Most of us know what it’s like to feel tired, burnt out and sometimes even sick at the thought of going to work. As leaders and business owners, that’s definitely not how we want our employees to feel when coming to work with us. So how can we achieve emotional wellness in the workplace? It’s more than offering our employees extra breaks, it starts with really knowing our employees so we can give them the support they need.
“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.” – Greg Anderson
Emotional wellness is what makes us more stable. Imagine a workplace full of robots, how boring would that be? Our emotions are what makes people interesting and gives them the ability to provide us with unique solutions.
As a leader, by paying attention to someone’s emotions, you can have a better pulse on what is going on in your workplace. Is someone turning up their nose at an idea? Are they so passionate that they are working through their lunch breaks? These are indicators of how things are really going in your business.
Emotions also tell us when to give grace. If you can tell someone is having a bad day, you can adjust your business needs accordingly. Maybe you don’t push quite so hard to achieve a due date or maybe you give your employee an extra hand. If it weren’t for emotions, you wouldn’t be able to react and adapt.
The best activities to boost your emotional wellness are those activities that give you time to look within yourself. For some people, that might be a walk to get fresh air and for others, that may be hitting the gym during lunch to test your physical endurance.
Look for activities that help you get your head back in the game. The goal here is to invite your whole body to be present so you can clear your mind. Sometimes it’s as simple as physically shaking it off in an elevator when you’re feeling nervous before a meeting.
If we ignore our emotions, we are betraying ourselves. If we don’t find an outlet, our emotions pile up, creating a bigger impact in the long term that can lead to a breakdown or outburst.
Sometimes the way we show our emotions can be out of alignment with how we really feel. Like laughing when you get nervous. If how you express your emotions is out of alignment, have the self awareness to look for ways to get back into alignment.
One way to do this is by hiring a coach or therapist. In my personal experience with over 20 years in law enforcement, I realized that I had trained myself to hold everything in during tragic events. I had to disconnect when I got home, but it was bottling up my emotions and had desensitized part of myself. It started to affect my personal life. Hiring a coach helped me to create pathways to healthy ways to express myself instead of being stoic all the time. It also helped others connect more deeply with me.
Most of us think that we have to protect and hide our emotions at work, but the opposite is true. Being vulnerable at work helps people connect with your humanity. Sometimes people need you to cry with them sometimes. This creates psychological safety. People feel safe with you.
There’s a place for being vulnerable in the workplace and it’s powerful if you do it right. Being emotionally vulnerable makes the workplace healthier, not less.
Have you ever been so excited about a project that you skipped lunch or maybe pulled an all-nighter to get it done? When you’re excited, you become emotionally attached. Emotions are a source of our energy. They can either give us a powerful charge or drain us.
On the other hand, everyone has times when we are not okay. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create an environment where it’s okay to not be okay.
A client of mine recently shared an example of this. She was going through a rough time at home. Instead of sending her home, she and her coworker would go climb the stairs at work. Sometimes they made it a few stories, sometimes they sat and cried together. It was healthier for her to have that support in the workplace from her peers than to be breaking down at home. Because she received that support, she felt safety in the workplace and was able to overcome her rough patch faster.
How will you create a space for emotional wellness in your business?