Addressing Burnout & Maintaining Mental Health

Awhile ago I posted about burnout indicating some of the symptoms of what is now officially noted as a disease. I have added to the piece by noting that the same self care aspects apply to maintaining strong mental health. Research indicates that the treatment recovery period for burnout and stress factors leading to a mental health concerns take anywhere from 6 weeks to 2 years with the average period being 6 to 9 months.

Following is a short list of strategies that address the conditions and promote well being:

  • Develop a list of self-care processes that may include journaling, meditation, massage, yoga, reading, music, mindfulness, stretching, tai chi, dancing, and breath techniques.
  • Assess weekly where you are at in following through on the strategies you have chosen.
  • Adjust your list as needed for the upcoming week.
  • Detect early signs of deteriorating health then do something about it.
  • Make a point of identifying what burnout looks like for you (anger, frustration, exhaustion, etc.).
  • When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help, delegate tasks, or reset priorities.

What other approaches do you know of to recover?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Endurance Needed Now

A definition of endurance – is the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions. This period of uncertainty is currently challenging the economic and social frameworks that most people, whatever their line of work, are familiar with.

At this juncture many companies are in the process of streamlining their operational activities. That includes closures of facilities including another round of workers receiving lay off notices or reduced hours of work. The salaries of workers are also being cut.

As the present situation continues to unfold – endurance is an absolute necessity. Now is the time to continue to preserve through the adverse conditions.

 It is the time when staying power is required to sort through the remnants of what remains as building blocks for what is emerging and has yet to become apparent. It is the time when individuals and the general society in which we live must gather our collective strength and continue despite the fatigue, stress, and ever-present uncertainty.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Canada’s Labour Force Survey for January 2021

The highlights of the report include a drop in part time employment during January 2021. Young people between the ages of 15 – 24 were impacted (-10.2%). Women between the ages of 25 – 54 (-10.4 %) were also impacted.

Numbers of Canadians working at home increased from 5.1 during April of 2020 to 5.4 million in January 2021. The increase in work from home numbers is largely due to restrictions in Ontario and Quebec.

Labour market underutilization rate continues to increase in Canada. This rate reflects the proportion of people in the potential labour force who are unemployed; want a job but have not looked for one; or are employed but working less than half of their usual hours for reasons likely related to current restrictions.

The impact on women as a result of restrictions in the retail and food service sector is pronounced. Current restrictions continue to impact those who need the work the most.

The full report is available at Statistics Canada.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Assets of Contract Workers during Periods of Volatility

Many business leaders are grappling with the volatility that suggests a growing condition for the foreseeable future. As the trend grows it brings with it the unknown and uncertainty. Contractors are an asset in that they have a fresh perspective, are not tied to a particular outcome, and have the skills necessary to turn a strained or conflicted situation into an operational success.

Fresh Perspective – A contract person has fewer inhibitions and is more likely to propose a series of solutions that are outside of the past business behavior.

Focusing on an Outcome that Delivers – The contractor is focused on having processes being delivered consistently.

Addressing Strain and Conflict – From an outsider perceptive conflict and strain are easily identifiable.  Once identified working solutions can be implemented in relatively short order. 

Contractors are a beneficial investment of time and resources especially in relation to the challenges of ongoing change. The true value of a business is the people who work in it. Shorter term contractors provide invaluable assistance in addressing current and future volatility.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

“Blue” Monday Turns into a “Blue” Week

Many HR professionals describe the 3rd Monday in January as the gloomiest day of the year.  The January slump seems to be in place and it takes more than a day to get over it.  Typically productivity in most office situations slows down in December.  That tends to run over into January. Top that with WFH strategies and increasing feelings of isolation and anxiety by employees – the time to ensure a proactive approach to counteract this Blue Monday is now.

Provide a psychological boost for employees check and have face time with all people that you manage.  Schedule it in now and start connecting today. Implement wholistic wellbeing programs to counteract feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression, and isolation.

Clearly it is a matter of taking a different approach from the usual day-to-day operations.  What have you tried in your business that has worked?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Are you Helping Your Employees WFH?

Following are some key suggestions to provide the best possible assistance to those employees that are WFH:

  • Have an EAP service in place as the overall picture for employees experiencing stress and financial hardship continues to rise.
  • Appreciate and thank your employees frequently and reach out to touch base with each individual consistently.
  • Give up trying to micromanage – it is destructive to you and the employee.
  • Another aspect to give up is putting a positive spin on the current situation and circumstance. Allow your employees to vent safely – build the trust factor with each person.

What other strategies have you utilized to assist those employees that are WFH?

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

7 Leadership Qualities – Which Ones are your Strong Suits?

Top 7 qualities of those on the cutting edge of leadership in business that come to mind are:

  • Confidence – You need confidence meaning that you give off a vibe of assured expectation, and self-reliance as you are in a position of having to make crucial decisions that will likely be far from popular.  Belief in yourself and the outcome you are creating is essential to leadership.
  • Transparency – Engaging people requires that you make visible all of the parts of the process being undertaken.  Leaving parts out of the equation does not serve the longer-term process and costs you as a leader in terms of trust.  It may also diminish your value in the eyes of the people you are leading.
  • Integrity – The people that work for you and with you have a good sense of who you are and of the core characteristics you possess.  A lack of considering the wholeness or soundness of your decisions puts you in danger of not having integrity.  Take the time to consult with others that work for you before making a decision.  Being unpopular is something you are able to recover from.  Being known as lacking in integrity may not be.
  • Inspiration – Inspiring those around requires that you yourself be inspired by the work you are engaged in.  As a leader it is incumbent that you inspire those around you by your words and actions.  By being inspired you set the tone for others to be open to inspiration. That may lead to potential new ways of looking at or doing things.
  • Passion – The drive to see a project or initiative through to completion needs to be filled with that strong enthusiasm known as passion to get through it.  As with any process there are delays, communication mishaps, and missed steps that require correction.  Passion adds the fuel to correct the mishaps and achieve the desired completion.
  • Innovation – Looking at the big picture and seeing it from a different perspective is the hallmark of innovation.  As a leader you have the ability to change the scope and direction of the work you are involved with by taking a different point of view and implementing changes that enhance the product or service delivery.
  • Patience – Calm self-possession while unfolding a project or initiative is essential.  A lack of patience usually sets a whole gamut of factors into play that cause unnecessary upheaval and delay.  Having patience and generating excitement are necessary to having a relatively calm process.  Every leader knows that high drama is disruptive and unnecessary.  As a leader being calm and displaying patience is truly a virtue.

Which of the above leadership qualities do you possess?  My wheelhouse needs support in the innovation and patience areas.  The good news is that as a leader I am a work in progress and with each project I have the opportunity to hone and improve my skillset.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant,

Support Local – Retail Stores

Online shopping is wonderful and most people have some level of engagement with it. Bricks and Mortar Retail Stores – especially those selling speciality or one of a kind retail products need our support now to stay in business.

Check out the local retail shops on Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon, or in the Cathedral area of Regina. Support a local bookstore – or a Crystal and Rock Shop. Buy that one-of-a kind piece of jewellery from a local craftsperson. Check out the craft beer facility or local distillery in your area. Step out of your comfort zone and buy that unique and personal gift for someone.

Check out local online listings for small retails in your area and then take the action to purchase something from them.

Supporting local is crucial right now and you are encouraged to do your part.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Transformational Consultant –

Support Local – Personal Services

Supporting providers of personal services is of key importance right now. Your barber, hair stylist, registered massage therapist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncturist, osteopath, and the many other types of personal services that you have or would like to utilize are counting your support.

This is especially so for those who are still working. As for those that are not – it may be time to purchase a personal service for that friend or family member who has lost their job.

For a listing of various service providers check the provincial associations for practitioners who live in your area. Many of the services mentioned such as registered massage therapists or chiropractors may be covered in part through your benefit plan at work or through supplemental benefit plans that you may have purchased.

Supporting local is crucial right now and you are encouraged to do your part.

Marie-Helene Sakowski, Business Consultant – Change & Transition,