Business leaders’ mental health at risk as second wave approaches

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A staggering 78% of executives had poor mental health when COVID hit. Experts warn of impending stricter restrictions that could spark a second wave

According to Bupa Global’s Executive Wellbeing Index, more than three quarters of executives have poor mental health due to the pandemic. With the threat of a second wave on the horizon and the already tightened restrictions, there are fears that heads of state and government will suffer again.

The biggest concern in the minds of executives? The economy – less than half are optimistic about the nation’s recovery. Confidence also fluctuates, with the UK level being among the lowest in the studies. During the initial lockdown, restricted personal freedoms took a toll on mental health, leading to reports of fatigue, low motivation and insomnia. With local locking in place, there are concerns that these issues will recur.

Perhaps the most worrying statistic from the Bupa Global Index, however, is the fact that 32% of executives delayed seeking help. 31% say they have a hard time talking about their mental health.

Dr. Luke James, Medical Director of Bupa Global, points out the importance of realizing what can happen when a second lockdown is initiated and the importance of early diagnosis.

“Regardless of the outlook, one thing is certain: when the economy struggles, we’re more likely to struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. And with the risk of a second lockdown, mental health could also deteriorate.

“Recognizing this, taking steps to support your emotional wellbeing, and addressing issues as quickly as possible is key to addressing these challenges, as early diagnosis and treatment for mental health can have a positive impact on prognosis.”

What can leaders do?

If you are a leader, you are undoubtedly feeling the pressure right now. The choices you are asking for are different from the ones we saw before. Remember, there is no blueprint for this. You may think your priority is with the company and your team, but the reality is that your priority should be your own wellbeing.

When you take care of yourself you are in the best possible position to make informed decisions and lead your team / company in the right direction. Here are some ways to prioritize your wellbeing and read helpful articles:

Take action when you feel hopeless

There are certain things in this pandemic that we just cannot control, and the nation’s economic recovery largely falls into that category. What you can control is your response to this uncertainty and feeling of hopelessness.

Our article on what to do when you feel hopeless offers some ideas to take action when you feel hopeless and regain control.

Meet wherever you are

We may all experience the same storm, but we are certainly not all in the same boat. Try not to compare your reactions with those of others, but meet where you are. In our article on How to Use Your Time Smartly During the Pandemic, we outline a few scenarios, including redundancy, and share the steps you can take to deal with it anywhere.

Regain control and build trust

It’s no surprise that many of us are struggling with our confidence right now. We’ve all pulled the rug out from under our feet, so it’s no wonder we’re losing our footing. When it comes to building trust, taking back controls and reformulating your self-talk are important first steps.

In his article How to Regain Confidence After Anxiety, life coach Will Aylward explains how living with high anxiety can affect self-confidence and ways you can slowly rebuild it.

Practice self-care

Throughout all of this, we need to remember that our bodies and minds are more enduring than usual in terms of stress and anxiety. To avoid or de-escalate mental health problems, you should be more rigorous in your self-care practice.

Counselor Billie Dunlevy shares her tips for maintaining your mental health this fall and discusses various ideas, from the outdoors and good food to monitoring your messaging and connecting with others. Remember, self care is about what works best for you. So take your time and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Talk about mental health

We understand that as a leader, admitting that you need help can be difficult. Try to look at it this way: by seeking support, you are not only being proactive about your sanity, making sure you are there for your team, but you are setting an example for others to follow.

Writer Fiona Thomas shares her advice on talking about mental health at work, including setting boundaries and thinking about what you need to be successful. If you need a little help talking about mental health, these three tools might come in handy.

When you realize the need for professional assistance, you know that there are many options available. We have listed a variety of places where you can get support, including mental health support, coaching, and listening.

To help educate yourself and your company about the importance of mental health and spot signs that your coworkers may be having problems, consider getting mental health first aid training.

If you are looking for a counselor to help you manage your mental health, visit the Counseling Directory. We are confident that with thousands of therapists working remotely, you will find the right support for you.

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