Are these heavy feelings getting you down?
It’s winter and I have that sinking feeling. The dreary rainy days are pulling me down. Come back all-day sunshine.
Lockdown was a year ago. How has a year gone by just like that?
Busy. Busy. busy. That’s my least favourite word behind ‘normal’ and ‘perfect’. These words no longer exist in my vocab. They make me cringe.
It is so easy to hit a wall or reach a point where you wonder:
- Can I keep going?
- Is it worth it?
- Will they even notice if I don’t turn up tomorrow?
- I could scream and yell, and no one would notice
- A day on the couch binge watching Netflix sounds really appealing right now
- Oh, that piece of chocolate is calling me right now
- Just another coffee and that will get me through the day
Any of these statements sound familiar? There are a few of my faves in that list. Mid-afternoon chocolate hit is the top one for me. I don’t drink coffee so it is the next best thing.
If you are having one of those days, chances are others in your team are too. The change of seasons tends have this affect on people.
I have blah days, where I am not feeling it. My kids have these kind of ‘blah days’ too. They just want to hang out on the couch, without the pressure of being somewhere at a certain time or following instructions. They just want to do their own thing. If I push them to get ready for school or daycare, they push back and sometimes bite.
Look around your team, who could be feeling this way today? What do you notice in their language or their behaviour? Is someone not being themselves lately?
Not sure what to look out for. Check out this video of those speaking from experience.
Now that you have watched the video and looked around the place, does anyone jump to you as needing a chat about what you are noticing? I have a habit of people watching and making up stories based on the behaviour I observe. Its good practice in some ways.
You notice Rob in the corner desk with his head in his hands. What do you do? Freeze or wander over and ask, ‘how is it going?’
Often, we choose to do nothing. It’s just easier that way. Less awkward. If we don’t know then we don’t have to do anything. After all you don’t want to pry. It could be personal stuff. Having the skills and confidence to navigate conversations about feelings and emotions can be tricky. It takes practice.
Initiating these types of conversations doesn’t come naturally to me. I have had to learn to slow down and really hold the space for the other person to open-up and keep talking. I find orchestrating a reason to take a walk while we chat helpful. That way I don’t get impatient and inadvertently cut the conversation short or get nervous about what I should say or the way I should ask questions.
When you are confronted with someone else’s problems and emotions, you may naturally want to take that burden away by solving the problem or offering up advice. Trouble is, you may end up carrying that burden for them and doing the work they should be doing. Once you have done this for a couple of people you might feel like you are carrying the world on your shoulders. This can be overwhelming and frustrating. It will only take one thing to go wrong and boom…..You crack.
So, what can you do to make navigating these tricky emotional waters easier?
Last month I had the pleasure of completing a Mental Health responders programme. 2 half days online practising those tricky conversations. It covered off how to introduce the topic of suicide and ask if someone is having suicidal thoughts. Yep. It’s hard core but given our stats in NZ for suicide, the more we do this the better we all are.
Training like this, I highly recommend for anyone who leads people and has conversations about personal matters that are affecting work. Or vice versa. After all no matter how hard we try, work doesn’t stay at work and home life doesn’t stay at home. At some point it spills over.
Not only does this training prepare you for those heavy conversations, the content is transferable and helpful for all sorts of difficult conversations that occur in the workplace.
The other tools to have in your kit, is a great support team. A group of people that you can trust and open–up to about what you have encountered and how it makes you feel. These people can help you process and provide advice on navigating your way through it.
My team is a mix of friends, family and colleagues. We chat over lunch, or wine or it’s the after-training breakfast. I also know that I have Vitae and InStep on hand to call up if it gets too much. These two organisations are fabulous at what they do. Their teams of counsellors and clinical psychologists are amazing.
For as little as $350 to $400, I can have 3 sessions and unload what is burdening me. For those I have referred, they come away feeling lighter and more aware of what is going on for them. It can be too easy to deflect and make it about everyone else.
Time to check in with yourself.
Need to know more?
Here are some great organisations and resources to have in your toolkit
Free online courses and resources that come highly regarded by Nigel Latta.
Check this out for free tests, resources and stories about depression and anxiety
A national network of counselling and critical incident support – remotely or on-site.
A national network of wellbeing specialists that cover counselling to drug and alcohol education and fit for work programmes
Offers online training on empathy, wellbeing and mental health support, as well as support to leaders having to undertake performance management of those with mental health challenges.
Locally based in Hamilton this social enterprise offers workshops and training on mental wellbeing, workplace bullying and stress