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Blog: Prioritising Mental Health at Work Post-pandemic


“Aside from the death toll, the pandemic has triggered significant emotional, physical, and economic problems around the world.” – PsychiatricTimes.com

The impact of the pandemic on our personal and emotional lives is yet to be fully comprehended, however, researchers are starting to get an idea of what ‘Post-COVID Stress Disorder’ might look like. Some have been on the front line and have experienced the trauma of overflowing hospitals first-hand, others have been exposed to social isolation, financial losses and burnout. Whatever each individual’s experience has been, few have escaped the pandemic unscathed.

As we all know, mental health can have a serious impact on performance at work. According to the WHO, depression and anxiety together cost the global economy approximately one trillion dollars annually – mainly due to lost productivity. Therefore, responding quickly to the mental health needs of our team and our own needs, can be seen as an investment.

The New York Times published a much-shared article entitled There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing in which author Adam Grant noticed that many people were not feeling good about 2021. Even though vaccines are being rolled out, lockdowns are easing and there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, people are still feeling unmotivated and lacking in positivity.

“It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”

Adam Grant, New York Times

Grant describes languishing as the neglected middle child of psychology; it’s not depression, which is at one end of the mental health spectrum, and it’s certainly not flourishing, which is at the other end of the spectrum, it’s the mild misery you find in the middle. It can be almost imperceptible; it can sneak up on us without us realising it and can be a steppingstone to the more debilitating anxiety and depression states.

Research has clearly shown that the pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health, leaving us feeling drained and, perhaps, languishing. The good news is there are steps we can take to rebuild our sense of wellbeing and cultivate ‘flourishing’.

  1. Bring awareness to what you’re feeling and name it, as best you can.
  2. Celebrate – the small wins and the big ones.
  3. Focus on small goals, rather than the big picture.
  4. Develop a gratitude practice.
  5. Actively create opportunities for meaningful connection.

Taking steps to support yourself and your team, from a mental health perspective, is a strategic priority important at the best of times, and even more so in a pandemic.

SKCI is happy to help, please book an introductory call with one of the team to talk further.

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