Mental health at work: “I make sure that I don’t get caught up in the stress vortex in the first place”
During Mental Health Awareness Month, Mister Spex would like to bring the topic of mental health further into focus and contribute to getting more people talking about it. Together with our partner OpenUp, we have therefore recorded a video to stimulate the discourse. In the interview with psychologist Eva from OpenUp, our Director of Customer Service Pamela talks openly and honestly about dealing with stress, her role as a leader and the challenges Customer Service faced during the Corona pandemic. But why is it so important to talk about Mental Health?
Studies and surveys show that stress-related illnesses such as burnout and depression are becoming more common and the costs for companies are rising as a result. One example: according to the 2019 German Federal Association of Company Health Insurance Funds (BKK) Health Report, mental illnesses remain the main reason for days of absence from work. They are responsible for almost every fifth day of absence, and the trend is rising. It is therefore even more important that companies actively support their employees to promote their mental health, OpenUp supports us in this. The partnership gives all Spexies free and direct access to certified psychologists.
You can watch the entire conversation between Eva and Pamela here:
A good working atmosphere, opportunities for personal development and a good work-life balance are factors that can have a positive impact on the well-being of employees. Pamela emphasises: “For my mental health, it is very important to me that I can shape things myself and that I am allowed to develop further. Both in combination bring me fun and mean success for me.”
A good social environment is also of great importance. Open conversations with people who have nothing to do with one’s job can help to relieve stress. “My social environment is very important. People with whom there is a lot of openness in conversations and with whom I can be who I am,” says Pamela. It’s also important to get away from everyday work: “For me, it’s important to be completely out of the job sometimes and not talk about the job all the time. That grounds me and jolts me into place.”
Another factor for a healthy work environment is a good team. “It’s important to me to have a great team, to get enough exercise and sleep, and to be able to laugh and not always take everything too seriously,” says Pamela. But not every employee feels stress in the same way. Pamela, for example, likes it when there is more to do from time to time and she feels challenged: “I don’t see every form of stress as bad by itself. I like it when things get busy at times and I feel like there’s adrenaline in my body and I’m focused,” Pamela explains.
“I tend to like to take on responsibility, and sometimes I overdo myself with it.”
However, too much stress can also have negative effects. “I tend to like to take on responsibility, and sometimes I overdo myself with it. On the one hand, I sometimes realise that I can’t do everything after all. On the other hand, I also notice that time can be tight to implement what I have set out to do,” Pamela admits.
In the past, Pamela herself has experienced what too much stress can lead to. “In my early years as a manager, I took on too much for long periods of time. I gave myself all the credit and then realised: I can’t do it. This also had physical consequences for me. At the end of my 20s, I had two hearing loss, and from then on, at the latest, I was very concerned with how I dealt with the issue of stress,” Pamela reports.
Especially in the current times, when many people work in home offices, the pitfalls and challenges are great. “Today I make sure that I don’t get into the stress vortex in the first place. Once I get into such a vortex, I have sleep problems, which in turn have a big impact on my concentration and my role as a leader.”
Her two pieces of advice, which are not only directed at younger leaders but also at all other colleagues: “Mistakes are something normal. You need them to move forward. Furthermore, it is important to take care of yourself. You should always balance your strengths well.”
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