January can often feel like the longest month following the excitement and stress of the holidays. We’ve all likely heard that there’s no science behind Blue Monday. But, it is true that living with depression and anxiety can feel more overwhelming in the winter months, particularly living on the prairies with -30◦C temps.
Here at Trace, our Senior Leadership Team formally discusses health and safety on a weekly basis. We talk about how physical health and safety has often overshadowed mental health. Research today shows that mental health has significant impacts on our family, livelihood, and communities. So how do we face what’s happening in our minds? We talk about it. We say we’re having a hard time. That we’ve got a lot on our plates. That our stress and anxiety levels are high, and we need help.
Asking for help takes courage. Big courage to say, “Today is a hard day, and I need help.” One of the tools that has helped me as a leader is practicing compassion. The first lesson I learned from my meditation teacher is that in order to practice compassion, I must first recognize that I need compassion. We cannot sit in a compassionate space for others when our minds are filled with self-judgment and self-loathing. Understanding that has changed how I interact with others. Check-in with yourself. Check-in with your officemates. Check-in with your dog. Seriously, it makes a difference. And, if you need help, ask. Now I have to go. Time for some self-care and a chai latte.