As part of Stress Awareness Month, I have been sharing with my team various tips and tricks on how to handle stress in the work environment. This is not part of my job description but, it’s important to acknowledge how stress plays a factor in our day to day lives, even at our jobs. So, to help my team out, I’ve suggested:
· Breathing techniques
· Making time for hobbies
· How to adapt when in stressful situations and
· Surrounding ourselves with positive people
I also include motivational quotes with any tips I provide, and these things can be implemented at work and in the home. The team members are appreciative and have expressed that the tips do help them manage their stress.
During a recent coaching session with one of my new team members, I recommended that she speak to a therapist and let her know that our company offers free sessions. The first thing I noticed was her face. It had the all too familiar, “You’re crazy,” look that everyone gives me when I recommend therapy. It seems that over the years no matter where I go or who I talk to, the topic of therapy or counseling seems taboo amongst African Americans. No one seems open to the option of sitting down and talking to someone about their problems or issues, or willing to discuss it being a possibility. Many of us probably have family members who were diagnosed with some sort of mental disorder but, we describe them as the crazy cousin, brother, or uncle. We are even raised to believe that African Americans, by nature, are strong across the board and if something is going on, give it to God in prayer.
I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with praying but, the health issues caused by stress are real and sometimes professional help is needed. As an African American man, I’ve had my share of denial about my mental health until I became so stressed out that my family almost didn’t recognize me. I was stuck in a job where I was not being challenged, felt unappreciated, and to be quite honest, I hated my situation. I would have endless conversations with my wife about what I was feeling and we both prayed about my situation. I continued to come home every day, angry and dissatisfied, continuing to feel like nothing was working and that nothing would change. My family meant everything to me, so I knew something had to give. It was at this point that I decided to make an appointment with a therapist.
It took about 3 or 4 sessions for me to start feeling better. It felt good to talk to someone who didn’t know me, wasn’t biased in their thought process, and not feel like I was being judged. I have been blessed with some great friends who have listened but talking to a therapist felt different. This therapy was good for my soul.
I am here to tell you that there is no shame in seeing a mental health professional. If you have the resources through your job, take advantage of what’s available. Sometimes the cost of these services prevents people from getting the help they need. Be sure to check for any free options provided by your community. It is amazing what a Google search will show you these days. The management of our stress can sometimes come down to just being willing to be open to new ways of coping and then, testing them out.
So, be sure to take care of your soul.
Most would probably describe me as an aspiring writer, but who am I kidding? There is no such thing as being an aspiring writer, either you’re a writer or you’re not. Writing has been a passion my entire life and maybe one day I can use it to change the world. I currently reside in one of the greatest places in the south, Atlanta, Georgia. I consider myself a fan of the arts, music and anything that’s inspirational. I also consider myself an avid comic book fan; yes, Marvel is better than DC and no Batman doesn’t fly. I’m a father and husband 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and my daytime job is leading a team of HR representatives. I have written for organizations such as Sticking2Positivity, PerfectlyBlack and UmojaLife to name a few. Some of you may not remember MySpace but I used to blog there to.
To keep up with Chauncey Kelsey on social media, he can be found on Instagram.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS/PITCHES:
The month of May covers Lupus Awareness. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that's rarely easy to diagnose, extremely challenging to treat and live with, and currently has no cure. We are encouraging people to gain a better understanding of this illness so we're accepting submissions/pitches from people who have it, and those who have family members/friends who've had it or currently living with it. True understanding opens the door for compassion and empathy and with any chronic illness, this is always necessary. This is what we hope to achieve with your stories.
May is also Mental Health Month. We already devote every Monday to mental health so of course we're going to acknowledge and highlight post for this throughout the month. As a country, we focus a lot on our physical appearance, leaving our mental health to fend for itself. However, there are some people who take it very seriously and maintain their mental health on a daily. We're interested in hearing what your support groups and selfcare look like, what your battles involve, and how we can all be more empathetic towards those living with mental illness.
Please send all pitches/submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you!