I'm taking a mental health day today. After experiencing several deaths of loved ones over the past year and the strains of growing two businesses, this past holiday was an overwhelming experience. I woke up this morning feeling like the little engine that just couldn't.
Don't get me wrong. My holiday was lovely and I recognize what a fortunate, privileged person I am for what I have, what I've been given, and the opportunities that have come my way. However, it's normal to sometimes just feel overwhelmed by life, especially when there are things out of our control and we are dealing with some circumstances which leave our hearts feeling heavy and our brains feeling blunted. Our emotions may be raging, whether we really feel them or not, and overall we may just feel numb. I frequently refer to this as a case of "ick." As in describing just how "icky" one feels.
I had a project today that wasn't urgent. I thought about pushing myself to get out there and do it, but I know that self-care is vital to being able to keep doing well. Our productivity, quality, and motivation suffer when we aren't at our best. If I want to keep delivering my best to my clients, I need to be physically and mentally able to do it. Today is not one of those days, and if I push myself, then the quality of my work may be even worse as the week wears on.
So, I texted my team this morning to let them know that I'm taking a mental health day and to remind them they are welcome to do that whenever they need to as well. As usual, the result was brief conversations where everyone offered a sense of vulnerability, compassion, encouragement for each other, and understanding. These things breed authenticity, which has been proven to help employees find a greater sense of meaning and engagement in the organization they are with. Additionally, it helps my team feel more connected to one another, which allows us to communicate in ways that promote free thinking and cohesiveness. In other words, we feel comfortable enough to say what we need to say to each other, and that frequently allows us to brainstorm some amazing improvements and enhancements to any job at hand. On top of that, being able to feel connected to teammates and enjoy being around them is a huge motivator for engaging at work. I'm thankful for a great group of people around me!