.

“Our goal is to teach our patients the skills needed to maintain a healthy productive life through our Trauma Informed Care Programming”, said O’Reilly.

As CEO, O’Reilly will lead South Sound Behavioral Hospital’s efforts to be a community partner, provide quality patient-centered care, and improve the well-being of each client served.

O’Reilly obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Montana in 1999. He became licensed as a registered nurse in 2011. O’Reilly went on to complete his Master’s in Business Administration from Franklin University in 2013.

About South Sound Behavioral Hospital

South Sound Behavioral Hospital is a behavioral health hospital with a primary focus on mental health, located in Lacey, Washington. The facility currently offers a 108-bed Adult Inpatient Mental Health Program, a Women’s Program, and Adult Intensive Outpatient Program. This spring the hospital will be expanding treatment offerings to include a Withdraw Management Program. The goal is to be an ally to those in our local community in need of mental health and substance use treatment. To help accomplish this goal, we provide mental health assessments 24/7, at no charge.

For additional information on South Sound Behavioral Hospital, please contact Director of Business Development, Nicole Green at (360) 338-1318.