Not a day goes by that we don’t hear the word resilience mentioned in some context. So what is it? Often it’s linked to the concept of recovering or bouncing back from setbacks. You might think of people going through incredible hardship and coming out the other side, or athletes going through an injury and coming back to compete.
While I certainly think this is part of the definition, I also find it a bit narrow. We all know life has ups and downs, and for some these are more extreme than for others.
Back in November 2019 I attended the Women in Tech Regatta and was inspired by several of the talks I attended. One of them was around “Integrating career and parenthood” and as I was sitting there, I felt that it touched upon some of the tensions we face in the workplace when battling with our mental health regardless of whether we are parents or not.
This got me thinking of the work-life balance again, and how we can create work environments that are favourable to managing the different roles we have in life.
There’s a lot of information out there about burnout, but have you ever stopped to think about what it really means? What is the message being sent to you from your mind and body when you burn out?
We can talk a lot about the circumstances that lead to burnout and in fact it’s easy to blame others, particularly employers. They overwork us, they don’t see us for who we are, etc. etc. But let’s take a step back and ask ourselves what the burnout was trying to tell us. This is something we don’t talk about so often, and yet it’s crucial if we want to be better able to understand and prevent burnout.
With the ushering in of a new decade, naturally I started thinking about what I had accomplished in the past 10 years. There were many different things and it seemed more sensible to break it down into categories, which is when I thought of the last decade purely in terms of mental health.
What happened, and what has it represented to me? I wanted to take the time to reflect and put “pen to paper”. After all, “That’s mental” wasn’t born out of thin air.
Welcome to my new blog and platform, “That’s mental”.
For those of you who may not know, the name is a play on words. Often people will say “That’s mental!!” and it can either mean really cool or super crazy and weird… I chose it because I like the fact that it can be both, and of course the reference to “mental” for “mental health”.
Or should I say, the last time I burnt out. I really hope it was the last but you never know, these things creep up on you… Nevertheless, I’d like to share the story with you and I took to video again to do so.
Once again, it was the the usual “end of year breakdown”. Sad that’s actually a thing, but it was. And I’m sure many of you can relate, in most industries Q4 is pretty intense.
In October 2019 I attended the Women in Tech regatta, and was super excited to take part in 2 very interesting panels that inspired me to write.
One of those was called “Hiding in the bathroom: emotions in the workplace and how to manage them”. It was moderated by the wonderful Lara Manqui and included other people whose work I already enjoy following such as Vivian Acquah and Kevin Groen.
Call me crazy, but it was only during this panel that the penny dropped: holy shit! Emotions in the workplace are so connected to our mental health. How have I not talked about this before?
Editor’s note: at the end of September, I attended a talk run by Creative Mornings Amsterdam where Alex spoke on the topic “Muse”. He ended up talking quite a bit about mental health and I was really inspired by his presentation. Afterwards, I decided to ask him if he’d be willing to contribute to my blog, and you can see his thoughts below.
As some of you may know, when I’m not sitting behind a desk as a marketeer or communications professional, I’m most likely to be found dancing. It’s my number one passion, and a huge part of my identity.
Over the past year I have gone through a journey, developing as a dancer. I started to realize a lot of the mental barriers I had, and codes that had been passed on to me over the years that were holding me back. A lot of this has got me thinking about how mental health relates to dance or vice versa, and I wanted to share this journey as I think people will be able to relate.
Today on the blog, another real life mental health story. This time from yours truly. ☺️ For a while now I’ve been wanting to talk about the bigger picture of my journey with mental health, not just my most recent experience.
Of course, my most recent experience (starting in 2012) is what triggered this blog and turned me into a mental health advocate. But if I look back, the truth is I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for as long as I can remember. It’s important that we realize how present mental health is in our lives, and that issues could have been there before we even developed awareness of them.
In previous blog posts or videos, I’ve talked a bit about a toxic work environment. And while I worked at Impraise, I got to study a lot about what makes a good company culture. Yet it only occurred to me not so long ago that there is more than one type of negative or toxic work environment, which is what I’d like to talk about today.
I used to believe that a toxic work environment was the classic “Devil wears Prada” or “Horrible bosses”: people getting yelled at, intimidated, and whole bunch of fear tactics.
In my last two blog posts I’ve been talking about our relationship with work and how it affects our mental health. Generally speaking, the workplace has a huge impact on us – including our mental health. Working in a negative environment can be really detrimental. If everyone around you is demotivated or unhappy in their jobs, or if everyone is extremely stressed… no matter what it is, it will affect you.
In a previous blog post I talked about how we define success at work, and the impact this can have on our mental health. It’s a long and complex topic which could be debated for hours, but I think it’s super important to take a closer look at it and ask ourselves some hard questions.
The truth is, burnout and other mental health issues can be induced by toxic workplaces and other problems that stem from the employer, but sometimes we also bring it upon ourselves. That’s why today I want to take a closer look at the concept of being “busy as a badge of honor”, and what this does for our mental health.