DISCLAIMER: We are sharing common problems our clients experience. BespokeHR are not mental health or medical practitioners and any advice provided in these blogs do not take away the requirement to seek professional advice where required, and advise to seek further assistance via the links to resources at the end of this blog.
You’re in the driving seat. You call the shots. People rely on you to lead them in the direction they need to go and you are balancing competing priorities, deadlines and doubts.
You’re noticing lapses in your concentration.
You can’t switch your mind off.
You’re not sleeping at night.
What happens when you’re experiencing a decline in your mental health?
Over the last three weeks, we’ve covered the topic of mental health, particularly for workers.
However if it’s you – the leader of the business that’s suffering, know you are not alone. Mental Health issues hit everybody at all levels from all walks of life.
Here are four things you can do if you’re the one that’s experiencing mental health challenges.
Don’t keep it to yourself. It’s common for leaders to feel like they need to “stay strong” and soldier on alone to keep the rest of the team going.
However, mental health is not a matter of strength or flaw of character. It’s an illness and is often treatable with the right support.
Find someone you can trust to speak about what you’re experiencing and in particular how it may be impacting on your work. This could be a professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, a coach and/or your support network of friends/colleagues. The ‘circle’ you surround yourself with will be critical in helping you through ups and downs.
Whether that person be a spouse, a trusted friend or mentor, having a conversation may take some pressure of feeling like you’re doing things alone.
High workloads, stressful situations and tight deadlines are all common things business owners face on a day-to-day basis.
When mental health is suffering, working or “grinding” through it, can actually exacerbate symptoms, and result in lowered productivity, concentration and increase stress.
Take a break, and seek professional help.
Clearing a time to switch off from everything may seem counterintuitive to the high workloads and deadlines, however where you can, switch off your phone, get out in nature, change your environment, increase your exercise, focus on sleep and give yourself the mental space to breathe you will be surprised at the clarity it can bring you.
When your health is at jeopardy, it’s important to put it at the forefront of what you’re currently doing, so it doesn’t continue to worsen by ignoring it.
In a range of studies, a minimum of 30 minutes of daily vigorous exercise has been proven to be as efficient on depression and anxiety as antidepressant administering.
According to The Black Dog Institute, regular exercise can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression by increasing energy levels, improving sleep, distracting from worries and rumination, providing social support and reducing loneliness if exercise is done with other people, increasing a sense of control and self-esteem, by allowing people to take an active role in their own wellbeing.
Put aside an hour a day that is your time to move, meditate, journal, or see a psychologist.
What you focus on expands, so if you’re wanting to improve your mental health, you’re going to need to focus time on wellbeing strategies and treatment.
Brene’ Brown talks about the power of vulnerability here. It’s okay to not be okay. Having a conversation with your staff may empower them to take action on their mental health too and identify early signs.
We encourage you to have a conversation about your mental health, and make it okay to speak about challenges in the workplace openly.
If workers and staff see their leaders and managers demonstrating care for their mental health, and taking action on seeing a professional, prioritising their health and working on developing a plan to keep them healthy, they are more likely to also follow your lead.
For more information and resources see below:
Lifeline: Ph: 13 11 14 W: www.lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue: Ph: 1300 22 4636 W: www.beyondblue.org.au
The Black Dog Institute: W: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
Safework SA Mental Health Resources: W: www.safework.sa.gov.au/health-safety/health-wellbeing
Mental Health Emergency Line: Ph. 13 14 65 or in case of an emergency requiring immediate assistance, call 000