These are uncertain times for us. Anxiety caused by the corona virus is rising daily. The lack of control and power is making some of us feel extremely vulnerable. Emotions are running high. We are worried about ourselves and our loved ones. We all know people who are particularly vulnerable and risk. Our physical health is at risk. But so is our mental health. But we can learn how to minimise the anxiety of the corona virus pandemic.
Are you looking for your place of work to become the environment where you have the most value? Are you attempting to get your emotional needs met at work? Is work taking up so much time and energy that you have no time for a life outside of the office? If this rings true for you, that it might be time to stand back and address your work-life balance. It might be time to explore how to make sure your life away from the office has as much meaning and value as possible.
Do you feel stuck? Are you doubting yourself? Why this is happening? The answer could be really simple: you might be stuck in certain, limiting ways of perceiving yourself and the world around you. Inflexible thinking is exhausting. It causes stress and anxiety. It results in black and white thinking where options are either very limited or simply not available. When we are stuck in in this mode of thinking, we are blocking ourselves from our real potential. Inflexible thinking can lead to anxiety, stress and depression.
My official title is Psychotherapist. But I also call myself a counsellor and a coach. And a question I hear regularly is: “Do I need a psychotherapist, a counsellor or a coach?” For some the idea of “psychotherapy” is frightening. It suggests mental illness. Or that there are mental health issues that need to be resolved and that it will be a lengthy, emotionally painful process. In my opinion, it does not need to be either. I see many clients who are living with depression or the impact of terrible traumas. But the style of psychotherapy I use aims to resolve these as quickly and as with as little emotional pain as possible.
But there are many others who give me a ring and come along to see me who are living healthy and, mostly, fulfilling lives. Why have they asked to see me?
If you are someone who is wondering what “self care” is or what you can do to take better care of yourself, I would suggest giving this book a read. In this book, Karin explains and guides you through what it means to take care of yourself. Our modern world can be tricky and yet she explains simple and practical strategies that you can start your new self care regime immediately.
In Part 1, I explained our basic emotional needs and our innate resources. I am now going to focus on major causes of workplace stress.
Firstly, it needs to be said that a bit of stress is good for us. Helpful stress is what stretches us; makes us strive and learn new things and feel exhilarated. Stretch normally happens when our needs are being met and our innate resources are being used and developed in a healthy way. It motivates us to perform at our best. But when that stress becomes overwhelming or constant and we never get the time to “rest and digest”, it becomes unhealthy and it can result in exhaustion or burnout. And the result of that is often mental and / or physical ill health.
In this first part of this series on Workplace Stress, I am going to explore the foundations of what we need in order to be emotionally and mentally healthy within the workplace. Over the next few blogs, I am going to show you how to recognise and prevent stress in the workplace.
We have all had times when the world becomes a little much for us. Mine was in my 20s when a severe bout of depression hit me. Back in those days it was called a “nervous breakdown”. Luckily that term is not used as much anymore. A “major depressive episode” would have been for more appropriate. “Episode” suggests it will be fleeting and temporary rather than something that is physically broken. A course of antidepressants and lithium followed and ultimately a 6-month course of psychotherapy. Although painful at the time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. By that point I was a teacher with a Psychology degree and a postgraduate qualification in Counselling. The irony did not pass me by. But what I learnt from it was invaluable. I was lucky that I ended up with a top quality therapist who helped me find my way through it.
I recently saw a 10-year-old boy who was struggling with his parents’ breakup. He was living with his mother and younger brother and had regular contact with his father over Skype. On the surface he was coping quite well and school mentioned that he was showing signs of acceptance but what they had noticed were moments of anger outbursts and a drop in his academic performance.