Just because restrictions are easing up doesn’t mean we are…
We are beginning to shed the social isolation of last year. Now it is time to assess how we are feeling and prepare ourselves for the new world order.
This new world order will look different for everyone, but for many of us, progress is getting back to pre-pandemic routines: Reconnecting with each other, resuming the activities that make us happy, and returning to the office.
I see this time as an opportunity, a catalyst for positive change. This is a chance to reappraise how we think and feel about ourselves and interact with each other. Over the last year, I’ve seen more willingness to discuss, understand, and address mental wellness. At HG Insights we have tried to gently nudge this discussion along. Slowly, the conversation has become a little more open and acceptable.
Now, celebrities are opening up about their experiences with mental illness and bringing the conversation to the forefront. Even the White House is chiming in. Quizzes and tools are all around us to test our mental health, but ultimately the only way to really know is to think about how we, ourselves, are feeling.
And that’s more important than ever. This is exactly the shift in society we need to minimize stigma and look out for each other. We’re all going through a lot… but there are a few things that many of us are going through together:
Anxiety About Returning To “Normal” Life
We have all done our best to maintain a semblance of normalcy over the last year.
At HG Insights, we tried to stay connected however possible. For example, hosting Lunch and Learn sessions on Zoom for all employees. This month, in honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we hosted Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara to hear about their work on mental health in our county.
Now, we are slowly getting back into the swing of things with distanced lunches and outdoor activities like paddleboarding and beach clean-ups. These are just some of the ways we are getting back to our old lives, but there are more tips and tricks than ever to get us out of the covid cocoon, including:
- Eating healthy
- The link between behavioral health and diet has been “virtually ignored,” but it is one of the most important things for mental health. Take notice of your eating habits—changes in diet can shed some insight into your wellness.
- Anything will help. Not everybody needs to be a triathlete or benchpress 100 pounds. From stretches in your seat to jogging, hiking, or cycling, exercise has a positive effect on mental health. Trust me on this one. I would not be able to manage the demands of the office and home life without setting aside time to get outside and be active every day.
- Sleeping habits are directly linked to mental wellness. Ask yourself: How are you sleeping? Do you wake up with tension in your muscles? Are you grinding your teeth? These can be subtle signs of anxiety, and should be addressed as soon as possible!
These are tricks you can bring back into the office, but that doesn’t mean you’re entirely ready to return. It’s natural to have questions about going back to the office. To help overcome any hesitancy around returning, check in with your coworkers. Ask them how they are feeling. Make sure your team feels supported, this is directly linked to an increase in wellbeing.
If resuming social interactions feels daunting, don’t worry! You can wade back into the waters on a small scale. Social interaction may be different at first. Don’t forget that you, like most of us, have changed over the year.
Social skills are, after all, skills!
On my team, we’re doing everything we can to make the return to the office as smooth as possible. We have entirely redesigned, re-equipped and refreshed our headquarters… and we have upgraded our London office to more spacious, top-floor quarters.
And, of course, dogs are still welcome to come to work!
The effects of a year in isolation are not limited to anxiety.
Even with opportunities like PTO mental health days and mental wellness tools like Joyable—both, I’m proud to say, are available to HG employees—the mental strain of a pandemic brings stress, sadness, and grief. All of this is a recipe for depression.
Remember: You are not alone! Reach out to your network, reach out to your coworkers. We’ve been using the Donut app to great effect to randomly connect people for coffee or lunch (virtual or in-person) at HG Insights. Social support is proven to strengthen resilience through increasing self-esteem and a building sense of control. A sympathetic shoulder is a great way to stave off symptoms like loneliness or isolation. And it has never been easier to find a community to boost your mental wellness.
You are resilient. Studies suggest that up to 90% of Americans have experienced a traumatic event, yet the prevalence of PTSD is only 6.8%. And here’s more good news: Depression is a treatable disease that responds to a range of therapies aside from psychiatric intervention, including:
- Talk therapy (such as CBT, DBT, and more)
- Exercise (which also helps with anxiety!)
- Light and sound therapies
These are just two of the many covid-related emotions most of us are experiencing. Reactions to such a day-to-day upheaval are nuanced. But one thing is true for all of us:
The first step toward mental wellness is awareness.
One way to cultivate awareness is by taking time to assess how you are feeling. Think about your last year and how it changed you for the better or presented you with problems. Purposefully evaluating your mindset brings an acute sense of how you’re feeling and helps you address what’s happening in you. It’s important to identify any issues that you are struggling with, voice your concerns and have conversations with those around you, and talk through any stigma you may be feeling.
If nothing else comes of this year, it has given us a common ground to find empathy, sympathy, and patience for each other. So look around in your community, reach out, and connect—we will get through this, we will find our “new” normal.
Awareness of mental health does not need to drop as we return to the workplace. Employer-sponsored mental health plans are so helpful when easing employees back into the office—one of the many benefits we have at HG Insights.
About HG Insights
HG Insights is your Go-To-Market intelligence provider.
We use advanced insights into technology intelligence on installations, spend and contract details to provide B2B companies a better way to analyze markets and target prospects. Our customers achieve unprecedented results in their marketing and sales programs thanks to the most comprehensive technographics in the industry, which index billions of unstructured documents each day to produce a detailed census of the technologies companies use to run their businesses.
Use these insights to out-market, out-sell, and outgrow your competition.
About Elizabeth Cholawsky
Elizabeth Cholawsky is an executive leader in the technology industry.
Since joining HG Insights in 2018 the company has experienced double-digit revenue growth every year, turned profitable in 2019 and attracted a majority investment from Riverwood Capital in 2020.
By opening up about her experiences as a female in management and by publishing thought-provoking pieces like “Women in Management and Burnout” and holding events that allow female employees to speak about their experiences, Cholawsky fosters an environment of inclusion and understanding at HG Insights.
If nothing else comes of this year, it has given us a common ground to find empathy, sympathy, and patience for each other.