A Recruiter not writing about counter offers!

We’ve started putting together blogs across Detail2Recruitment as a business and initially I was really excited about it but I kept getting stuck on what to write about. Honestly it was like I was back in uni again and struggling to write an essay. I knew I wanted it to be something I was passionate about, but I didn’t want to come across as ‘just another recruiter writing about how terrible counter offers are’ (incidentally I am a recruiter and counter offers are ridiculous) but then it occurred to me to write about Mental Health in the workplace.

The reason it occurred to me to write about this is because just recently my mental health has been terrible and less than 2 weeks ago I thought I was dying.

 That sounds so dramatic but I can’t explain it any other way.

I was in the board room here at work after having a call with my line manager who was working from home that day. We had a lovely catch up about the day ahead and I was heading back into the main office and then BAM, a wave of pure terror washed over me. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t breathe. I had pins and needles. I was dizzy. I thought I was going to be sick and I was really, really frightened.

I had suffered from panic attacks before so I knew what I was experiencing but I really can’t recall the last time I was so scared. Those few minutes seemed to last forever. My mind wasn’t my own and it threw me off in a big way. The only way I can explain it is, it felt like I had so much energy bolting through me that I could have sprinted a marathon there and then (and believe me, I’m not a runner!) but at the same time I was totally zapped of energy and could have quite easily slept for days.

I wish I could say my anxiety quickly passed but it didn’t. If anything the next few days passed in a blur. I was drained and felt sick pretty much constantly. I was on edge about everything, questioning everything I did and if you’ve ever had any dealings with me as a candidate, client, colleague or anything else then you’ll know that’s just not me. It quickly started to take over and I really didn’t want to let it.

I was very open about how I was feeling. I spoke with my line manager, my colleagues, my partner, my parents, my grandparents, my doctor and now here I am typing this out because it’s so important not to bottle things up! It would have been pretty easy for me to have just gone under the radar about this (I’ve done that in previous jobs before and it’s had further negative impacts on my mental health, productivity, wellbeing and just general existence if I’m being honest with you), but this time I was super open about it and I’m so glad.  

We’re seeing so much around Mental Health awareness in the workplace nowadays and that’s fantastic but personally I really do think that there’s so much further to go.

-         One in six workers experience mental health problems including anxiety and depression

-         14% agreed they had resigned and 42% had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them

-         30% of staff disagree with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stress’

-         56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the correct training or guidance to be able to do so

A really scary factor about struggling with mental health is that it can creep up at any point. There doesn’t have to be a specific reason. I work in a job which is pressurised, of course I have a lot of support with the business I am part of and I’m really passionate about what I do. I like to think I do a good job but targets are targets and it’s important to be able to step back in any role you’re in and know that if you’re doing the right things at the right time, if you’re doing what you say you’re going to do and you’re giving it your very best, that IS good enough!

-         Be mindful about the news you take in. The world is a scary place let’s be honest! If you’re in a bad headspace and you’re sticking on the news and seeing nothing but negativity and destruction that’s not going to help things.

-         Social media! Do NOT get pulled into the illusion of people’s “perfect” lives on Facebook, Instagram and all that. 99% of the time it’s not real. You can’t allow yourself to compare yourself to everyone else all the time.

-         Monitor your alcohol levels. I can’t drink the way I used to and that’s probably a good thing! Hangovers kill me off completely for days and it’s not even just headaches and feeling rubbish it’s (anxiety kicking in) questioning every single thing you’ve done. Did I say this? Did I do that? It’s not a nice headspace to be in at all so be careful of it.

-         Exercise! This is such a cliché and I remember going to the doctor years ago because my mental health had literally been so bad that I’d struggled to even get out of bed. The doctor basically said ‘a bit of fresh air would do me good’ and to ‘go for a nice walk’. I could have killed him. It had taken all the energy I had to even make it from the waiting room to the doctor’s office but sure, let’s go for a hike, BUT on reflection he had a point. I joined the gym a couple of months ago and it’s fantastic. It means I can clear my mind by focusing on one set thing there and then and there’s all that other stuff about endorphins and whatnot. Like I said earlier I’m not a runner but even just moving and being a bit more active makes a massive difference

-         Look after yourself! Self care is a real thing! Whether it’s putting your phone on airplane mode for a few hours and making yourself less accessible, whether it’s treating yourself to a haircut or getting stuck into a new book – Do what works for you!

I am so lucky to work for a company who are supportive of mental health. They offer things such as flexible working and the option to work remotely through to being given a guest pass to a session at Hot Yoga by one of my directors (cheers Mike!) and being bought biscuits and given a constant supply of support and encouragement from the entire team. I will never be able to thank Detail2 enough for the amount of support, structure and guidance they’ve given me over the past 3 years and a bit; all play such a huge part in my mental health. My wellbeing is so much better than it once was.

I’m not a therapist. I’m not a psychiatrist. You might be reading this and thinking ‘what the hell does this none running recruitment consultant know about mental health?’ but I’ve dealt with it myself, I’ve seen it first hand and I do believe that there’s so much more to be done across the board in workplaces to provide support for people suffering and it starts from within the workplace itself.

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