Updated: 7 days ago
An need for employees to know about and advocate for
As a psychologist and workshop facilitator who has met with so many for so long struggling with stress, anxiety, depression and an additional multitude of mental health issues relating to challenges at work, it is encouraging, and far overdue, to see trends contributing to human-centered changes and shifts within work places and spaces. We need to integrate wellness at work from how we do meetings to the environmental design of work space. Workplace wellness is best supported when employers, and even building landlords, "humanize business." In many cases, it means doing a full 180 degree shift in perspective and redefining what "work" is, how "productivity" really works, so people can be and feel at their best and satisfied in order to produce and contribute effectively. That's tough and things take time to change.
Brené Brown, Simon Sinek, Timothy Clark and Sesil Pir are some who have done and continue to do wonderful work around transforming business strategy through providing evidence-based information and effective practices (things that have been validly tested and shown to actually work) with humanness and relationships being the business drivers. In addition, there has been an interesting movement talking about "there is no work-life balance" which may be an interesting opportunity and perspective to explore including what "work-life balance" means for you. I share a precious gem which I heard from my brilliant husband which urges a nudge to perspective: we need to go from having to "cope with work" to instead "thrive at work." What a lovely cognitive shift which can incite positive nurturing for ourselves in the midst of difficulty.
If you're struggling at work with issues that you know are driven by poor leadership and ineffective policies, it is often said the most doable step is to look for what is within your control including healthy habits, healthy relationship building and good self-care. Having said that, there is now much more literature on how "self-care" is a mis-used term in the workplace where the organization puts the responsibility of workplace problems on the employee and dismisses actual systemic problems. Systems can actually hurt mental health and sabotage individual efforts. So, it's not all you. Systems themselves must change in order for people to actually be well at work.
For those who are feeling tired, frustrated, confused, fearful, distracted, stuck, or anything else that leaves you feeling drained of energy, hope and fulfillment regarding work and even life, I extend an invitation to look at another revolutionary who works at shifting the workplace. Fateme Banishoeib whose inspiring and refreshing work on inclusion and business leadership integrates and invites us to bring "heART" within the systems we work and live in, and for our ourselves, which are not separate. Fateme's work integrating poetry and art is a refreshing and welcome bit of work that can be added to the toolkit and inventory of stress relieving strategies alongside personal and professional development. (Image reference: Titled "For When Is Hard" from Fateme Banishoeib's Gallery, https://rnewb.com/messy-art-artworks)
We never heal, replenish or adjust in total 100% isolation. There is much we can do in solitude and there is much we can also do with others. Both self-care and social support can assist in lifting and alleviating disabling symptoms, in removing barriers to wellness, in nurturing your health, in recovery, and in sustaining your well being, especially when feeling stuck. Seeking support from a professional such as therapist and finding reputed resources is a natural sign of strength and problem-solving if you are struggling, suffering and if your regular strategies don't work or stop working.
As one exercise in self-care: learn more. Take a break and take the time to sit with a warm drink for 15 minutes. I know most of you are on your phones (wink nudge), so for your break to truly contribute to self-care, do a search on "workplace wellness" and psychological health and safety. Learn about updated work practices, current research, and organizations and communities doing cool things which engage wellness. Gaining knowledge can give you the confidence you need to make good decisions when it comes to work related issues, including how you might influence and what you can let go of.
In the meantime (and simultaneously), engage in good self-care strategies. In the midst of nutty busyness, take a pause, take stock of your self-care tool box and experiment safely with what works and acknowledge what does not work in order for you to feel relief and release. Getting support along the way and doing just one or two little things every day to truly caregive for you can make a big difference over the long haul.
Peace and well wishes on your journey