How to Handle Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

How do you know if you need a mental health day?

It was six months to the date that I had returned from maternity leave. What a whirlwind. The growth of my first child was outpacing my business. This was my thought as I looked out the window of our new office. Our team was growing. We were adding more buildings. New teams. New life. As I watched the sunrise on that January day I had an unabating urge to run back home. I didn’t want to go to my meetings. I was booked in back to back one on ones, usually my favorite day, but I just wasn’t feeling ready. What was going on? This is when I knew I needed a mental health day.

Letting your co-workers you’re not feeling well: how to present invisible illnesses

If your team is anything like mine, it’s hard to get your people to take necessary sick time when they have visible symptoms of illness. We’re a team of resilient individuals who like to push beyond our limits both in and outside of the workplace. When it’s flu season it’s easy enough to know when it’s time to work from home and it’s nothing a little friendly coaxing can’t fix to get people to stay home when they’re visibly sick. But what about the illness you can’t see? When I first started in my professional life we weren’t having conversations that were nuanced enough to make something like a ‘mental health’ day seem reasonable. Most people I knew would just book it under personal time and call it good. But as I learned, this isn’t good enough. How would my team know why I needed to take two days off after our business peaked for the third time that year? It takes a special kind of bravery to let your team know that you need time to re-focus and center yourself if you ever hope to hit an even higher stock value. Ultimately, the timing couldn’t have been better. My parents were taking a ski trip to Switzerland and this was the perfect chance to introduce my youngest to the snow. How did my team know I needed the time? They didn’t. But three months later as we drove business to a multi-million dollar valuation you can rest assured they don’t blink an eye when I take off for a few days to the mountains.

Leaning in, how to destigmatize mental health at work

If we ever hope to live in a world free from the stigma of mental illness we must feel comfortable taking the time that we need to re-energize ourselves. All too often I meet teams that are too afraid to be away from the office out of concern that they’re going to be missing something important but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of taking breaks to really re-evaluate what you love about your work. Besides, if there’s something urgent I’m sure the ski lodge gets good wi-fi 😉

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carin_lain

I'm Carin Lain and I believe leadership starts with me.

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