Mental Wellness: a priority during the fourth industrial

by Dr Sheri Jacobson in Partners   |    Last Edited: 21st March 2019

Today’s workforce is more mobile. People are more transitory, often hopping from career to career in the hope of better prospects. Not only are they seeking a better remuneration package, but a healthily working environment and a more conducive lifestyle whether that includes flexible working hours or benefit packages that promote wellness.

Emotional wellbeing is becoming more prized, not only as a personal marker of a good life, but as a way to contribute more as a working member of society. People are typically more productive at work and take less time off when they are in good psychological health. Companies are keen to ingrain this in their strategic goals too.

And employees remember employers who provided positive working environments. Recruiting talent back, especially those who enjoyed working for you and feel comfortable about a company’s policies, should be an easy task. But it is only recently, with the advent of alumni platforms, that companies have become able to actively and efficiently stay in touch once people leave to accelerate that.

Of note is that those re-entering the work force face challenges in so doing. People typically feel daunted at the prospect of returning to work and question whether they will be able to transition back in a way that is both useful to their new employer and meaningful to themselves. Increasingly, people are seeking fulfilment at work perhaps more than, or at least on par to, earnings. Much has been written by business books about purpose and this has been borne out in the world of therapy – with questions about how to reach it. 

Much of the work in therapy for those returning to work revolves around resilience building. What exactly is resilience? It is the ability to navigate and adapt to the challenges and changes that life throws at you. In other words, it is your capacity to ‘bounce back’. Resilience might be innate for some people but it is also a skill that can be honed.

Here are some common ways individuals can boost resilience:

  1. Be in touch with yourself. Try to tap into what is going on for you and recognize the difficulties you face. Resilient people tend to be plugged into their emotions. Consider your current viewpoint and your feelings around a situation as this can be a basis to what actions you need to take next. 
  2. Be realistic. Resilient people tend not to catastrophize. For example, if you make a mistake you should look at it in a contained way rather than extrapolate ‘I’m going to get fired’.  Resilient people often acknowledge things they can’t change (the past) and look forward. 
  3. Be self-compassionate. For example, if you make a mistake you won’t label yourself as ‘incapable’ but instead, recognize that the error was confined to the specific situation. If the job hunt is taking longer than expected, or from an employer side, if the recruitment process is dragging on, try to recognize what you are doing already and use it as a springboard for further action.
  4. Transfer areas of confidence. We all have stores of confidence. If you are currently unsuccessful in job hunting, you might do well to remember your other achievements – look at your certificates, reflect on your friendships or reflect on your strengths in other areas.
  5. Be active. Resilient people often make use of lists and will make small decisions to help get them going rather than dwelling on what they can’t change. Large tasks can be usefully broken into small, more manageable chunks. Job seeking is a multi-stepped process. Make a list of each step and tackle one at a time.
  6. Seek support. A crucial factor that helps with resilience is having people around you that you feel connected to and who can support you in your journey. Having existing networks – both personal and professional ones – is really important. Having an ecosystem you know, such an alumni community, can help root you and give more of a sense of belonging. Human connection and social interaction is one of the bedrocks of good emotional wellbeing.

Social isolation is increasingly common as individuals mix with ever-growing numbers of people. It’s critically helpful for people to be able to foster ties to groups that they already know and can maintain links with. Being part of an alumni group – where individuals are aligned by a common set of experiences or shared characteristics – is a key part of this.

Dr Sheri Jacobson qualified as a psychotherapist in 2005 with a Ph.D. in Counselling. In addition to founding London’s largest group of therapy clinics, she also built, a platform to democratize access to professional help. Servicing both consumers and corporates, it is a revolutionary way for individuals to overcome psychological difficulties and supercharge their working output by readily accessing therapy.

Twitter: @DrSheriJacobson –