Employee Appreciation Day (Friday, March 4, 2022) is an opportunity for MSU employees to reflect on how you prioritize your mental health, how you talk about it with your supervisors, and how supervisors can show appreciation by supporting the mental health of their employees. Emphasize rest and recognition, learn about your self-care preferences and learn how to utilize the resources available to you!
Why we prioritize
Mental health should be treated like physical health. It should be discussed as normally as physical illnesses especially because physical and mental health can be connected. We should prioritize mental health because it has spent so long in the background. To break that cycle, put your mental health first and make it part of your everyday conversations.
Other reasons to prioritize mental health include:
- Having high job demands makes it easy to put work over mental health, but it is not worth it in the long run
- In a time of mostly online interactions, some of the natural in-person social interactions that are missing can inadvertently lower well-being
- Therapy is still stigmatized, and prioritizing mental health helps release that
Becoming burnt out at work is easier than you might think, and the best way to tackle or prevent burnout is self-care. Engaging in self-care in the simplest terms is making sure that as you prioritize work, you also prioritize sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Other suggestions for self-care include:
- Unplugging when social media and news get overwhelming
- Treat yourself with compassion no matter how you respond to burnout
- Enjoy the little things like an ice cream cone or some alone time with your pet
- Close your laptop at the end of the workday and do your best not to open it again until the morning
- Seek out help from an expert rather than relying on yourself or your team for mental health related answers
Start the conversation with your team
You don’t have to be the supervisor on your team to start a discussion around mental health. Use empathy to address situations regarding mental health and give space your coworkers space to speak openly about their experience. If you aren’t sure how to start the conversation, use the MSU resources linked below and ease into it.
If you are a supervisor, here are four ways you can show appreciation for your team in support of their mental wellbeing:
- Show sincere interest in the needs, hopes and dreams of other people
- Watch for signs of burnout in yourself and others
- Demonstrate a willingness to help others and refer to appropriate resources
- Lead with compassion to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture
Michigan State University recognizes the value of its employees and to show appreciation for the important work we all do, the university’s Worklife Office provides a variety of resources to support our wellbeing:
- Mental Health at Work Guide
- Well-Being at Work Conference Session Recordings
- Worklife Office Home Page
- SourceLive Article on Burnout
Take a moment this Employee Appreciation Day to not only be thanked by those around you but also by your body as you begin to prioritize and destigmatize your own mental health.