On February 28th I took part in my first mental health focused event, where I was a speaker on the panel. I love attending learning opportunities around mental health and well-being, as I love to learn new ways to manage my thoughts and emotions, stay organized, support my team at work, all the things! Being part of the panel was really a special opportunity. I’d never shared my personal story in this type of setting with HR professionals. The session wasn’t recorded, as many panelists and attendees were vulnerable with their struggles and stories, but I wanted to share some of the notes I took as I prepared to be part of the event, and some of the thoughts I took away from the session. (P.S. Paul LaLonde and Tiffany Toussaint were on the panel with me, and Erich Kurschat was our amazing host/moderator. You should go connect with and follow all of them!)
What prompted this panel to even take place was hearing Paul speak on a video podcast, which prompted me to reflect and write my mental health toolkit blog post. Paul wanted to bring a group of us together to discuss further our personal mental health journeys and our workplace experiences – what we have experienced at work surrounding mental health and how to support our employees as HR professionals. It was such a great space to be in. In prepping for the event, I thought about the following things.
- I started therapy in February of 2022 and have been seeing my therapist weekly ever since. I can see after a year how much my thought processes and ways to care for myself and show up for myself have changed. I found her on BetterHelp! It may take multiple matches to find the person you feel comfortable with. Keep trying and don’t give up. ❤
- I wrote and published the mental health toolkit! I had never posted anything like this and I was proud of myself for getting it down “on paper” and posted. I hope it helps you too, and you can create your own mental health toolkit.
- Boundaries is always something I’ve struggled with. I’ll say yes when I really don’t want to, care too much about pleasing everyone, and then be burned out and unhappy. 2023 has been the year of creating boundaries and protecting my time and energy. I’m so happy with the improvement in this area. Say no so you can say yes more to the things that matter! The book of boundaries by Melissa Urban has been really helpful in how I learned to think about boundaries and communicate them.
- I’ve found an amazing support system with specific friends and coworkers who keep me accountable and check in with me when I share something I’m working on. Find someone you trust with sharing what you’re working on whether it’s building a new habit, limiting doom scrolling, etc. Check in with them when you need support and they’ll check in with you to see how things are going. I love being this friend for others too! (Speaking of coworkers – my friend since middle school and now coworker Joe Ray shared this LinkedIn post about tips that help him work through anxiety and I LOVE IT. Check it out here. Proud of you Joe!)
As an HR Manager / People Manager
- When someone who works for my company comes to me and wants to talk I first ask – do you need to vent? Do you want my advice/guidance with this? Do you want me to share resources with you that may help? Set the stage and understand first your role in the conversation. I like to give that space so I understand what that person needs. If something is shared that concerns you about their safety and wellbeing, let them know that, and discuss action steps/next steps.
- When I hired someone new to my team this year I showed them my calendar. Therapy is every Monday at 4 PM ET. I do not move it unless it’s an emergency. (and rarely anything is. That’s what I love about our team – we are trained to cover for each other and we jump in to help each other out when we need it.) I always work from home Monday afternoons to take that call. I encourage my team to block those activities and meetings for their health, and just let me know if they need coverage. Set the example.
- After 1:1 meetings with my team each week, after we discuss work and action items, I like to try and finish the meeting with a how are you/how’s life type of question. Are you looking forward to anything coming up? Is there anything I can support you with? I share what I have going on as well, and I love to share resources and links for events, webinars and articles we can learn tips and tricks from for balancing everything in life!
- I saw this quote from Self Space: If you expect employees to bring their whole selves to work, expect them to bring their shit too. Grief, anger, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, heartbreak… these aren’t “unproductive” emotions, they’re human.
Takeaways from the panel event and other resources
- Work and home life aren’t separate. There is no work life, there is no home life, there is only life.
- You can be sad, just don’t stay there. Emotions are like guests at the door. You can welcome them by answering the door, but you don’t have to invite them in to stay.
- Do not come to work if you aren’t emotionally well. It’s okay! Take a mental health break, do not show up to meetings or calls if you aren’t feeling well. You aren’t as effective, and the time is better spent tending to yourself. Communicate to your boss and team. It’s okay if you have to do this, I do it too.
- Dial 988 to reach the suicide and crisis help line and speak with someone today.
- BNHRA recently hosted an event on mental and behavioral wellbeing. Our speakers Tyler Zalucki and Kaela Blanks did a wonderful job sharing information on how to support ourselves as HR professionals, and support our employees and workplaces. You can see the recording on YouTube here.
- As a small business, you can secure an independent EAP (employee assistance program) without having a costly benefit plan. You can also piece together mental health resources that are cost effective. Reach out to Christie Engler, HR Expert for Small Businesses to learn more.
- Speaking it out and writing it out helps a lot of people to process their thoughts. Find a therapist, friend, journal, etc who you can “dump your bucket” with – what’s on your mind?
- Check out hope for the day on Instagram for mental health resources and inspiration.
I’ll leave you with this – your thoughts are SO powerful! I love Brooke Castillo’s self coaching model. Your circumstances, impact your thoughts, which produces your feelings, which generate actions, which cause results. If you change your thoughts, you change your results. You can learn more about her model here. Trust yourself and seek help if you need it. See you here on the blog again soon. Until next time, friend! ❤