Look for the Helpers:
Boost Your Mental Health
There’s no question that for the average employee, COVID-19 has amplified all of our normal stressors. A pandemic greatly increases stress about baseline health: Will I and my family stay safe and healthy? When will an outbreak occur in my local area? It also creates situational stressors that become more concerning over time: How long will I have to work next to my partner and/or children? I live alone and am getting tired of the isolation – when will it be safe to return to the office?
On the business front, many organizations are in a period of transition as they continue to adapt to the current climate. Change is always accompanied by stress, but when things continue to rapidly change over months, employees can experience fatigue, wondering: Will my workday ever feel routine again? How do I increase productivity when my goals are always changing? How can I see the big picture again? Any way you slice it, these are stressful times for virtual employees.
Our first Meet the Helpers article highlighted organizations whose COVID-19 responses put their people and communities first. In this edition, we’re putting the focus on employees by spotlighting helpful tools, practices, and programs that encourage their mental well-being. Share these with your team, your manager, your colleagues, or simply put some of them into place yourself.
Open the Door for Communication.
What can you do to preserve sanity and relieve anxiety in your organization? First, know that you are not alone in whatever stress you are feeling. If you lead a team, share this message with them. Encourage your team to maintain their mental well-being and to reach out if they have questions or concerns. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation – a quick acknowledgement can go a long way in leaving the door open to employees to initiate further dialogue or support.
Make Time for Self-Care Learning and Habit-Building.
As with many health risks, we can tend to worry about others without first taking care of ourselves. Recognizing that you need to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others, make self-care a part of your routine. Even if you or your team members can only carve out 10 minutes, those 10 minutes can work wonders. Get started by exploring some of these tools:
- Calm is an app (and website) that offers free guided meditations, breathing sessions, soothing music and stories that help you sleep. With guided meditations as short as 90 seconds, you definitely have time for this.
- 10% Happier is an app (and website) that has guided meditations, interviews and podcasts all aimed at, you guessed it, making your life a little happier. They have a Coronavirus Sanity section that is free for all. Guided mediations average 10 minutes, and cover topics like “Self-Kindness for Stress,” “Accepting Discomfort,” and “How to Calm Down.”
- Tiny Habits is a website that focuses on improving your life through the creation of small habits. They have a ton of free webinars focused on dealing with the stress of COVID-19. With titles like “Tiny Habits for Parenting in Lockdown,” “Tiny Habits to Stop Touching Your Face,” and “Mood Boosting Tiny Habits Whilst in Lockdown,” it provides timely resources for building new habits. You can sign up for live webinars or review recordings of previous sessions.
Want more background information first? Check out this list of recommended reading:
- This Workplace Mental Health PDF offers a practical list of tips for maintaining mental health and well-being while working remotely during COVID-19.
- This article on Dealing with the Discomfort of Grief brought on by COVID-19 from the Harvard Business Review. HBR has made their COVID-19-related content free to all – this is one of many great articles available on the website.
- Visit the American Mental Wellness Association website to learn more about the four dimensions of health and how they impact each other.
- Learn how to Build Your Resilience during life-changing situations with this guide from the American Psychological Association.
Start the Conversation.
Ready to go a step further in supporting your employees? Several years ago, we launched an initiative within TiER1 called Start the Conversation, aimed at helping people recognize how common mental illness is and how it affects all of us. The program encourages people within our company to have the courage to talk to friends, family, and others about mental illness and recognize the prevalent role it plays in all of our lives. In addition to running the program internally at TiER1, we have since expanded to sharing Start the Conversation with other organizations. The content and tools are available to anyone who has a need or interest. Want to learn more? Reach out using the Let’s Talk form below.
Maintaining mental health during COVID-19 takes practice, but it’s worth every bit of the effort. We know that teams who take time to acknowledge and maintain their mental health are more likely to not only endure our current climate, but thrive, grow, and produce meaningful work.
Interested in connecting with our Start the Conversation team? Give us a call at (859) 415-1000 or send a message using the Let’s Talk form below.