This time of year, shorter days, holiday demands and end-of-year obligations may drive how we feel, think and behave. As part of a small or medium-size business, there are unique stressors to deal with. There are year-end deadlines, and seasonal priorities, as well as family obligations. Your employees might also be going through twists and turns in their own mental health stories, exacerbated by all the demands that appear between October and January, coupled with the seasonal expectation of unwavering cheer.
When someone is struggling, it can show up in every aspect of their lives, including the workplace. However, when employees feel their mental health is being supported, they are less likely to miss work, and under perform. Supporting mental health, through this season and beyond, is beneficial across the board. The question then becomes, how can you offer that support?
Throughout the year, but especially during this season, we are told to “smile,” and “look at the bright side.” To someone who is struggling with a mental low, this may feel overwhelming, impossible or like their reality is being discounted. While it is certainly important to enjoy a moment, and appreciate the good, it is also okay not to be okay. Let’s normalize the fact that your employee might be feeling stretched thin and remove the stigma around not being able to “do it all.” Reassure them that they aren’t alone. We all have mental, physical and emotional limits. To expect perfection only causes further stress when truth fails to align with unreachable goals.
This time of year, our calendars fill up quickly with work and personal demands. As a business leader, you have a unique opportunity to BE the example for your employees. Don’t just say that people need to set boundaries—demonstrate it. Consider these examples: limit email correspondence to work hours, schedule paid time off to tackle your personal to-do list and think of how self-care plays into your holiday season. Action truly does speak louder than words. Give your employees the non-verbal permission they may need. Remember, the expectation is not perfection, it is pointed and directed action towards meaningful change.
By doing the above, you will hopefully begin to create a work environment in which employees feel safe and supported to care for their own mental health. Often, this includes outside tools and resources. Encourage your employees to get the professional support they deserve by sharing their available support options frequently. You never know, you may share with someone at the exact time they need it the most. These resources may include, but are not limited to:
We all have a mental health story. At a time of year when feelings of loneliness and isolation can prevail, why not highlight the community that already exists amongst your employees. Remind them that although our stories are not all the same, we are all doing the best we can, and that is okay. Happy holidays from TriNet and our community of colleagues.
Want more on mental health? Check out this previous blog on Mental Health in the Workplace. Contact us today if you have questions about TriNet-sponsored benefit offerings or any of our other HR services.
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