Change can challenge our personal as well as professional resilience. Moving from the known to the new in uncertain economic times requires not only business acumen but staying emotionally healthy as well.
Emotional health – how we think, feel and act – is the foundation for every business decision.
All analysis, strategizing and problem-solving start with how we think or feel about our environment, our options and ourselves. Actions stem from those thoughts and feelings. Emotionally healthy persons usually see more options and can make decisions based on data, needs and opportunities. When emotional health is not optimal, decisions may be made out of nonproductive fear, which rarely yields the best results.
Suggestions for maintaining emotional health during challenging times include:
- Maintain physical health by exercising, eating healthy foods and getting sufficient rest. Brains work best when our whole bodies are well.
- Maintain optimism. (Note: optimism is not the same as denial, which is ignoring problems as if they don’t exist.) Optimism believes there is a future and a way to get there. Negativity is contagious and nonproductive.
- Remember alcohol is a beverage, not a coping mechanism. Alcohol may appear to help us relax but it is a depressant that may also interfere with sleep. Sleep problems can lead to depression and vice versa.
- Stay connected to your loved ones. Over-emphasis on work can strain personal relationships. Make sure there is time for people you care about and who care about you.
- Stay true to your values. Under pressure, persons sometimes compromise what their personal and professional values are. That leads to inner conflicts that usually make things worse.
- Stay action-oriented but allow yourself the natural emotions which come with stressful times. When a ship is sinking, people bail water – they don’t think about how they feel about bailing water – but there comes a time when the bailing is over and the feelings surface. Paradoxically, more problems come from denying emotions than feeling and expressing them. Find ways to express those feelings – with a trusted confident, mental health professional, or even with yourself through meditation or journaling. Expression brings a kind of closure that clears the way to meet the next challenge.
Stephanie Hittle, MS, LPCC is a licensed professional clinical counselor in private practice in Centerville, Ohio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her web site is www.stephaniehittlecounseling.com.