In early 2021, some of the TrackTik team sat down in the Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity (DIBE) Committee’s latest virtual roundtable to discuss topics at the intersection of mental health and work. This interactive exchange, designed to welcome ideas, perspectives, and thoughts without judgement or bias had 55 Tracktikers in attendance.
TrackTik’s DIBE Committee learned of the interest TrackTikers had in having these sorts of conversations after the success of the first roundtable in December, focused on unconscious bias in the workplace. As such, it was determined to continue providing these platforms for employees to feel validated and be openly vulnerable about experiencing all sorts of issues. In this particular roundtable, brave TrackTikers opened up about coming up against mental health issues and seeking medical attention. Some of the topics that we touched on included anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and insomnia, and the overall impact of COVID-19 on these conditions.
Having these conversations is important to us because they have an incredibly normalizing impact. As we discovered in this roundtable, a lot of TrackTikes share common struggles when it comes to mental health, and speaking about it openly proved to be cathartic and validating for those who did, and even though those who silently listened in but felt identified. There were many wonderful moments where people were giving tips and tricks, advice, and suggested coping mechanisms for the conditions we were discussing. A couple of the suggestions that came up included deep breathing, incorporating yoga into one’s daily routine, starting a new hobby (some TrackTikers started astrophotography), learning how to clarify one’s needs and boundaries with others, and talking to someone when needed.
In addition to the wellness suggestions made by our employees over time that we have implemented at the office and to our culture, TrackTik also offers benefit schemes so that TrackTikers can access the resources they need at any time. Among these are Akira – a 24/7 telehealth app that connects people to doctors for secure medical consultations on their phone or computer – and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through which TrackTikers can get confidential support at all times for anything ranging from mental health to nutrition to financial planning. These resources are meant to ensure that our employees have as many of the tools that they need to feel supported.
In taking stock of the conversation, we realized that mental health affects all of us in different but relatable ways, and especially that we can have these sorts of exchanges and discussions within the workplace too. While the sense of accomplishment and the obligation that we sometimes feel to be positive, and uplift our colleagues, that come with work are extremely valid sentiments, we also recognized that we are more than our work, and that setting boundaries and disconnecting when necessary is important. After all, we bring not only all of our efforts to our work every day, but also our whole selves.
Here are some specific tips and resources that were mentioned by TrackTikers:
- Communicate: clarify your needs to others, define boundaries, talk to help lines or medical professionals when you need it and support others by practicing active listening while refraining from giving advice.
- Ground yourself: practice yoga (a TrackTiker specifically mentioned anulom vilom), meditation including vipassana meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing exercises (with apps such as Respirelax+, Breath of Fire, Calm), remove work notifications from your phone and read physical books to prevent scrolling on your devices.
- Improve personal habits: define a pre-sleeping routine to get your body ready to rest (e.g. dim lights, reduce caffeine intake), exercise (with apps such as Décat’Coach or FitOn), focus on healthy eating habits, take a walk before and after work, spend time outside, maintain a gratitude journal, create a vision boards.
- Take time to focus on yourself: sing out loud, start a new hobby (some TrackTikers mentioned having gotten started with astrophotography), listen to podcasts (Nothing Much Happens was recommended to fight insomnia) or white noise, watch comedy, do what makes you happy before even getting started with work.
We hope you are able to put some of these recommendations in practice to maintain a good mental health.