Sophia Petrides: International Life Coach for Executives and acclaimed author – unlock your potential – Published on LinkedIn

It is important as we adapt to the uncertain times, we are living through with the coronavirus health crisis, that organizations do not let it overshadow other major health issues affecting the workplace, especially mental health issues.

Mental health is not simply referring to mental illness but the stress, anxiety and emotional problems that everyone has to face from time to time. These are universal, we all have bad weeks, rough days at work, relationship difficulties and low moods, but speaking out about them and asking for psychological support and empathy still carries a stigma in our society.

That stigma is costing lives, directly or indirectly, and has a huge impact on the global economy. Like any other public health issue – like public hygiene, obesity, cancer or addiction – mental health deserves attention and more investment and workplaces can play a central role in improving it.

The number of people with poor mental health will certainly increase from the effect of COVID19, in particular as these relate to financial pressures from loss of jobs, closure of businesses, pressures at home trying to balance work, home schooling, relationships etc., as well as the fear of infection or loss of relatives from the pandemic.

What can leaders do to fight this silent crisis within a workplace, especially during these adverse times?

Live Aware: build and retain mental resilience within your organisation:

  1. Self-awareness: prioritise your own mental and physical wellbeing. In addition to exercise, healthy nutrition and getting a good night’s sleep, incorporate a holistic approach in your daily routine such as breathing exercises, meditation and visualization. If you are not mentally and physically rested, you cannot lead with a clear and focused mindset.
  2. Support a good wellbeing approach with your team that would motivate a positive mindset and keep spirits high. Encourage teams to allocate time in their daily schedule to learn and do interesting things in their new home-working environment. This will also boost creativity!
  3. Encourage your teams to support community citizenship. I would also recommend introducing a cross-business/regional “buddy” system to enable employees to check in with each other, via WhatsApp perhaps (reduce zoom calls as this is creating new health issues). This will support positive internal engagement within the organization.

Live Values: Are you living your true authentic values and how are you prioritising values such as family, trust, empathy, compassion, kindness and openness during COVID-19?

  • Trust – employees appreciate openness, in particular listening to clear and consistent updates – does the tone of your messaging come across as authentic, kind, empathetic and compassionate?
  • Empathy and compassion – are deadlines realistic? Can your employees’ complete tasks timely? Do they need more support? Take into consideration that technology is slower and more challenging at home and the environment is not fit for purpose – seating not comfortable that may cause physical issues such as back pain, eye sight deterioration etc.

This year, during Mental Health Week, take a moment to look at your COVID-19 work through the lens of mental health awareness and consider how to address those issues that after the lockdown ends, will still need support and compassion. Find out more here…

As an Executive Leadership Coach with over 30+ years working within a corporate environment, I specialize in supporting executives and leaders to develop and strengthen soft skills that would support mental resilience within their organisation.

May I invite you to have a 15-minute call with me, to discuss how I can support you and your business, in particular during these challenging times.

My contact details are: