Make time for your mental health this May, here’s how
May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, and as we continue into the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and start to see some aspects of life return to ‘normal’, our collective mental health deserves to be continually looked after.
While the switch to primarily working from home wasn’t a huge departure from pre-pandemic life for our distributed team, other aspects of life moving into the home caused a huge shift for many—especially parents. With kids learning from home, parents working from home, and no option for outside help, the situation was ripe for anxiety, stress, and ultimately burnout.
One study reports that 63% of moms, “feel like they’ve worked a full day after handling their family’s needs in the morning”, and 48% of those women feel like burnout is keeping them up at night. And while burnout isn’t new—especially among working parents—a Gallup study shows that employee levels of burnout remained high throughout the pandemic.
This trend isn’t something we want to see amongst Elasticians. In 2020, we encouraged conversations about mental health among employees, soliciting advice from Elasticians. We also introduced Shut It Down days at the start of the pandemic (and extended them until at least 2023) to ensure employees had extra time to recharge, but we’ve also been working to provide more comprehensive mental healthcare benefits.
As the entire world copes with what the end of the pandemic looks like and how to return to their previous life, mental health is very much in the spotlight. Dealing with anxiety, burnout, stress, and other mental health afflictions is just as important as maintaining and prioritizing your physical health.
To support our Elasticians, we offer a variety of benefits related to mental health. Among them, a partnership with Ginger, a company that shares our belief that everyone should have access to mental healthcare. Ginger offers Elasticians in 28 countries on-demand, confidential emotional support through coaching via text-based chats, self-guided activities, video therapy, and psychiatry (US). There are coaches available 24/7 through live chat and there is in-app content and exercises that you can do on your own time. Plus, it’s available for dependents of Elasticians through the age of 18.
For US-based Elasticians, we work with Lyra to offer employees and their families 16 no-cost support sessions, either in-person or virtually.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. A recent report from Indeed found that employee burnout is on the rise: 52% of all workers are feeling burned out, up nine percent from a pre-COVID survey. If you’re feeling depleted, distracted, or stressed, don’t suffer in silence.
In addition to seeking support, the Mayo Clinic offers a few ways to combat burnout:
- Start prioritizing. Work with your manager to evaluate what is critical to get done, what can take a bit longer, and what can be put on hold.
- Try an activity aimed at relieving stress, such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.
- Exercise—regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress.
- Get better sleep. We know to aim for 8 hours a night, but Healthline reports that only 10% of parents are getting 7+ hours of sleep.
- Practice mindfulness. Meditation can help, and there are many free guided meditations available.
And managers can look out for their employees’ mental health, creating a culture of openness and acceptance. Here are a few ways to do so, that we shared in 2020:
- You can’t pour from an empty cup
- Be vulnerable
- Recognize the warning signs
- Listen to your staff
- Promote resources
- Cut down on virtual meetings
- Get creative about giving employees time back
- Take the temperature of your team, virtually
- Pick a mental health solution
Be empowered to find the work-life balance that works for you.