The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every person realizes their own potential and can cope with normal stresses of life. However, we have not been living in a normal life lately. COVID has taken a toll on everyone’s good mental health. When looking at the workplace we can see the strain and stress that everyone faces, from the bottom to the top of the organization.
Leaders are feeling the stress of COVID 19 maybe even more than others. They have been given the task of figuring out what the newest ever-changing regulations and protocols are and how to implement them into their organization with minimal disruption to operations. In addition to their normal business practices, leaders now must also focus on keeping their staff and the public safe and healthy. This has led many leaders and small business owners into burn out.
There are numerous ways leaders, and all of us, can reduce the impact of stress and support mental health in the workplace. Leaders, more than anyone, need to embrace and utilize the supports available, and let others know it is OK to seek help. Here are a few questions to go through if you are struggling:
- Why am I stressed? Many times, people are not self-aware to realize the source of their stress. Take a moment and identify the main cause of your stress, then act.
- What can I do to help myself through this time of stress? Take a step back from the situation. Make sure you are engaging with others in a respectful way. (Stress can equal irritation) If you are feeling run down, give yourself permission to rest. Watch a movie, have a cup of coffee and be present. This leads us into the next part of what you can do.
- Practice MINDFULNESS meditation. I don’t mean you need to sit on your living room floor and hum! Being mindful is being present – take a moment to look around and see things for the first time in your world. Take note of what you are thankful for. Focus on your breath, listen to the clock tick, listen to the wind blowing through the trees. Just be present.
- Engage in Social Activities, oh I know this one is difficult now with COVID but we have other ways to be social. Call a family member or old friend, plan a walk outside with a friend, get involved in your community.
- Reach out to others and help. When we help others, this can also help ourselves. Talk to others about what they are going through, provide suggestions and share strategies.
- Get physical! Walk, hike or swim. Join a virtual fitness class. Studies show that staying active is very important to good mental health.
It’s important to talk about it, don’t feel that you are burdening others with your problems and stresses. You will be surprised how many are feeling the same things. If feelings increase or persist, it is important to seek medical advice. There is no shame in having to rely on others and/or medication to assist you through this tough time.
Identifying that you have a mental health concern is not something to be ashamed of. When understood one can plan forward and a step into a journey of wellness. You will be a better person (and leader) if you know your limits and know what you need to achieve wellness.
The leaders of this world set the stage for others. If you are talking about your mental health openly others will follow.
Check out our page of Mental Health supports. We help Westman Work!
Lora Hay – RPR
- World Health Organization : https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response
- Talent Canada – https://www.talentcanada.ca/right-sizing-mental-health-solutions-for-small-business/
- Linkedin Talent Blog – https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-strategy/talent-leaders-stretched-too-thin