At Copperleaf®, we are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our employees, especially during these challenging times. As the pandemic continues on, many people are feeling increased levels of stress and anxiety, and the transition to a remote environment has impacted the way we live and work. We hosted a panel discussion in November to explore strategies to manage change, establish healthy boundaries, and take care of ourselves during times of uncertainty.
This session was facilitated by Bena Stock, a registered clinical counselor and mental health specialist, and featured our fellow Copperleafers as panelists:
- Miranda Alldritt, President
- Jarell Alvarez, Product Designer
- Nick Cavallo, Account Executive
- Sofia Lord, Human Resources Coordinator
Bena highlighted the importance of self-awareness in helping us recognize our body’s natural responses to stress. By paying attention to what happens to our body when we feel anxious, we can better manage how we respond to negative emotions and worrisome thoughts and consciously expand our level of tolerance for uncertainty and change. Conversely, avoiding the things that make us anxious only reinforces our avoidance strategies.
Sofia spoke about her experience managing Copperleaf’s onboarding process during a period of rapid growth. Feeling overwhelmed by her workload, Sofia chose to openly share her concerns with her team, which gave her colleagues the chance to provide support and help alleviate her feelings of anxiety. This allowed her to trust her team more and ultimately, provide an extraordinary onboarding experience for our new employees.
Nick shared some strategies he employs to diffuse high-tension conversations. He emphasized the importance of approaching difficult situations in an open and honest way to address the root causes of conflict. He also encouraged the use of emotional labeling (the practice of identifying what you are feeling as you’re experiencing it in order to create distance from your reaction) to verbally acknowledge what you and the other party are feeling and provide the opportunity to gain control over emotions. This not only eliminates the risk of miscommunication but also allows both parties to work together to reach an agreement.
Continuing on the topic of boundaries, Bena explained how developing personal and professional boundaries can enhance our relationship with ourselves and others:
Boundaries help us create and maintain space for what’s most important to our values. They also strengthen our interpersonal relationships by encouraging mutual respect. Learning when to say no is the first step to setting healthy boundaries.
Miranda talked about the importance of setting boundaries in her work as a member of Copperleaf’s leadership team. When dealing with uncertainty, she suggested focusing our energy on what we can control and recognizing what is outside our control. When boundaries are unclear, it becomes difficult to strike the right balance and take the time and space needed to recharge, which can be harmful to our relationships inside and outside of the workplace. She explained why engaging in open and honest dialogue to manage expectations and avoid burnout is important.
Jarell reflected on how setting healthy boundaries has helped him in his work and personal life. Like many of us, Jarell described himself as a people pleaser. He had difficulty turning down requests and as a result, continually felt overwhelmed and exhausted. He realized that this was impacting his mental health and decided to make a concerted effort to find a healthy balance. Understanding how to prioritize what we consider to be important and knowing when to say no can help us let go of resentment, promote self-care, and maintain healthy relationships.
We are thankful to Bena for leading this interactive session and our panelists for sharing their personal experiences on managing change and boundaries. We look forward to our next mental health awareness session.
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