Supporting Workplace Mental Health In Uncertain Times
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, our news headlines have been dominated by the war and the resulting refugee crisis. People in Poland and all over the world have offered their support, either directly - through organizing transport for refugees and finding them accommodation, or via donations of money, food or clothing. The situation has affected every one of us to some degree, and following two years of a worldwide pandemic, some of us may find ourselves in a fragile mental state. It’s never been more important to look out for our mutual mental health.
At 10Clouds, we’re working with Wellbee, a platform which provides access to therapists both on-and offline. They cover a range of specializations, and speak a number of languages.
Based on the advice of Monika Dąbrowska, a TSR therapist from Wellbee, and our own experience, we wanted to share the emotions that some of us may be going through and offer guidance on how we can support one another’s mental wellbeing in uncertain times.
A need to disconnect
With the daily update on the war, and the ongoing negative news, some people have found the need to disconnect. They might find themselves operating in a kind of frozen state, which although frightening, is very normal. It’s a human response which enables survival in an emergency. What happens is that the body simply "turns us off" for some time, so that we can gather our inner strength to deal with what’s happening.
What can we do? There’s nothing wrong with disconnecting from the news. In fact - it may be helpful in many ways, particularly if we know that fresh information can be a trigger for us. But if we find ourselves withdrawing from our daily tasks, it’s time to address the issue and speak to someone we can trust about our emotions.
Some people, when informed about the war in Ukraine, the international threat and potential economic consequences, began to act in a certain way. This might include organizing a safe place, withdrawing money from the bank, stocking up food and fuel. These reactions may not have been an adequate response to the actual threat, they were responsible for the internal experiences caused, among others, by catastrophic thinking.
A strong belief about the threat to life, loss of security and freedom can trigger a very strong bodily reaction aimed at ensuring survival. The stronger the sense of threat, the stronger the need for control may be - because it is in the sense of control that we build our sense of security. Another manifestation of the narrow field of attention may be the constant tracking of news in all available news channels. This is also due to the need for control, as well as the fear that we will miss some important information, which will prevent us from acting in time.
What can we do? It is worth considering to what extent this behavior is actually necessary and helpful, and to what extent it only results in the feeling of constant tension. If the latter, it’s worth taking a step back and reconsidering our actions.
Remember that we need concrete, factual information to build a sense of security and control. Keeping constant track of the news can be as overwhelming as cutting yourself off completely and experiencing a situation based on your own ideas.
A need to act
When the war broke out, some people immediately began to look for opportunities to help. As mentioned above, our colleagues have been helping directly with refugee transport and accommodation, and have been organizing fundraisers. Such help is very much needed. But we should remember that we won’t be of use to others if we don’t look after ourselves.
What can we do? It’s worth remembering that when we are in action, we also need to stop sometimes. We need to catch our breath, check our own frame of mind and our energy levels. Such a pause will help us consciously plan and take further steps.
It is only natural for us to feel guilty in the present situation and we might often feel the sense that we should be doing more. It is worth remembering that often we are not able to help everyone, and certainly not in the way we would like to. Sometimes it can also be beyond our strength or ability.
What can we do? Engaging in activities that have an impact can be what will help us get through difficult times. Think about activities that might work for you. Paradoxically, they don’t need to be linked to the present situation in any way. It could be something that is only significant to you.
Feeling moderate anxiety and not having strong emotional responses can also make you feel guilty. It is worth remembering that automatic responses to the current situation do not have to be extreme - emotions during wartime cover the entire spectrum.
What can you do? Understand that emotions vary. It would be disturbing to take the position that nothing is happening at the moment - this could indicate some detachment from reality. On the other hand, accepting a situation as it is, without experiencing extreme emotions, is a completely adequate response to what is happening now. You have the right to feel a little anxious and at the same time be involved in what you have done so far. There are no worse or better reactions here.
Crisis situations are associated with the fact that we may experience mood swings, our well-being may be changeable. After you regain your relative balance for a while, a worse moment may arise again. It is a natural dynamic of experiencing a crisis event - especially one whose endpoint is unknown to us.
10Clouds is working with Wellbee
At 10Clouds, we're working with Wellbee to provide mental health support for all our staff. We want to make sure that we all have access to a trusted person with whom we can discuss our thoughts, feelings and worries.
Wellbee provides us with:
- A range of trained and certified therapists with many different specializations
- In-person or online therapy sessions
- The ability to hold therapy sessions in a range of different languages.
Looking for emotional support for yourself, your employees or your colleagues?
Visit Wellbee.pl today to find out how you can access help.