May is the time that we focus on and celebrate our mental health.
But What Is Mental Health?
Mental Health is a state in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively, and is not overwhelmed by their responsibilities.
1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime and mental health disorders are among the leading cause of ill-health and disability world-wide.
It is important that as leaders and employers we manage mental health issues by reducing stress, lessening burnout and promoting a healthy and safe environment.
At April’s CSAE Trillium Volunteer Luncheon we looked at the issues around stress and strategies to boost our resiliency.
But What Should We Know About Burnout?
Burnout is a state of fatigue while feeling frustrated, overworked, and unappreciated. It occurs when a person persists with a way of life that doesn’t meet their expectations.
Being burned out and being stressed out are not the same thing. Many of us can tell when we are stressed out, but often, we cannot tell if we are burned out.
Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stress is often about too many pressures that need to be dealt with. Burnout is about feeling empty, lacking in motivation, and beyond caring. Employees experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of a positive change in their situation. Burnout may occur over a short period of time or it can take several years to manifest.
15 Danger Signs Burnout – see infographic
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Combatting Burnout and Celebrating Our Mental Health:
Slow Down. Take a break. Cut back whatever commitments and activities you can. Give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.
Change What You Can.
Talk To A Professional.
And Make A Plan. Part of the problem with burnout is the lack of control that’s associated with it.
Burnout can be a serious consequence of an unbalanced life and of an environment where the individual experiences little control and high demands.
Leaders and employers can help by ensuring a clear understanding of what the employee’s job is and is not, providing as much control as possible, ensuring that demands are realistic, and by recognizing the employee’s contributions and achievements.
Remember that fear and stigma still exist around mental health and mental illness and this prevents employees from seeking help from professionals or their workplace supporters. So, as a leader, you need to watch for changes that may be occurring among your team. Any significant change in the person’s verbal and/or non-verbal behaviour, attitude, or performance, warrants attention, as does any change involving persistent, specific and uncharacteristic signs that last more than two weeks. If you are not sure how to begin a conversation addressing mental health issues, check out this interactive course that uses the A.L.E.C. model for supportive conversations.
Looking for more ways to build your resiliency, take my free on-line vulnerability test at here under the resources and courses tab.
Written By Beverly Beuermann-King, CSP
Building Resiliency Through Stress and Wellness Strategies.
Stress and resiliency strategist, Beverly Beuermann-King, translates current research and best practices information into a realistic, accessible and more practical approach through her dynamic stress and wellness workshops, on-line stress and resiliency articles, books, e-briefs and media interviews.