5 Things to Support You and Your Employees’ Emotional Well-being

October 12, 2022

According to the CDC, “Improving emotional well-being, social connectedness, and resiliency through research-based health promotion and prevention programs is critical to population health.” With the most recent devastation from Hurricane Ian, and most of the population still dealing with implications from years of Covid, along with overall public tragedies, it is important to focus on caring for your coworkers, loved ones and most importantly, yourself.    


It is time to make time for your emotional well-being and your mental health. Ensure you are equipped to do this by following the 5 basic steps below:  


1. Ask questions, and then make time to listen


The phrase, “How are you?” can be thrown around the office (and in social settings), often causing a probable lack of sincerity. Getting creative with how you ask someone about their day or how they’re doing is key. Be specific with your questions: “How’s your wife? I know you mentioned her not feeling well last week?” After asking, ensure you have time to stop what you’re doing and listen (not respond). At times, stopping to listen to employees may seem like an inefficient way to spend your time, and if you think it is at that moment, don’t ask how they’re doing. Instead, say something like, “Hi, I hope you’re having a great day!” If you can make the time, try listening by giving your full attention to the other person without preparing for a response. By doing this, you can hear more than their words. You can listen to how they are telling them to respond more sincerely.  


2. Know the resources available


It may be true that our mental health system is broken, but you can be an advocate to support its pitfalls. Resources can be endless, but if follow-up and accountability support is not achieved, too often, individuals struggle in silence. Knowing resources are available before they are needed is also vital. It may be easier for some to struggle longer with a mental or emotional health issue than with a physical one. When a change is ready to be made, having quick, simple resources in place to limit barriers is key. Most employers also offer employee assistance programs (EAP) that provide free counseling services to employees and their family members at no cost. Ensure you know the ins-and-outs of your corporate benefits; maybe test them out yourself! 


3. Share personal stories


Decrease the stigma around emotional well-being and mental health by sharing your personal stories, whether you received support or a friend’s success story. Sharing how you received emotional health strategies or how a specific resource supported you could help others know they are not alone. Be cautious about knowing when a personal story is best to be shared, as everyone is in a different season with different historical traumas and experiences. When someone is sharing something about themselves, this may not be the time to “fix” their problems and compare it to a success story you may have.  


4. Understand Total Well-being


The term wellness is thrown around today and is often aligned with physical health. Some researchers believe physical health is mental health and vice versa. One way to make sense of the different dimensions of a person’s wellness is to think of it as total well-being. Gallup has done much research on total well-being directly impacting how a person, or employee, thrives in life. Ensuring you and your employees know these dimensions and striving for equal support in each area may be helpful to ensuring emotional or mental health is not forgotten about or put on the back burner.  


5. Prioritize time for yourself, no one else will do it for you


It is essential to prioritize your time and nudge others to prioritize theirs. Often, taking time out for your family, friends, job, and coworkers comes easy. This may be to obtain extrinsic gratification, masking as being selfless. However, saying yes to outside obligations can take up your time for internal self-care or saying “no” to yourself. You are your best advocate. Remember that and remind/allow others space, to do the same.  


Do you have additional questions about supporting your or your organization’s emotional well-being, total well-being or overall health? Our Shepherd Insurance Employee Benefits team is here to help! Contact us today for more information.