Women in Financial Services Blog

E2 Healthier: Mental health and the workplace

E2 Healthier: Mental health and the workplace

Katie.Dix / 15 Oct 2020

E2 Healthier: Mental health and the workplace

For last week’s coffee morning, we welcomed Sonia Minards to talk about mental health in the workplace. This has always been an important – if sometimes undervalued – topic, but it is even more essential now, as we all face the challenges of COVID-19.

Sonia spent 20 years as a senior corporate professional in large global financial services organisations before turning her lifelong interest in psychology into a new career as a counsellor and therapist.

As Sonia explained, one of the main difficulties for many people during the pandemic is that at some level they are either experiencing a degree of trauma from COVID-19 or anticipating it. For some, there is real grief having lost a loved one to the virus, but others face work or family challenges, lost jobs or furlough or just the difficulty of being stuck in one room for weeks on end.

There are three responses to trauma – fight, flight or freeze – but they sit in the limbic (or emotional) part of the brain and are meant to be used to respond to urgent threats. People can’t stay in this physiological state for extended periods and the result can be a rollercoaster of emotions, running from being full of manic energy to lacking all enthusiasm.

So, what can we do? We need to look after ourselves and other people. For those in management roles, it may seem easier to look after team members, but if you’re in this position, be careful not to burn out by doing too much. Remember that you need support as a manager as well, to give you a way to offload some of what you take on. This could be anything from a regular coffee morning with friends to something more structured offered by your company. Other managers may be finding it harder to cope if ‘soft’ skills aren’t one of their strengths, but in this case ask your employer for training and support.

Then, there is looking after ourselves. ‘Self-care’ may have had a different meaning for you before the pandemic, but if you can’t do what you used to, it’s important to rethink what will work for you. You need to find ideas that give you meaning, hope and connections with others – and there are still many options out there.

There was much more to the presentation and we’d encourage anyone who is interested to watch it on catch-up. Our usual question and answer session at the end isn’t part of the video as it went into areas that we felt were too personal to broadcast, though we know that many of the participants found it very helpful.

You can watch the recording below – or go here to be kept informed about future E2 Healthier sessions.

 

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