Embracing vulnerability: It is okay not to be okay in the workplace

June 28, 2023

We frequently find ourselves caught up in a constant quest of success in the fast-paced and demanding world of work. Our mental and emotional health may suffer because of the pressure to perform, to meet deadlines, and accomplish goals.

It's critical to recognise that it's normal to not be okay in the midst of this storm. We may foster a more encouraging and caring work environment for ourselves and our co-workers by acknowledging and embracing our vulnerabilities.

 The Perfect World Myth

 We are constantly being inundated with messages of achievement and perfection as soon as we enter the office. To maintain a facade of expertise and success, we seek to achieve unreasonable standards that are frequently self-imposed. However, this pursuit of perfection comes at a cost. It perpetuates a culture of hiding our struggles and vulnerabilities, leading to increased stress, burnout, and mental health issues.

 The Influence of Honesty

 It is time to end this cycle of pretence and accept that it is acceptable to not be okay. Integrating openness about our mental and emotional health is a significant step towards creating a healthier workplace. We foster empathy, understanding, and support from our co-workers and superiors by being transparent about our struggles. By encouraging others to open about their own challenges and sharing our stories not only benefits us but also promotes a culture of empathy and solidarity.

 Breaking Stigma

 The stigma that surrounds mental health issues is one of the main obstacles to addressing them in the workplace. Many workers worry about being criticised, misunderstood, or punished for admitting to having weaknesses. We can eliminate this stigma, though, by making mental health dialogues commonplace. Setting the tone and creating safe settings for open dialogues are important roles that managers and leaders must play. People are more likely to do the same when leaders openly recognise their own struggles and show empathy, creating a climate where everyone feels respected and supported.

Creating a Culture of Support

Proactive actions are needed to establish a culture that is encouraging and accepts the highs and lows of the human experience. Companies can undertake efforts like flexible work schedules, mental health awareness campaigns, and employee help programmes. Regular check-ins that allow staff to talk about their wellbeing promote a sense of community and make sure that nobody feels alone or overburdened. Moreover, promoting work-life balance and advocating for self-care demonstrates a commitment to the holistic well-being of employees.

Making Success New

It is critical to question conventional ideas of success and redefine it in terms of well-being. True success should include not simply material gains but also personal development, fulfilment, and joy. We can lessen the strain we put on ourselves and other people by focusing on internal contentment rather than external approval. An environment that supports a healthy work-life balance, prioritises self-care, and celebrates minor accomplishments can make work more enjoyable and long-lasting.

It's vital to keep in mind that it's alright to not be okay, especially in the job, in a society that frequently exalts productivity and conceals flaws. Embracing our insecurities enables us to foster an environment of honesty, empathetic, and supportive behaviour.

We can establish workplaces that prioritise well-being and redefine success by eradicating the stigma and encouraging open dialogues about mental health. Let's work together to make workplaces ones that support, encourage, and nourish our mental and emotional health. Keep in mind that it's alright to not feel okay, but it's also crucial to get assistance if you need it. We can all benefit from a healthier, more caring workplace atmosphere if we work together.

*Sharon Kasote is Old Mutual Namibia Group Wellness Officer

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Last modified on Wednesday, 28 June 2023 19:40

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