Last week I had the Covid.
I hate even saying that stupid word.
It’s been beyond exhausting for far long enough!
Anyway, I had it.
I thought that it was allergies and sinuses.
The farmers are out in the field kicking up dirt and the neighbors are mowing their lawns.
Every single year my North Dakota sinuses go, UGH!
It wasn’t that.
It was the dreaded C word.
Honestly, it knocked me out flat for a solid week.
I even had to go to the hospital to get the medication by IV for assistance to get through.
No doubt my minimal immune system was attacked by a dang bully.
When I was out, I realized that I have not rested for a long time.
Since last year when I had my journey with Cancer, I have just…kept…going.
Truly I think that aided in the success of my mental battle with it all, but I realized just last week when I HAD to be home that I was truly exhausted.
Humans are amazing.
The human body and mind are truly a mystical enigma.
How do we do all that we do?
How do we cope the ways that we do?
How do we know when it is time to give ourselves respite?
I had no idea as I was pushing through my journey, that I was so tired and worn out.
I went into some sort of hyper-robot mode where I just kept pushing.
The ONLY time I took off was for surgery or for doctor appointments that were a majority of the day.
In fact, I continued to work remotely while I was having my first consult at Mayo.
I simply felt that I couldn’t take time.
Nobody made me feel like that, but me.
I was scared to use up all of my PTO and equally as scared to not be able to provide for my family.
My appointments and my surgery took up all of my PTO and then some.
When I came back, I was in the negative.
Thankfully I was allowed to be negative and work those hours back rather than cut my check.
We really push ourselves, don’t we?
We don’t want to put anybody out.
We don’t want to appear like our hustle isn’t strong.
We have a dozen swords battling a dozen different things and yet most people would look and think, hmm they are so good at multi-tasking.
Folks have said to me – If I didn’t know you had Cancer, I would have never realized you were going through it.
As much as that makes me proud, it equally makes me sad that we feel that we can’t “break”.
I broke many times.
My dear mom was the recipient of all my tears and fears and as we are all taught, I would go to work leaving my tears and fears at the door.
…at least outwardly.
So, when Covid caught up to me I slept.
I slept for days.
I slept hard.
I would wake up, and then instantly sleep more.
Time went bye just as it always does, and I just melted into my bed.
I realized this wasn’t just Covid.
I was tired.
I was mentally and emotionally drained from the tip of my head to the bottom of my toes.
AND…I wasn’t admitting it to myself.
I was too worried about missing days, not having enough PTO, and adulting.
Are we taking time to check our mental health on a regular basis?
Is your employer aware enough to know when you are showing signs of exhaustion?
Do you feel safe enough to share with your manager that you need a break?
Mental health is so important.
I know that we see and say that so often, but are we making it real with our actions?
If you’re a manager, do a check in with your direct reports.
Hey, how are you?
Do you feel overwhelmed?
Do you need a break?
If you’re a co-worker, be aware of your supporting team.
Hey, you have a lot on your plate. How can I help?
You know what, let’s go out to lunch and breathe.
If you’re in HR, how about having mental health breaks at work for a special surprise?
Bring in a massage therapist and let people rotate getting a neck and shoulder massage.
How about having a library with a variety of feel-good books where employees can check out a book and use 30 minutes to read?
All people are carrying around something or THINGS that are heavy.
Our work vibe won’t always allow us to show it.
That’s why work connections, comfortability within your workplace and the freedom to say “SOS” is so important.
Don’t have that culture where you are at?
Start creating it.
Less talk about mental health and the workplace and more action!
Ready, set, GO!