Ebony Caldwell poses next to her research poster.

A Bulldog psychiatrist’s top 3 mental well-being tips

We’ve all been there: the joy and warmth of summer starts to fade, the days get colder and shorter, and you start to feel a little down. It’s important to practice self-care in that moment, and UGA’s own Ebony Caldwell (BSHP ’13, MPH ’13) has some tips. She is currently completing her addiction psychiatry fellowship at Yale School of Medicine and also serves on the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry Board of Directors. 

A member of the UGA 40 Under 40 Class of 2023, Ebony is also the founder of the H.O.P.E. Initiative, which provides opioid education and opioid overdose reversal training to community groups to alleviate the undue burden of the opioid epidemic in communities of color. 

Here are Ebony’s top three tips for safeguarding your mental well-being in her own words. 

1. Get comfortable with the word “No.”

“So often in our lives, we are pulled in so many directions and expected to give too much of ourselves. However, learning to recognize and confidently say ‘no’ allows us to reclaim our own personal agency and make time to pour into ourselves.” 

2. Ask for help.

“This could be professional help, such as a therapist, or even just tapping into our social circle. ‘No man is an island,’ and so often we try to take on and manage everything on our own, failing to utilize the help that is often just a phone call or text away.” 

3. Find something that brings you joy.

“In my field of work, it can be hard to tap into activities that spark joy when you’re working over 60 hours a week while also juggling the demands of life. Yet, in the last few years, I’ve prioritized carving out even small moments of things that spark joy. Whether it’s spending 20 minutes planting in my garden or having a dance party with my dog in the living room, I make space and time for these moments.”