Today’s guest blog is authored by Peppercomm’s Simran Kumar, who takes a sobering look at the realities of emotional health and well-being in the workplace. Please take a few minutes to review the cold, hard facts and, if needed, connect with one or more of the health & wellness experts she lists near the end of the article.
With stories about COVID-19, social justice issues, and the upcoming election continuing to fill the news cycle, it’s clear that there is a lot happening at once. It’s no surprise then, that Americans are feeling the impact on their mental health.
A recent survey from Total Brain found that 83% of women and 36% of men have experienced an increase in depressive moods since February. Other studies have shown that COVID-19 has caused more stress than 9/11 and the Great Depression. Findings like these clearly show that the pandemic has significantly added to our country’s ongoing mental health crisis.
While it is often challenging to find a silver lining in times of stress and uncertainty, one could say that the current state of things has finally forced us to have open and honest conversations about the importance of mental health and encouraging people to seek the help they need. We have all heard the phrase ‘It’s okay not to be okay’, but for the first time, it feels like we can finally admit that we are not okay.
As many people are returning to their offices, what role do companies and HR leaders play to help them feel that they have the tools and resources they need to feel supported? A first step is establishing a culture where employees feel safe and comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace. Going further, many companies are starting to explore how they can offer more mental health resources through their benefits programs.
It’s not just companies that are thinking about how they offer more mental health resources. Many schools and universities, such as Harvard are also exploring ways to improve on campus resources for students. More than that, we are also seeing organizations like Daybreak Health and HIMS launching new online tools that make counselling more accessible and take the stigma away from seeking help.
With COVID cases continuing to rise across the South and West, there is a strong possibility that many businesses will remain closed through the rest of the year, if not longer. Tech companies like Google and Amazon, for example, have stated that employees can work from home through the rest of this year and into 2021. If that happens, it’s likely to put additional stress on the emotional health and well-being of thousands, if not millions of American workers. That said, right now really is the time to emphasize that it’s okay not to be okay.
Even though we may be taking care of our mental health, it’s still easy to feel overwhelmed during the day. So, here are two things you can do anytime, anywhere to help you when you feel overwhelmed.
- Massachusetts based Clinical Social Worker Holly Boca tells clients to take 5 minutes and write down or think about a few things that bring them joy and then focus their attention on something from their list instead of the negative thoughts they feel to change their thought patterns when they feel anxious.
- New York City based trainer Sam Scaffidi says that in addition to coaching her clients through fitness-based workouts, she encourages them to take a few minutes to focus on deep breathing and breathwork as it’s something they can do any time, even in the middle of the workday as studies have shown doing so can help calm stress or anxiety.
As someone who has always been passionate about mental health, it gives me hope that we are finally talking about it openly. With the current uncertainty continuing, what are some of the ways that you are dealing with not being okay?