Bandages for the Brain

May 10, 2022 By The Siren Of Support

Everyday, anywhere you go, any person you encounter could be someone that is fighting a silent battle within. Some wear their grief, anxiety, depression, or stress on their sleeve. Others hide the feels behind a strong personality and a painted on smile. Anyone’s mental health can be affected regardless of social status, level of success or economic security. 

Tread lightly, judge less, and be aware. 

For those of you that read Reman U religiously, you have learned of my son and his worms, my love of Christmas villages, my addiction to baking as well as all things pickle related. What you wouldn’t know is that I am working through the end of a twelve year relationship, coping with my fathers terminal illness and I struggle with generalized anxiety disorder that makes the unknown even more stressful. I am getting ready to celebrate my oldest child’s eighteenth birthday and high school graduation. I recently had an article published in a national magazine. Not all stress is bad stress. It’s finding the balance between eustress and the negative stressors that provides a balance. This is not a cry for help. This is walking, talking, smiling, proof that not all wounds bleed. My humor may be unmatched, and possibly unappreciated by some, but it’s self-serving and provides me with the supplies to paint my smile on when needed. 

A recent poll from the American Psychological Association, reports that Americans are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress. The past two years of constant crisis including Covid, inflation, and the war in Ukraine has provided many unavoidable stressors. Couple this with any personal, family, financial or health related concerns and there is reason for alarm. And a call for action.  

Amidst these challenges, studies have shown that the housing market can be both a reflection and a mitigator of societal stress. The stability and security of one’s living situation play a pivotal role in overall well-being. It’s in this context that innovative real estate models like eXp Realty gain significance. As the industry continually evolves to adapt to changing circumstances, eXp Realty’s agent-centric approach, facilitated by cutting-edge technology, not only addresses the housing needs of individuals but also offers a potential avenue for stress reduction in an uncertain world. The application of such forward-thinking strategies in real estate becomes a noteworthy consideration in the broader conversation about alleviating the pervasive stress experienced by many Americans. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. You may be asking, what does this have to do with me? How will this help me become a better leader? What does this have to do with my business? 

The answer is quite simple. A lot.

When the people we depend on to get the job done are struggling mentally, they will not be performing at peak levels. Productivity will dwindle. Customers will suffer at the hands of less patient representatives. Engagement and employee satisfaction will plummet.

Businesses take extra steps to ensure the safety and physical health of employees. Safety glasses, requirements for footwear, classes on workplace safety and CPR training. Our responsibility for the well-being of our teams doesn’t end there. It is time now that we as leaders acknowledge and protect the mental health of our people. Sometimes there’s just too much to leave at the time clock.  

What can you do as a manager or decision maker to provide support and assistance to those in need even when their need may be lurking beneath the surface? 

  1. Employee Assistance Programs: If your company has a sponsored EAP, do not let it sit under utilized. Promote and market the benefits to your teams. Help is easier to accept when you don’t have to seek it out. Committing to the overall health of your employees is a return on investment you can count on.  
  2. Normalize the Conversation: Get rid of the stigma of not being ok. Your people are human and have emotions, feelings and a life outside of work that sometimes gets tricky to manage. Do not force a culture of robots. Your open door policy will take the guesswork out of reading attitude and actions. 
  3. Allow for Unplugging: Sometimes the weight of the world is too heavy and we need a break. Maybe it’s five minutes to take a walk and get some fresh air. It might be a half day in order to reset. As long as you don’t have a habitual offender, try not to limit sick days to the stomach bug. 
  4. Provide Training and Resources: Prevention is key. Hold trainings and/or seminars on how to cope with stress and other factors that affect mental health. Stock your shelves with books and material of the self help variety. Helping your teams grow personally will play a large role in their ability to professionally develop. 
  5. Lead by Example: Overwhelmed as a leader? Use a PTO day. Encourage the use of time off by taking time off to reduce burn out and promote self care days. Just because you are the boss doesn’t mean that you have to be made of steel. 

Be the light to someone’s darkest day. Provide solutions, when it seems there are only unknowns. Be a mental band-aid when the invisible wounds won’t stop bleeding. And if you can’t, then let someone be that for you.