8 Ways Companies Can Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Originally named by Mental Health America in 1949, this important awareness month encourages individuals and organizations to champion mental health awareness and to normalize conversation and action around matters of mental health and wellbeing.

There has been extensive conversation around the topic of employee mental health and wellbeing over the past few years, and rightly so. Though the pandemic has eased in many ways, employees are still facing challenges to their mental health and wellbeing. Persistent and widespread stressors include conflict around heading back to the office, overwork from staffing issues causing teams to be spread thin, and an undercurrent of global political unrest, among others. This creates a recipe for anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Why acknowledgment of Mental Health Awareness Month matters

Given the state of the world, mental health and wellbeing continue to be top workplace concerns. Everyone is affected to some degree. The good news is that addressing this topic in a meaningful way has the potential to bring employers and employees together by creating a healthier workplace.

Companies must lead the conversation around mental health and wellbeing, listen to employees, and provide benefits that make a difference in their lives. Acknowledging mental health is key to fostering a culture of psychological safety at work. Corporate wellness programs produce the best results for employees when paired with top-down, big picture culture change that allows employees to be themselves at work and feel valued for who they are.

Addressing multiple dimensions of wellbeing, holistic wellness practices boost feelings of connection, which prove integral to our sense of overall wellbeing.

Here are 8 ways companies can support employee wellbeing through investment in holistic wellness programming*:

  • Offer webinars on topics related to mental wellbeing – these presentations provide employees with information and discussion facilitated by a national board-certified health & wellness coach. Many wellness webinars include time for employee questions and interactions on the topic, offering the chance for them to be a little vulnerable if they choose, which can help fellow co-workers with similar challenges feel less alone.
  • Schedule live, interactive fitness & wellness classes – one of the benefits of live classes is the built-in connection employees have with instructors and co-workers. Workouts like HIIT, Strength & Conditioning and other types of exercise that really get the heart rate often help to boost feelings of wellbeing. Or, turn to mindful movement offerings like desk yoga, accessible yoga and Pilates. No matter the type of class, get the maximum reach by pairing live classes with a recording employees can view later.
  • Provide easy access to on-demand classes – many employees make use of wellness offerings they can engage with when it’s most convenient for them. Having an easily accessible collection of wellness practices, fitness classes, nutrition support, and webinars at their fingertips can help employees stay consistent.
  • Organize mindfulness talks or meditation & breathwork sessionsMindfulness and meditation practices teach employees to be present and focused, while breathwork helps to build self-awareness – all strong components of mental wellbeing. Ongoing, weekly classes offer employees a regular touchpoint for their practice, while one-time sessions make a great addition to meetings and special events.
  • Offer Chair Massage at the office – if you have hybrid employees, or employees have fully transitioned back to the office, this is a fantastic service to offer. Pick a day when the majority of employees are scheduled to be on-site or schedule a massage therapist through multiple time blocks so employees can receive a massage when it’s most convenient for them. Massage is known to decrease anxiety, reduce pain, and enhance mood.
  • Get Cooking – Food brings us together. Live, interactive cooking classes are a fun and unique way to bring hybrid employees together, creating the kind of connection that boosts mental wellbeing. These classes can also be fun even if employees prefer to watch and learn from the instructor.
  • Suggest a disconnect from social media – invite employees to disconnect from their social feeds, even for a brief period, while continuing to stay informed through other reliable sources. Social media is shown to have negative effects on mental health. Your company could even set an example by taking a month off from its social media campaigns, allowing your marketing & communications team a respite.
  • Express Gratitude – let employees know they are appreciated. A little recognition can go a long way and help employees feel seen, and thus feel a bit more motivated in their work.

Acknowledgment and action around matters of mental health and wellbeing can go a long way toward having happier, healthier employees, while helping your company to thrive into the future. What steps will your company take toward these ends this month?

*In addition to holistic wellness programming that’s offered at work, employees should always be encouraged to make use of EAP programs to consult with trained and certified mental health professionals. While they can be supportive in many ways, wellness practices are not a substitution for traditional mental health treatment.


Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.


6 Ways to Improve Sleep Hygiene for Quality Rest

Sleep plays a significant role in both physical and mental health, but research makes it clear that Americans struggle to get quality sleep. In fact, according to the CDC, one third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep.

Also according to the CDC, getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis or less than the recommended amount of sleep is linked with a wide range of common health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

It is widely documented that stress, the chronic type that is highly prevalent in the workplace, is one of the leading sleep disruptors.

Feeling sleepy in the office while sitting in front of the computer is one thing, but in industries and workplace settings including warehouses, construction sites, airports, and manufacturing, physical safety is of the utmost importance. In these settings, the National Safety Council (NSC) points out that workplace fatigue can contribute to bottom-line issues like worker absenteeism, poor performance at work, occupational injuries, and accidents, and even offers a calculator for organizations to estimate the cost of sleep deficiency on their operations.

So, what measures can companies take to help stressed employees improve their sleep habits (often referred to as sleep hygiene)? Or perhaps as you are reading this, you have realized that you are ready to make some changes to your own sleep habits?

Here are a few tips to share or apply yourself:

1. Reduce stress –
According to medical professionals, high levels of stress hormones in the body can impact how long it takes to fall asleep or may prevent sleeping through the night. Sleep loss itself can also trigger the stress response, only prolonging the cycle. So, it stands to reason we can benefit from bringing our stress level down.

One place to start is being sure to engage in physical activity each day, even if it’s just a short walk, yoga practice, or higher intensity exercise in the form of HIIT routines you can do at home. Exercise increases endorphins (feel-good hormones) while reducing stress hormones, which together help support relaxation.

There are countless stress reduction tools out there. It is likely your employer even offers some through a corporate wellness program provider. If you haven’t recently, be sure to review your company’s employee wellness benefits package to see what may already be available.

If you need some inspiration, Urban Balance’s on-demand class library is a great holistic wellness resource both for companies and individuals seeking guidance with their routine.

2. Develop a consistent sleep schedule – As the proverb “early to bed, early to rise” has long encouraged us, it is beneficial to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Any early riser would agree that having a fixed wakeup time builds the body’s desire for sleep at the end of the day, making it easier to rest and begin the next day’s cycle.

3. Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool – Invest in a set of blackout curtains or try sleeping with an eye mask to support your body’s internal clock. The absence of light signals the brain that it’s time to sleep. Adjust the room temperature – conventional wisdom suggests between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal.

4. Leave ample time to unwind at the end of the day – Turn off screens by at least 30 minutes before bed, do a mediation or some restorative yoga before bed, or settle in with a good book to help your brain unwind.

5. Aim for balanced nutritionEat a balanced diet packed with lots of fruits and vegetables, which provides the recommended daily intake of vitamins and nutrients. Eat dinner a few hours before going to bed, as digestion can interfere with sleep. Be sure to watch your caffeine intake throughout the day, as well as alcohol intake – both are stimulants and can interfere with your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

6. Make holistic wellness practices a part of your life – There are many holistic wellness practices that promote quality sleep, including chair massage, yoga (especially yin and restorative styles, as well as yoga nidra), meditation, Tai Chi and other styles of movement. These practices promote overall stress reduction, which sets the stage for better quality sleep.


If getting a good night’s sleep is a struggle and you’re curious about whether holistic wellness practices like yoga, meditation, and other healing modalities might help you or your employees, don’t hesitate to use us as a resource!


Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our
catalog of virtual wellness services with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.

Why You Should Go on a Wellness Retreat


Since the onset of the pandemic, more people have begun to develop an appreciation for the role of health and wellbeing in their lives. And, as we move into this next phase of the experience, many are ready to travel, gather, and experience the world again.

It’s no secret: the past couple of years have taken a toll on just about everyone’s sense of wellbeing. For one, maintaining physical wellness has been a challenge for many — getting out into nature, moving your body, breathing well, and eating well, are a few of the keys to thriving in this dimension of wellbeing. It’s also very important to acknowledge how challenging it can be to keep our attention here while living under stressful circumstances.

Mental wellbeing is another dimension of wellbeing that has been hugely impacted. In a recent survey from American Express, 69 percent of respondents said they had experienced mental health impacts from the pandemic, while 76 percent of respondents said they wanted to spend more on travel that put wellbeing at the center of the experience.

Over the past 10-15 years, this trend of seeking out vacations that prioritize relaxation and self-care has led to the rise of an entire industry. Dubbed wellness tourism or wellness travel, this industry boasts a wide array of retreat-like experiences in locations around the world.

Benefits of Wellness Retreats

Some of the most impactful wellness retreats combine multiple dimensions of wellbeing that help to enrich our lives. Offerings might range from yoga and meditation sessions to fitness classes to massage and other spa services. Wellness retreats often give participants a taste of the local cuisine, as well as opportunities to learn about the local culture.

There is typically some space set aside for retreat-goers to step out of the main group to enjoy personal time in nature or take excursions to local attractions of their choice. Such elements help transform a simple trip into a holistic experience. If you’re ready for a reset, here’s why you should make a wellness retreat part of your plan.

Holistic wellness retreats help you:

Nurture your body inside and out
Holistic wellness retreats often include daily movement practices like yoga or Pilates, access to spa services like massage and skincare, and the opportunity to savor delicious local fare. Typically taking place in restful, relaxing environments, holistic wellness retreats support the release of tension and stress in the body and nervous system.

Care for your mind
Mental wellbeing has been a well-documented challenge throughout the pandemic. Reducing your stress level for a few days by participating in a refreshing experience like a wellness retreat can help to shift your outlook amidst the challenges of life, and even boost your optimism.

Eat well
Often, one of the best parts about wellness retreats is the food – especially when it’s locally produced, sustainably grown, and chef-prepared. It’s easy to feel well when eating nutritious, flavorful cuisine. All the more reason to leave the cooking to someone else for a few days!

Connect with others
Wellness retreats are a great place to make new connections and discover new interests as you step out of your daily responsibilities and into a fresh perspective. Show up solo and you might just come away with a new friend.

Step out of your routine

There’s something comforting about our daily routines. They can help us stay focused and steady to ensure we honor our commitments to ourselves and others. Consider setting your routines aside for a time. Doing so can help to widen your perspective and release the stress of your to-do list as you immerse yourself in the present moment experience. When you return home, you might just appreciate your “regular” life and the space your routines hold even more.

Looking for wellness retreats near you?

Googling “wellness retreats near me” will pop up some great options in your local area.

Urban Balance is proud to offer local and international wellness retreats. To see what we have coming up, visit the retreats section of our website. Next up is our Gather Wellness Retreat happening April 22nd-25th at Brasada Ranch near Bend, OR.

Looking for a virtual “getaway” for hybrid employees? We also offer virtual corporate retreats that employees can take part in from any location!



Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver live and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Browse our
catalog of virtual wellness services with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.

Ways to Boost Mental Fitness in the Workplace

Ways to Increase Mental Fitness in the Workplace

Have you heard the term “mental fitness” and wondered if it involved lifting tiny weights with your brain? Thankfully it doesn’t, but mental fitness training can enhance our ability to move through many of the challenges we encounter at work and at home – an area where many employees are needing support right now.

What is mental fitness?

Critical to our ability to thrive and reach our full potential, mental fitness can be defined as a state of emotional and psychological well-being in which we are in touch with how we think, feel and act. Just like physical fitness, mental fitness is something we can all strengthen and improve over the course of our lives. There is an array of skills, lifestyle habits, and practices that can help boost our mental fitness and increase resiliency so we can manage stress and cope with challenges.

What does being mentally fit look and feel like?

A few common indicators include:

  • A positive sense of how we think, feel, and behave
  • Living in the present moment more of the time
  • Resiliency in dealing with stressors as they arise
  • Experiencing flow states more of the time
  • Laser-focused attention and a clearer mind
  • Clarity about who you are and how you want to be
  • Eagerness to take on new challenges and show up in your life
  • Ability to creatively problem-solve

What are some ways to increase mental fitness?

Meditate or otherwise practice mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness practices encourage relaxation as you engage in contemplation. Regular meditation may increase your ability to focus, decrease anxiety, and help you approach life with greater intention.

Look at your “information diet”
Pay attention to what types of media you’re consuming on a regular basis. What is the overall quality of your “diet”? Notice the quality of thoughts that are flowing through your consciousness each day. Kinder, more compassionate thoughts help to develop a more optimistic mindset which in turn supports positive action.

Focus on Nutrition
It’s hard to focus or feel mentally engaged when our bodies aren’t getting enough nutrients. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet to follow as each body has different needs, concentrate on eating a wide array of nutritious foods and eat for brain health whenever possible.

Maintain physical fitness
A healthy body supports a healthy mind. There have been many studies done that show the positive impact of exercise on mental health, including this one. If your mind is feeling dull or on the other side of the spectrum, chaotic, getting out and moving can work wonders, often in a short amount of time.

Improve Sleep Hygiene
Consider your sleep habits. What is your caffeine and water intake like throughout the day? Do you have a routine in place like reading or meditating to help you wind down before bed? These can all impact the quality of our sleep.

Mental Fitness Training Programs
Mental fitness programming is one of the many ways companies can demonstrate care for their employees’ mental well-being. In fact, formal brain training/mental fitness programs have become quite a trend in the last few years and with the widespread increase in demand for mental well-being programming in the corporate wellness landscape, these programs definitely have their place.

Urban Balance offers one such program called Positive Intelligence. In this 8-week course, employees learn to identify, recognize and intercept thoughts, habits, and patterns that no longer serve them. The practices offered within the program simultaneously activate and strengthen the region of the brain that supports highly effective stress-free performance and optimal response.

To enroll yourself or a group of employees in the next session of this widely-acclaimed professional development course starting in January, please contact us for full details.


Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site and virtual corporate wellness services in Portland, Oregon. We deliver yoga, Pilates, meditation, massage, nutrition and learning opportunities to the office environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Check out our catalog of Virtual Wellness Services here.


4 Ways to Get Creative with your Employee Wellness Programming

At this point in the pandemic, when it comes to your virtual wellness offerings, maybe it feels like you’ve tried it all (and then some!) and aren’t quite sure how to pique your team’s interest. Need a little inspiration? If you’re looking for ways to keep your programming fresh and share gratitude with your employees as we head into 2022, here’s a list of fun event ideas to consider.

Virtual Wellness Retreats

Design a virtual wellness retreat experience tailored to your employees’ needs. This fully customizable option invites employees to enjoy all the relaxation, bliss, and centering of a wellness retreat within the safety of their own home or office. Companies that work with us can choose from any of the live or pre-recorded or classes in our catalog including movement, meditation, nutrition, wellness webinars, and more.

During these events, employees are encouraged to make their space a sanctuary and be as present as possible by disconnecting from work for the span of a few hours. Having some scheduled time away from their daily responsibilities could be just what your employees need to help feel nourished and re-charged for the new year.

Host a Virtual Wellness Week

If you’re looking to offer more of a multi-day experience with a diverse array of offerings spread out across several days, consider hosting a virtual wellness week.

With this type of event, we can help you customize a creative, informative, fun and interactive weeks’ worth of webinars. One possible way to structure the event is to focus on a different dimension of well-being each day for 5 days. Consider having 2-3 webinars live-streamed per day, and opt-in for recordings to send to employees who could not attend live. We will collaborate with you and with our skilled and experienced team of corporate wellness professionals to present a rich blend of webinars that will speak to mental, financial, physical, environmental and nutritional/social well-being.

This format has a high likelihood of sparking good conversation in the office (or virtual workspace), because it allows employees to steep in each topic for a little longer than usual. This extra time spent with the material can help guide employees toward meaningful change in their lives.

Virtual Health Fairs

Is your company planning a virtual health or benefits fair? These events are a great way to help employees take initiative over their well-being by showing up to interact with a variety of wellness experts as they learn about the benefits and services that are available to them.
Consider tying in benefits providers you haven’t worked with before to help keep things fresh. Offer a meditation session or movement class, or even a nutrition demo as part of the event. Providing opportunities for experiential learning through classes and webinars can help keep the event fun and informative while building community.

Substitute Your In-Person Holiday Gathering with Virtual Wellness Experiences

If your organization is unable to hold an in-person holiday gathering again this year, consider other ways you could bring employees together to appreciate their efforts and have a little fun. One of our favorite strategies is to offer a holiday-themed interactive cooking class where employees can cook with the instructor. You could also consider a virtual yoga class or a high-energy movement class like Zumba, HIIT, etc.

Whichever path you choose here are some general guidelines to help you design an experience that runs smoothly and ends up being meaningful for employees:

  • Meet employees where they are – make it relevant. Cater to your team’s wants and needs. Survey them. Give them two or 3 options to choose from. Find out what employees want and deliver! For instance, if you have a team that loves food, offer an interactive cooking class. If you’ve heard a lot of people say they’re burnt out or need a break, consider some gentle or restorative yoga, or group meditation session.
  • Make it interactive. have presenters ask engaging questions, offer fun prizes or other incentives for those who attend, and be sure to follow up with participants to see what their experience was like when all is said and done.
  • Give employees paid time to participate. This is one of the best ways to boost engagement and show employees that you are prioritizing their well-being.
  • Get the word out early and often. What is your department is doing to inform and remind employees of what is available to them? Employees may need to hear about wellness offerings several times before they really notice them and decide to participate.
  • Offer multiple ways to participate. Livestream classes are great for bringing people together in real-time and building community. Consider offering a recording for those who could not make it to the live session.
  • Build excitement around the offerings. To ensure employees show up to reap the benefits, really make it an event that employees won’t want to miss – make it “cool” to participate! Offer a drawing or other incentive or find other ways to create a little friendly competition.

In these times, there is no doubt that companies will need to be creative when it comes to supporting employee well-being. Think outside the box and let us know how we can support your remote or hybrid employees. We’d love to brainstorm with you to create an event that makes a difference in their lives!


Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site and virtual corporate wellness services in Portland, Oregon. We deliver yoga, Pilates, meditation, massage, nutrition and learning opportunities to the office environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.

Check out our catalog of Virtual Wellness Services here.


Why your company should curate classes for employees instead of offering flex dollars

Why your company should curate classes for employees instead of offering flex dollars

By Phoebe Schiff


If your company offers a Wellness Spending Account or any type of flexible wellness dollars for employees, it may be time to consider adding live classes that bring employees together in community, promote accountability, and offer a source of stability.


Employee turnover, new talent acquisition, relocation to physical offices, changing policies, and a general feeling of disarray are just a few of the experiences companies are undergoing.


With all of this in the background, Wellness Spending Accounts and flexible wellness dollars are important resources for employees to feel like they have support.


However, offering people flexible spending for wellness services in stressful moments like this doesn’t compare to the shared experience of curated, community-oriented wellness services like live yoga classes, meditation, nutrition classes, and wellness webinars Read more

Pandemic Reflections: Co-Creating The World We Want to Live In

Pandemic Reflections: Co-Creating The World We Want to Live In

The pandemic has revealed how deeply interconnected we are with everyone and everything on the planet. We have seen first-hand how a virus with a single point of origin could come to affect us collectively in one way or another.

Whether that impact has looked like losing your sense of day-to-day normalcy, or at worst, contracting the virus or losing loved ones, we have all felt the toll and witnessed the great suffering and iniquity it has revealed. But now that the regulations are starting to lift and our movements are becoming less restricted, where do we go from here? Read more

On Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

On Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace: How Companies Can Demonstrate Care

It is no secret that the pandemic has taken a toll on people’s mental health to some degree throughout the past year.

According to a survey by the CDC, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety and depression, and a marked increase in substance abuse.

As a corporate wellness company focused on holistic programming, we recognize that mental health and wellbeing are inextricably linked from the overall picture of employee wellness. So, what is the relationship between the two, and what can support look like in the workplace? Read on. Read more

The Well-Being Difference: Taking a Holistic Approach to Corporate Wellness Programs

According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center in early 2020, one third of Americans have experienced high levels of psychological distress during the pandemic. Nearly one year into this event, we also know that stress and burnout are now more prominent in the workplace than ever.

These issues were rising even prior to the pandemic, but what is clear now is just how many employees are expecting support from their employers. According to a MetLife survey, 76% of employees think their workplace has a responsibility for their health and well-being. As noted in the summary of the study (linked), employees need an ally. Employers can assume this role by acknowledging their employees as whole people and providing holistic support through their wellness programming. Read more

4 Ways to Promote Resilience Within Remote Teams

November 2020

There’s a lot of talk about “Covid fatigue” these days. Perhaps you’re seeing signs of it in your employees and colleagues, and maybe even yourself. Now several months into this global pandemic, most workplaces have moved beyond the adrenaline/shock of it all and further into the question of “when will we go back to normal?” Read more