#020 – The S-O-S Method to Manage Stress at Work and Home (with Special Guest Beverley Beuermann-King)

 

Beverly’s Bonus Resources

Connect with Beverly – https://www.linkedin.com/in/beverlybeuermannking/

Beverly’s website – worksmartlivesmart.com

S-O-S principal – Situation, Ourselves, Support

ALEC principal – Ask, Listen, Encourage, Check in

 

Podcast Transcript

 

Welcome to the Working Well Podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance. On the Working Well Podcast we dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping make life more awesome at work and home.

Join us to learn workplace wellness, best practices, personal performance tips, and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.

 

Today’s guest is Beverly Beuermann-King. For over 20 years, Beverly has used her S-O-S Principle™ with people and organizations who want to control their reactions to stress, build resiliency against life’s challenges, and live healthy, successful lives. Beverly appreciates that there is not ‘one way’ to deal with our business challenges or build our personal resiliency. Beverly believes that it is about building an action plan that works, which is unique to the person and team who builds it.

 

Welcome Beverly. It’s great to see you again. We were chatting before, what is it? London, December, 2019 I think for the caps convention was the last time we connected in person. What’s the last year and a bit looked like?

The 2019 convention seems like such a long, long time ago. It has been an interesting year, like I think for everyone it’s been an interesting growth year, I think as far as my business and, and things that I’ve had to learn, which that for me is exciting. That’s something I like about my business is being able to, you know, look at tech differently or look at you know applications and things differently. So that, that has been great for me because it’s kept me engaged, but it’s been challenging. I think there was a real difference in presenting in person to presenting online to companies and to teams, but I’ve actually really enjoyed presenting online. And part of that has to do with mental health.

People I’ve found are much more willing to type in the chat box about issues or questions that they may have, because there’s a little bit of anonymity that maybe they didn’t ask, especially if it was a keynote or if it was in a large group. So I actually do like it, some people talk about the intimacy is not being there, but I’ve actually found that it has increased some of the conversations around mental health and resiliency.

Absolutely. I’d agree with you. Tell me about some of the questions that people are asking.

Sometimes it’s not even questions, sometimes it’s even just comments like, wow, I didn’t know that. Or, yeah, that’s exactly what I’m going through. I’ve been really struggling. And the fact that people say I’ve been really struggling with that, or I’ve really been trying to figure that out. That’s something that they would never do in a corporate setting in front of their colleagues. And so I liked that. I love the fact that, you know, I talk about the pandemic as it’s, you know, Upside of it is that it’s really I think. Brought supportive mental health conversations into the vernacular, into the team, into the ability to talk about some of these things a lot more .Like we had Bell let’s talk.

Then we had all of those kinds of programs, which were programs, but it hadn’t really kind of dripped down into the conversation level between leaders and colleagues. And so I think the pandemic has really done that and it allowed people to speak up and being virtual has allowed them, I think, to speak up even more.

I agree completely the mental health challenges we face have been there for a long time, but why do you think it took a global pandemic to, to bring it so much more to the forefront? What do you think the resistance was?

I don’t know if it was necessarily resistance or if it was, there was just so many other things on people’s plates that they didn’t focus in on it. And as soon as we were, you know, things changed in the middle of March. People had to, you know, work from home and I think as leaders, it was like, well, how are we going to do this? And colleagues, it was like, how are we going to do this? How are we going to make this happen? How are we going to have our team meetings?

And because it was more aware, we were more aware of how we were feeling and the struggles that we had, the anxieties and the fears and apprehensions. We were able to see that in other people and just check in with the rest of our team. And it was okay to check in because we couldn’t check in on a one-to-one or just see people. It was okay to check in online and go, well, yeah, your kids are at home. How was that going? Or, you know, joking around, like you’re working in your living room or you’re working off your kitchen table, like, you know, I think it just allowed people to be able to explore a little bit, touch base a little bit more.

And then those conversations just naturally started. And I think leaders really recognized that their role was to help people adjust. And because that, again, we, there weren’t these big adjustments before that became really apparent and that allowed for conversations and one-on-ones, and check-ins as well.

Absolutely. So what what’d you say on that route cause mental health and resilience are just so part of the conversation these days, which is great. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing workplace wellness?

I think people are tired out, they’re worn out. They’re frustrated. And what I’m seeing right now is more around pessimism and conflict. And so I do a presentation on handling negative attitudes and difficult people. It’s called stop letting that difficult person ruin your day. And it was one of the top presentations that I did. And then when the pandemic started, I didn’t get any requests for that. I got lots of requests for other ones and, you know, around supportive mental health conversations and, you know harnessing your energy and building your resiliency, but nothing around negative attitudes and difficult people till about the 10 month mark. And I’ve slowly started to see more and more requests for that, because now when people are tired and worn out, their patients has gone away. They’re not as you know you know, they’re not, as in tune, those little things are starting to get on their nerves. That conflict is starting to come back within teams.

And, and so how do you deal with that? How do you deal with that conflict that, that may have been building up or was put on hold for a little bit and you’re realizing it’s still there.

How much of that do you think is just that, just the weight of everything that’s been going on. And how does that relate to companies moving forward? What do you think the solution to that is?

I think it is that, that, that weight of stuff, and it’s also the duration. Nobody expected it to be this long. And so when we talk about our coping skills, we can do it for a couple of months. We can do it for six months, but oh my gosh, here we are and it’s, you know, July and August and we’re looking into the fall and Hey, are we still going to be doing that? And then for companies, are we going to come back you know, to full force? Are we going to have a hybrid model are three or, you know, it’s half the team going to be in two days a week, the other half going to be in the other two days a week at one week, we’re all working, you know, one day we’re all working from home.

There’s just so many unknowns and how, how to go forward. I think is people are stuck. They don’t know how to really embrace what’s going to happen next because they’re not sure what’s going to happen next. And that impacts our mental health. It impacts the way that we look at the future, how safe we feel.

You know, many of us are still feeling hypervigilant even going out into public. I was, it was interesting cause I was, you know, I’m so looking forward to getting together with friends and with family members, but we went to we have a boat that we were going to put into one of the lakes. I live up in the corner there, so there’s lakes everywhere.

And we, you know, we found this one place to dock or to launch the boat, but there was so many people around. It was like, tourists everywhere. And it was like, oh, this is two peoplely I need to get out of here because I wasn’t like, I want, I want it, but I don’t want so many people around. And I think a lot of people are conflicted like that. Like I want to go and see my colleagues at work. I want to get back into the office, but, you know, I don’t really trust everybody and, and things that are going on. So it’s that, that contradiction, I think of what we want and what we feel comfortable in.

And how, how do you see that playing out in the workplace from a, both mental health and resilience standpoint?

I think as leaders, it’s going to be helping our teams to be able to take that step forward and building that resiliency and talking about the strategies that we use you know, deep breathing or getting up from my desk or in the here moment kind of strategies. Other strategies have to be more long-term .What do you do for exercise, what you do for hobbies, what you do for fun, what you do for social connection. That helps kind of in the, in the longer term kind of thing. So it’s really looking at your tool belt of strategies and as leaders, it’s about being able to share what you’re doing modeling that, and it’s also, I think for leaders, something that we don’t often talk about, but I think is really important as we move forward is you need to be that beacon of hope as we step forward and, and I’m not talking about whimsical hope, I’m talking about strategic hope, which again, strategic hope has goals, but it also, you know, where are we going?

But for leaders I don’t necessarily know the path that we’re going to take to get there, but I believe that as a team, we can get there and we have the skills we’ve done this before. We can do that again. And it’s really shining that light forward because I think a lot of people are feeling hopeless. They’re feeling that sense of despair. They’re feeling that sense of frustration. And as leaders, it is about being able to shine that beacon to say, Hey, I can step forward into this and we can do this together.

Absolutely. Yeah. Leaders play such a pivotal role in the organization. My question is who’s there for the leader?

Yeah, that’s though. I mean, if it’s a small company, there may only be two or three people who are leading. And or if it’s been a remote team, you may feel like you’re the only leader because you’re not necessarily connected to the rest of your team. I think it’s really important that no matter what level you’re at, you find your community, you find your supporters, you find those people who can lift you up. And it just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean that, that can’t be your colleagues and your team. I think that’s where that bonding of it doesn’t necessarily need to be hierarchy. It can be collaborative. It can be talking about what I do and, and the strategies that I use may be great for you, but they may be terrible for somebody else.

They may not be the right you know set of strategies. I use a principle called the SOS principle, and I talk about how it’s really important to take that SOS principle and design your own particular tool belt, you know, making sure that you’ve got strategies from each of those three buckets in your tool belt to help you forward. And so being able to talk about what’s in your tool belt is really one of the ways of being able to, to support not only not only to realize it for yourself, but to support the people around you.

So tell me a bit more about the SOS principle is like, is it an acronym or what?

It’s not necessarily an acronym. There are three buckets and I’ve been doing, you know, mental health and resiliency since 1995, a long time ago. I worked with get back before it was absolutely, you know, back then, you know mental illness and stress. We didn’t talk about mental health and resiliency. I love, you know, if I look over my career, I love the fact that we’ve moved forward into mental health and resiliency because it’s the proactive piece as opposed to the reactive pieces.

And, and so I worked for the Canadian mental health association as their education coordinator and dealing with people on you know, working with severely, mentally ill clients and, and talking about what does that look like and how do you take care of it? But I realized that everything that we talked about fell into these three buckets.

And so SOS stands for situation ourselves and support. And we need strategies in each of those three buckets in order to have a tool belt that will help us, regardless of the situation, whether it’s a big challenge, a trauma that we’re facing, or those small irritating things that get under our skin.

So situation is problem solving tools, you know, what am I going to do about it? Each of the three buckets has a question. So the, the situation, what am I going to do about it? How am I going to deal with this? How can I break this down? Can I delegate it? Can I ask for help? Can I simplify? Can I junk it? What’s my to-do list look like, you know, it’s, it’s really about addressing the thing that’s causing my stress. The O stands for ourself and it’s the question would be, how am I going to take care of myself? And so the O doesn’t necessarily do anything about this. You know, the things that are causing stress, but it gives you the energy the mindset to be able to move forward.

So am I doing the basics? Am I exercising? Am I sleeping right? Am I eating right? Am I doing the things that take care of my physical and mental health needs? But what am I doing to give myself a break? So what are my hobbies? You know, what am I doing for for fun? So Sudoku puzzles or computer games. Is it playing sports? Is it going for a walk out in nature? Is it deep breathing and yoga and meditation? For me, one of my biggest things is I’m a karate instructor. I have my second degree black belt and. I love, love, love, love teaching the kids and, and young adults and adults to be strong in themselves.

My biggest challenge has been, I haven’t been able to do that for 18 months and though we’ve tried it online. I live in rural Ontario and so internet has been a challenge for absolutely everybody. So there’s no consistency with it. So for me, that has been a challenge for me because I haven’t really replaced it with anything other than chocolate covered almonds, which is not a good trade-off, you know, when they’re looking at the health side of things. So I I’m looking forward to hopefully getting back in that and in the fall not to leave you hanging, but the last S stands for support. Who who is there to support me. So who can I talk to? Who can I vent to? Who can I hang out with? Who can, you know who like, again, it could be doctors, it could be counselors and therapists.

It could be family, friends. It could be your EAP in a workplace setting or your human resources department, your leader anybody who can help you to kind of talk through it, work through it. Take your mind off it. And so we need strategies and all three of those in our tool belt to be able to handle any of those situations.

I love that that’s a great framework for individuals and leaders within the organization to be able to help support their teams. And I think that will you just hit it on the head of why so many people struggle to cope with and manage the challenges they’re facing because they might be focused on one thing, but forget like on themselves, what they can do, but forget about the situation or they’re doing something in the situation, but forgetting about their own personal, physical and mental health, and then they don’t have a support system. And so, yeah, I love that. That’s really good.

There’s a quote that I like because I do work with a lot of, of frontline workers and not-for-profits and and, and teams in that kind of respect. And so there’s a quote that says, how thin can I spread myself before I no longer exist? And so there are people who are really good at taking care of the situation. They have to dues and stickies and task lists, and they know exactly how to, to manage the issue. But and they may be really good about reaching out and collaborating, but they don’t do a good job of taking care of themselves. And, and we find that, you know, they’re experiencing burnout. They, they don’t have anything left to give. And so we need to make sure that we’re using all of the strategies to be able to manage that, that stress and challenge.

It’s quite interesting to hear that cause that’s something that I started in the fitness industry, 30 something years ago, and that I was only dealing with a self. We would see our corporate clients come in and they were highly successful in their career and just on the verge of burnout, they were not taking care of themselves. They had so many health issues because of it. And we were. We were trying to build that up. But then we started when we looked at it and we break it down into four pillars of performance, mindset, habits, movement, and fuel. And they, I guess they sort of come into, into play and those, those three buckets for the SOS principle.

And yeah, we realized that fitness and nutrition were just such a small portion. It’s the mindset and the habits being able to help people realize that there’s, there’s more to getting through a situation and not even just getting through it, but thriving, despite adversity. And that’s something that people really, they get the blinders on and they think there’s only one, one thing. So having a framework like that is really helpful.

And I, and I think this time has really taught us that all three of those, those are important. Like we have to be able to figure out how to deal with the change, but if we’re not, if we’re only dealing with the change and we’re tired and we’re not sleeping at night, well, we’ve seen the impact where people are not able to problem solve because they can’t think clearly, and they’ve got too much on their plate.

But I think one of the things that we’re really seeing the impact of right now is the impact of loneliness. You know, we’ve that those social connections were taken off the, off the plate. Right. And, and, you know, you were told to stay away and, and watch out and be afraid and not reach out. And, and so people are struggling right now because that area really needs some attention, we need to figure out how are we going to connect as a team? How are we going to connect as a family? How is it safe to do that? How is, you know, can I have a hug, you know, that the, the value of, of touch and feeling safe with that you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really, you know, it’s great.

I had I have a colleague who brought his three sons to my house this weekend. They came a couple of years ago. We had a cap’s summer summer get together here at my house. And the youngest one loved the fact that I had a John Deere lawnmower and was driving this John Deere lawnmower over. And I showed him how to drive it and took him for, you know, through the bush. And then we put them up on the big Johnny.

And you thought that was amazing. Three years later, he’s been dying to come back. And so they finally came back this weekend and I love the fact that he jumped into the car. And the first thing he did was give me a hug. Like there was no. Can I, is it okay? Like he was just, he was jumping out of his skin just to be able to do that. And I thought, oh, I’ve missed, I’ve missed that connection. Right? Like just being able to, you know, caps colleagues are infamous for hugging and, and support and, and, and I can’t wait for that to happen again.

Absolutely. When, and you bring up a good point to that. Loneliness is a, is a big part of it. And a lot of leaders who have talked to that was one of the things that guess put them back on their heels and they had to really shift their mindset around it was not everyone’s in the same situation. If you you know, I’m privileged enough to be in a home with my family. I’ve got two kids and we see each other every day. But if you’re a single and living in an apartment and you haven’t had that contact, maybe you’re immunocompromised and you’ve been really isolating.

You haven’t had anyone for 18 months. And while I love my family and there are times I’m like, oh, I’d probably want a little bit of a break. The fact is. We have that support system. We have another core, like we’ve been able to be out in the mountains and we see our, our friends for skiing. And while it’s distanced, we were able to at least socially connect in that way a lot over the winter. And there are a lot of people that haven’t had that, you know, we talked to some clients that are literally single living in a five or 600 square foot apartment. And. They don’t have anything except what they see on the other side of their computer.

And we’ve, we’ve seen an explosion of people who have gone out and gotten new, you know, kitties and puppies, and because, you know, it’s, it’s that connection to something, something bigger than ourselves. And even if it’s pets, the value that that brings and, and, you know, we are in an epidemic of loneliness. And so we do take it for granted, especially if you know, parents or family members, but even my mom, my mom and dad live on a farm and, and though they saw other people, they were dying to see us and, and my sons.

And it was, you know, even for me, it was interesting because my mom was like, I don’t care. This was, I think probably around mother’s day. It was in between mother’s day and father’s day. She goes, I don’t care. I’m going to drive the three hours to come and see. Even if we only stay outside, she’d had enough. And so I can see where people are, you know, they’re at their limit but I think you know, She had an option, but I don’t think everybody has that, that kind of option available to them.

Yeah. And when we get into a spiral where we’re not really functioning as well, or as well as we could be, we often don’t see those other options, whether it’s just getting outside and going for a walk. I’ve found, I found a lot of people keep trying to do the same thing and it’s not working, but they just try harder at that same thing. And so again, when you don’t have the support system, or you don’t have the strategies for yourself or or the situation that you’re, you’re not able to see that.

Yeah, I think now there’s much more awareness around that and co-workers can, can start to see that and hopefully reach out. I think we’re, we’re at a point now where many more people are aware of it, but what what have you seen companies doing from a strategy standpoint to set their, their team or leaders and teams up for success?

I think there’s a lot more, well, first of all, one of the things that I absolutely love is there’s a couple of companies that I’ve been working with. And, and these particular companies actually right away increased their benefits around psychological help like mental health, anything that was in that realm. So, you know, they, they increase the limits around counseling. They increased the limits around massage or chiropractic, like anything that they thought was going to help. Mental health wise and isolation wise, they increased the benefits. So they, they though it was at a time when their business was, was decreasing. That was something that they increased in order to make sure that they, they helped their employees.

The other thing that I’ve really liked is that leaders have been much more aware of the value of that social connection. So they have been, you know, at the beginning we saw a lot of, you know, games and those kinds of things happening, but even the value of having a lunch break together. The value of having tea breaks, coffee breaks, you know, where I, as the leader, the leader says, you know what four o’clock on every, you know, Wednesdays and Fridays, I’m going to be online. If you want to join me. Great. If you don’t, you know, you’ve got something else, that’s fine too, but know that I’m there and it’s nothing to do with work.

I’m just there for 15, 20 minutes where we can just have coffee or do whatever or talk about the weather or whatever it is. It’s, it’s allowing people to have that water cooler talk in a way that isn’t necessarily focused on an agenda or, or an activity or anything like that. So those I’ve liked cause sometimes, you know, you just, and I, and I’ve had it where you just get this overwhelming sense of the blues or, or Oh disconnection, or I just don’t have it in me right now.

And so that just allows people to be able to, to reach out when they’re feeling that way. Other things I’ve liked, are they the activities and the playtime and, and the fun. So right now I like the fact that zoom has added in the upgrade, the ability to have certain apps you know, drawing games and Kahoot and just, just some different kinds of activities, just to add in a little bit more to make. And I encourage leaders as well too, to make use of that. Because if you’re having a meeting, there’s nothing worse than a two hour business meeting that is just agenda item after agenda item after, you know, and, and we book them because we don’t have to walk. We don’t have to go and pick up our materials and stuff for a meeting and walk in between.

We’re booking them now back to back to back. So one ends at 11. Well, the next one’s going to start at 11, so I don’t even have 30 seconds in between to go to the bathroom. So we need to to, A start being realistic about our time and not booking things back to back that we need, that we need to go from up here to down here so that we can think and get things done.

But also as leaders build in that sense of fun and build in that sense of engagement built in that sense of connection, you know, there, there’s no reason why you’re not, and sometimes it’s just not knowing about the tools, go onto YouTube, go online, find out what some of the engagement factors are, because even if you’re having a meeting you can have a, a poll to say, okay, do you want to talk about this next or this next? Right. Like give people choice. Because that keeps them engaged that keeps them, you know, in tune with what else is going on.

With all the stuff that has gone over the last 18 months or so resilience is a huge topic. How are you seeing companies have the conversation around that frame resilience, because a lot of I’ve in my thought, a lot of people think of resilience is like something that happens after you’ve struggled. And after you’ve almost hit rock bottom, it’s like, I’m going to, it’s going to make me stronger. But what, what conversations are companies having with employees around resilience and how to really position it in people’s mind?

We talk about traits around resiliency. Like what, what, what adds to resiliency and so often brought in for that particular reason, how did, how to, how to bring in those strategies and what does it look like? So for me, when I talk about resiliency, one of the images that comes to mind is those hard rubber balls that you used to play with on the playground when you were in public school, do you remember? I don’t know bouncy, crazy kinds of things. You would throw them up against the wall and then you and your buddies would spend the entire recess chasing these little things all over the playground.

For me, that’s resiliency because it doesn’t matter how hard you hit the wall. You take that energy and you move forward. Now you may not be on the same path that you thought you were going to be on, but you’re able to take that result that, that energy and move forward. So for me, resiliency is about being able to move forward. And so it’s understanding what are the challenges that you’re facing? What are the self-care, are there strategies you have in your tool belt? What is the ability to manage your thoughts? So there’s a thinking component to resiliency. One of the big ones right now is, you know, the superhuman syndrome, right?

I need to be the best at everything I need to be. You know, for me, it’s I need to be the best mom. I need to be the best speaker. I need to run the most successful business. I have to be the best friend I have to, you know, I have to, I have to have to, and there’s, there’s no way to live up to those expectations.

So it’s about kindness to ourselves and kindness to other people. You know, I talk about 10 kind of resiliency traits, but hope and I talked about this earlier. Hope is actually one of the determinants of our resiliency in the face of trauma. And so do you have that sense of, of self know that you’ve done this before you can do it again, that you have the ability to, to make the, the decisions to take the next step to, to get through, even when you don’t know how to take that next step, you know, that you can take the next step. All of those pieces are how we build up our resiliency. And so, you know, toolbelt is one of them, but like I said, thinking processes is, is part of that as well.

Yeah. And when you say, when you talk about hope, having a vision that the future is going to be better than the present is that first step. Because if, if people don’t think the future is going to be better, what’s the point in doing anything right. And, and there as leaders how do we help people see that?

And sometimes it’s not even that it’s going to be better it’s just that it’s going to be different. You know, we talk about the, the, the pandemic and where it’s going to be. I don’t know if September is going to be better than August you know, people are talking about the fourth wave when kids going back to school, I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but I do know that, Hey, I’ve made it through March, April, may, June, July, August, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, may, June. I’ve made it through all of that. I can make it through. August, September and whatever else comes through, because I’ve got, I’ve got the experience. I know that I can make the adjustments online. I know that I’ve got people who are there that I can talk to, that I can vent to, that I can ask for help from that I can learn from.

I know that I have good strategies around sleeping and eating and getting outside and appreciating nature. Those are all things that are in my tool belt that allow me to be able to take those next steps forward.

Yeah. Good point on the different than better. Yes. Because not everything will be better, but the situation you’re in at that point can change.

And I think that’s really important when we talk about mental illness and, you know, not to kind of, you know, because often we talk about mental health and we don’t often feel comfortable having those conversations around depression and anxiety and post-traumatic stress and whatever the mental illness may be.

But I think that’s one of the big things is what do I say? And so I always say, you can never say that it’s going to be better, but you can say that it is going to be different. And when people have lost that sense of hope, we need to, we need to help them to hold on for whatever’s next, because it may be different enough that allows them to see that they can thrive, that they can, that there’s going to be a change there.

I put a document out on LinkedIn and this is open to anybody. So anybody who wants it, it’s on my LinkedIn profile. But it’s a document on just what not to say, because I think we’re so afraid of saying the wrong thing to somebody who is really struggling, that we’re going to make it worse, that we’re going to make them think about suicide. That, you know, what if we are the reason that somebody actually attempts suicide? We get so afraid and so caught up that we don’t want to do anything. So there’s a document there. It’s a very simple one. It just gives you a couple of conversations, starters, and I use an acronym, Alec, and where they’ve taken a mental health first aid course, they use an acronym called LG, but I use Alec.

Alec stands for Ask, Listen, Encourage and Check in. And you can use that whether somebody is dealing with depression, whether somebody is thinking, you know, is contemplating suicide, or whether somebody is just dealing with, you know they’ve got a child at home, who’s dealing with the terrible twos and they’re trying to figure out how to deal with it. Like it can be any experience, but it just allows us to, to listen, to be able to allow that person to talk, to show our support and then encourage them to take some sort of action to move forward.

I love it. And that’s well, depending on what happens in the fall too, I think there are a lot of people that are burnt out from what this fourth or fifth or sixth wave, depending on which area you live in. But yeah, I can already, when I talk to people, just be like, oh, I just can’t go through another one. And you hear that, that conversation happening in people’s heads. And on the flip side of that, people like, I don’t care anymore. And so that puts other people in a challenging situation too. And from a company standpoint, how has that, how are you seeing that being dealt with?

You know what, that brings up a great example from this past that I put out there. So I talk about the 10 essential needs of a team. And these 10 essential needs are from research and, and it was prior to the pandemic, but then I took it and Put the kind of pandemic spin on it. Like, what does it look like now? You know, we talk about the ability to speak up and the ability to be heard is one of the, the needs that, that we have. And so I had a great team who took that cause we also talk about the need for appreciation and respect and they, so they were going to start their team meeting, talking about what they were thankful for, you know, cause we talk about gratitude as being one of those. Part of those essential needs.

And it was interesting because they got back to me and they said it was a good idea, but it didn’t work. And I said, okay, so why didn’t it work? Well, they said, well, we came to the meeting and we all talked about what, what we were grateful for, what was going on in our life, what was going on in our business life, our personal life that we were, that we were thankful for, that was going well, that we wanted to celebrate the success around.

The problem was when we started off the meeting, that way, anybody who is feeling low, anybody you know, having any kind of difficulty or challenge didn’t feel that they could bring that up after that because they didn’t want to bring people down. And so what they did is they adjusted that they, you know, they talk about what are the challenges, what are the issues? What are the things that we’re facing? What is it that we need to problem solve in order for us to move forward? And then they ended the meeting with something that they were grateful for. Something that they were thankful for something that was a success. And they adapted that in order to allow people to speak up.

And I think that’s a really important point because we can’t always go in talking about how good things are. We have to talk about the challenges we have to be able to problem solve, but we don’t want to, we don’t want to get so sucked into the negativity that we can’t move out of it, but we don’t want to be so up here in the clouds that somebody else can’t talk about. What they’re experiencing. And so it really is just being in tune with your particular team and what’s going to work for them and allowing them to be able to bring that forward.

Well you just brought up a perfectly common myths around mindset and positivity. People think positivity is this like, oh, everything’s glorious and rosy and it’s like, no positivity is seeing the wards, seeing the things that aren’t going well, acknowledging them, but finding a way to move forward, like about resilience being resilience and mindset are very connected because you’re able to see the challenges, frame them in a way that helps you move forward and continue to improve.

Well, and they’ve studied optimistic people for years, trying to figure out what makes some people more optimistic than others. You know, they’ve done twin studies and sibling studies and diet and all of those kinds of things. And, and the research shows that people who are optimistic still get mad, they still get angry.

They still stumped screaming shit, which is great because Hey, I’m in that category, right. I can vent with the best of them, but what they found compared to people who were pessimistic, negativistic or apathetic, is that they did one thing better than the other three groups. And that one thing came down to problem solving.

They moved faster from what is it to, what am I going to do about it from problem identification into problem solving. And so when we look at how do we make ourselves more optimistic? It’s not putting a smile on our face. It’s not by having our head up in the clouds, but it’s about being able to move ourselves through the emotion, through the frustration and the anger and go from what is it? Okay. So what am I going to do about it? How am I going to get there? What’s my next step? Who can I talk to? How am I going to take care of myself? Going back to that SOS principle.

Love it and those are things that are so topical for individuals and organizations, but also for leaders and executive leaders in the organization to really understand this is going on and have the frameworks for it in place. And more companies have that now, but there are still so many companies that are, that haven’t, haven’t got there yet.

Yeah, and you can call it emotional intelligence or whatever it is. But I think as leaders it’s really it’s, first of all, you need to be real. Like if you’re mad, angry, frustrated, okay.

That’s great. Like that, that makes us human and that we should be feeling some of these things as we go through some of the challenges, but modeling, not getting stuck in those. Modeling, how you move yourself forward, talking about how you move yourself forward, so that then you can model that to your team and help your team move forward through those emotions as well.

Excellent. Now, what do you see, I run in the crystal ball. What do you see happening with mental health and resilience over the next six to 12 months based on what we’ve already gone through.

A couple of things. I think mental health is going to continue to be on top of mind because I think there’s this myth that once the pandemic is over that mental health won’t be there. But what we know from previous pandemics is that there’s going to be a mental health echo pandemic, and that echo pandemic will be around 18 months to two years after everything is kind of settled down. So people are, you know, two years from now, we’re still going to be saying, I, you know, I, I don’t feel the same, you know, I, I still have trouble sleeping at night.

I don’t trust in the same way. I, I feel like when I’m waiting for the next shoe to fall. So, so understanding that, and especially if anybody was vulnerable in the first place for depression, for anxiety, For any of those things that that’s going to have a ripple out effect because we’ve spent months in isolation and telling people not to trust and you know, the ups and downs.

So it’s going to still be there. It’s not going to go away. I think we’re going to have to really focus in on team and team building and support and having supportive conversations. For me one of the big things on my list is helping leaders. Feel comfortable having those supportive conversations, using that Alec model. Whenever you get those little spidey senses where the hairs are standing up on the back of your neck, to be able to say, Hm, you know, Tim I’ve, I’ve noticed that you’ve been late the last couple of days is what’s going on. You know, and, and to be able to, to broach that and not just kind of push it off, because we, we want to be able to talk about these things earlier, rather than later.

So for me, it is about continuing to build our resiliency. What does that look like as we go forward and being able to have the supportive mental health conversations and being aware when somebody is at risk and getting them to the resources that they need as, as quickly as we can.

Excellent. There’s obviously lots more we could talk about. And mental health and resilience are such huge topics with so many implications these days, as a takeaway, what’s, what’s one thing that you’d want people to think. Okay. Yes, here, here’s something that I can go and implement with myself or my team right away.

So I’d say I’m going to pick two things because one is for ourself and that is really. I know, focusing in on the SOS principal situation, ourself and support, what am I going to do about it? How am I going to take care of myself who is there to support me and being able to answer those three questions as you move forward. And the other piece is learn how to have a supportive mental health conversation, ask, listen, encourage and check in because we need to take care of ourselves, but we also need to be able to reach out and make those connections with the people around us.

Awesome. And where can people find you? You mentioned LinkedIn.

Yeah, LinkedIn. Absolutely. I, I post a lot of stuff on LinkedIn. My website is worksmartlivesmart.com. And I do post you know, all kinds of things. I do a two minute podcast every morning on resiliency strategies that you can find. It’s the Work Smart Live Smart podcast. You know, Google play and Spotify. I repost it on LinkedIn so there’s I think 500 articles around mental health and resiliency and leadership on the website as well. So there’s lots of resources. I have infographics that you can use for conversation starters for your team.

So it’s all there. It’s free to use. I don’t can I grab your name and make it difficult for you to grab any of this stuff. You can just go right on and use it. So use the resources that are there. And if they can’t find something, send me an email and say, Hey, I can’t find anything on this. Can you help me out? And I will absolutely either find it, write it, talk about it, do something to, to support you in that way.

Wonderful. And I will make sure I put those links in the show notes. And we’ll have a direct link to your website. And I’ll put a little notes on the Alec acronym and the SOS principle as well.

So we can, people can remember that. Well, Beverly has been awesome chatting and I look forward to the next time we get to connect in person. Hopefully that is sometime soon. And it’s it’s been far too long and I’m a hugger as well. So we can have a big hug at some point, yes. Virtual hug for now, and looking forward to reconnecting with some other people in the caps community.

Awesome. Like I said, if there’s anything I can do to support you or to support any of your, your followers, I’d be glad to do that. Just reach out to me and I can’t wait until we can have a face to face across the table kind of conversation. Awesome.

Thank you again.

 

Thank you for listening to the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your experiences and how you’ve applied tips from the show to your daily life.

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We’ll see you on the next episode.

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