In our experience there is a problem in the workplace that is sometimes discussed but only conversationally and not with the intention of making real changes. It isn’t missed deadlines, late reports, or even a lack of employees. The problem is that we are not taking care of ourselves first and the result is a pandemic; no, not the one you are thinking of. It is the pandemic of poor mental health we keep hearing about in headlines. Organizational effectiveness suffers when our employee’s mental health is not a priority.

As leaders of organizations, a lot is placed on us to achieve results first, and if there is time leftover, perhaps you can saunter off to the elliptical for a few minutes while you check your email for the 800th time that hour. Or maybe, you’re trying to make time for self-care, but it’s manic and more of a stressor itself because now you have to make time to meditate, exercise, have a cup of coffee alone, have walking meetings so you’re not sitting too much, make one-on-one time with your kids to build connection, and pick up a hobby on top of all of your other responsibilities. Now, suddenly, self-care feels like piling onto your to do list and another chance at virtue signaling rather than actual self-care.

Pause and think about it for a moment: have you found yourself canceling happy hour with a friend because you have to finish that last slide on your presentation? Or perhaps asking your children to “hold on just one more minute” as they tug at your leg for attention. Maybe you are the manic self-care type and you sacrifice an hour of sleep to check off that you got in that workout and meal prepped while meditating.

While that may be painful to reflect on, it can be even more painful to not pay attention to what you need, actual real time for yourself. We get so busy at work and life, often in service to others, we rarely stop to think about the impact to ourselves. And as for manic self-care, you’re no better off trying to show to others that you are “doing all the things” when all you really need is to sleep a little bit more or spend time with friends and family. Either way, it will lead to burnout, and if you have ever experienced burnout, you know exactly what we are talking about. The kind of burnout that leaves you paralyzed and unable to help anyone.

What to do when there is so much that needs to get done (including manic self-care)! In Part 2 of this topic, we will share tips for how to include self-care without adding more to your list.

Stay tuned. . . to be continued. . .

Founded in 1987 in Santa Rosa, California, The Personnel Perspective a full-service HR management consulting firm specializing in human resources, leadership development and training, and recruiting is in its 35th year! The firm’s core belief is that a company achieves organizational effectiveness through its people. Contact us to learn more: (707)576-7653.