Wellbeing is a problem – full stop.
In fact, in the last 10 years hundreds of publications have researched this and the many layers that contribute to this problem in the academic world. This ranges from the invisible (unbillable) work to the impact of COVID, gender differences, perfectionism, precarious employment, cultural problems, student wellbeing, and responsibilities – just to name a few. Pivot to look at PhD students, who are the current and future academics, and mental illness is not uncommon.
Having lived experience of this, I can see the academic world has it’s own unique complexities however there are many factors that I have also seen that are evident across all industries. That is, the impact of COVID, culture, perfectionism, gender differences and invisible (or unbillable work). So, although I share from the academic perspective, this is translatable across multiple industries.
Shining light on this is the first step, the next is to have active strategies to improve it!
How do we hit the reset button?
Having tangible skills to address mental and physical wellbeing are not actively taught at universities or within school environments. So, our current and future workforce may be lacking these ‘soft skills’ that impact all layers of our communication, resilience and ability to show up at work. I say ‘soft skills’ BUT these are the skills that build emotional intelligence, self-awareness and leadership. These are the skills that buffer us from overwhelm, burnout and absenteeism from work.
So instead of ‘soft skills’ lets reframe these into ‘key skills’.
Rather than being a reactive conversation where your manager awkwardly asks – what do you think you need right now? As you sit in the office chair overwhelmed, crying and burnout out. Let it be a conversation we normalise and be proactive when it comes to our wellbeing. This is NOT your boss’ responsibility, NOT your organisations responsibility. It starts with each of us as individuals, where we all need to take responsibility for our own mental and physical wellbeing.
So let’s learn together. Build the skills to be proactive. Create a workforce that have grit, resilience and drive.