Wellness Wednesday: With changing times, wellness check-ins are needed

May 5, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

A few weeks ago for Wellness Wednesday, Headlines published an article on self-compassion. In this article, there was a poll asking how often you practice self-compassion. 

68% of respondents answered “Not as much as I should” and only 10% of respondents answered “Every day.” This data expressed an important need for wellness check-ins in order to fully understand mental health capacities. 

After all, life is a major balancing act and this past year has added many more variables to your everyday routine.

Now, more than ever before, wellness is a top priority for companies, schools and universities, organizations, families and individuals. Before recent years, wellness was not a popular subject in the workplace. Your well-being was simply ‘up to you.’ Now, there are teams, organizations and even office branches dedicated to research and raising awareness around wellness. This is certainly the case at Michigan Medicine.

Mental health is an important component of overall wellness, and mental health awareness has been on the rise over the past year. The CDC, news outlets, your favorite public figures and even Headlines have done a great job in sharing best practices on how to maintain a mental balance during the pandemic. 

While mental health looks different for everyone, it is critical to share resources and spread facts so an individual can figure out what works best for their life.

With May serving as Mental Health Awareness Month, today is as good of a time as any to share these valuable tools. Throughout the month of May, Headlines will share tips, stories, and resources in order to raise awareness and support our colleagues. 

Check-in with each other  

Wellness is often looked at as an individual initiative. However, relationships and communities play a major role in wellness. As a community, people can support and look out for one another in ways that promote a positive, healthy environment for all. . 

“Leaders and team members all play an important role in creating a wellness culture within a department or unit. When people feel cared for and valued, it fosters a collaborative environment, improves burnout and allows for a more positive atmosphere,” said Kathleen Robertson, Director of the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. “It is also important for leaders to reflect on their own well-being and take care of themselves so that they can lead with compassion.”

Leaders can acknowledge the many stressors of the past year and model well-being through actions that promote connectedness, purpose, and healthy coping and resources. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Click for larger image.

Here are a few things leaders can do to help staff:

  • Share the well-being check-in guide
  • Share resources from the burnout toolkit
  • Offer self-care time for staff
  • Encourage self-care opportunities outside of work, using PTO
  • Encourage staff to visit Recharge Rooms. With calm lighting, plants and visual effects, the Recharge Rooms are designed to help employees improve wellbeing. There are also opportunities for group debriefs. Share the start of your shift and end your shift workday guides.
    • Suggestion: Print these off and hang them in your common area(s)
    • Hand out to staff at meeting/huddles

Leaders often refrain from expressing their own stresses, burnout causes and other struggles. It’s important to remember that they, too, are human. 

A few things individuals and teams can do to help leaders:

  • Ask “How is your day going?” or “Is there anything I can help you with?”
  • Express gratitude by using the Michigan Medicine HR Recognition Tool
  • Do what you can to limit meetings or emails.
  • Let your leader know when you may be struggling. Ask for and accept help when needed. They may have some additional resources available, and they will have the opportunity to better understand concerns that impact your work. 

In the end, wellness and mental health is a shared responsibility and requires balance. If we help ourselves first, then we can effectively help each other. And that will make your personal life stronger, your work life more productive and your well-being as strong as it can possibly be. 

*All entries are anonymous

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