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Workplace Health and Safety

6 Steps to Create a More Emotionally Healthy Workplace

Organizations are working hard to support employee wellness and often focus their efforts on physical health. However, emotional health is equally as important

Here are six steps you can take today to create more emotional health in your workplace:

1. Eradicate the myth of time poverty

“I’m overwhelmed! There aren’t enough hours in the day!” 

If this sounds like you, chances are you are participating in the socially acceptable epidemic of time poverty. Have you ever noticed how much time we talk about not having enough time? People readily commiserate over this shared misery and it’s become the No. 1 scapegoat in organizations when tasks don’t get done.

For a moment, consider you are not a victim of time. We all have 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, and we get to choose how we are going to spend that time. 

There is no such thing as time management — a minute will go by right now whether you manage it or not. There is only priority management, so write down your top three strategic, bite-size tasks to fulfill on your priorities. Now allocate time in your calendar. Then protect that time as if it was your best friend’s wedding. 

Then stop saying you don’t have time. You have time for that which you choose — the rest goes in a parking lot.

2. Have real connections with your colleagues

Ever notice how the daily nicety of “How are you doing?” often yields nothing meaningful? Usually you get the socially pat response of “good” or “fine.” 

Instead, take a couple minutes and share one another’s “Rose, Bud, Thorn.” Created by the Boy Scouts, rose is what you’re most excited about right now, bud is what you’re most looking forward to, and thorn is your biggest challenge. You can do this from a personal or professional standpoint. 

Also consider questions like, “What’s your dream?” or “What’s one of the most inspiring moments in your life?” or “What’s one of the most important decisions you ever had to make?”

3. Add some humor and do a little dance

Bring on the dad jokes or cat video competition, as well as a 5-minute de-stress dance fest. You could do a conga line, the cupid shuffle, or a free-for-all to the “Rocky” theme song. In short, don’t take yourselves SO seriously. 

4. Acknowledge someone’s contribution to you, your team, or your company’s mission 

Rather than just the simple “You’re a Rockstar!” describe the difference they make and the ripple impact in the world of their efforts, or way of being. Say what it means to you to have them on your team.

5. Stop gossiping

Instead, kindly, candidly, and constructively share your concerns directly with the person with whom you have a concern. And when you do, come from a place of genuine curiosity and care, rather than assumption and judgement. 

Often people will say, “But I don’t want to hurt their feelings.” Consider this as unkind niceness since silence has us stand by as we watch our co-worker’s credibility get chipped away day after day. 

Have you ever seen a coworker have no clue why they didn’t get a promotion, and yet everyone else knew why they didn’t get it? We owe one another the common courtesy of standing up for each other’s success. 

6. Take personal responsibility

Specifically request what you need and want from the person who can respond. Rather than hoping someone will notice or get a clue, be proactive. If you’re unsure, ask. If you’re wondering, ask. If you’re hoping, ask. Don’t wait. 

Next time you take actions to eat better or exercise more, also consider, “What’s one thing I could do to support my emotional health, too?”

Here’s to your health!

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