May is "Mental Health Awareness Month". I'm not sure I can remember a more important time to acknowledge this and have a real conversation about mental health.
Luckily, I see a positive change in our firms; there is more of a willingness to have the conversation, continue the conversation, and show vulnerability when it comes to the topic of mental health.
I have asked some of our marketing friends to share how they are trying to avoid burnout and how they are looking after themselves. Burnout is an issue I've been watching closely (and providing data on). It is a very real topic for marketers right now. Put another way, self-care is critically important and these marketers capture this sentiment beautifully.
These sentiments highlight good self care and positive mental health practices for us all to take in and replicate.
Logan Tracey, NYC
Logan shares her wise words with us, and is working hard on two things: creating boundaries and being respectful of her team's work-life balance. It can be rare to find colleagues who are so respectful and thoughtful of how their actions and intentions are perceived:
"I’ve been focusing on creating boundaries for myself in 2021, and while I definitely monitor email after hours and on the weekends, I am forcing myself not to respond until work hours unless urgent.
It’s tough for me to have open items on my list when I know I can quickly handle and move onto the next thing, but I am practicing holding requests for office hours, unless it’s an emergency.
Cheryl Foster, St. Louis
Director, Practice Growth, Brown Smith Wallace
I schedule time to exercise and have been intentional about getting time alone—just for me.
Cheryl points out the importance of self-care and how this simply has to come first for her. I know many agree, and the practice of this is so incredibly hard. The "alone time" is crucial for many of us, extroverts or introverts.
"During this time, I had to learn to make self-care a priority. I schedule time to exercise and have been intentional about getting time alone—just for me. For all the working parents out there, I'm sure you understand how challenging that can be!
Roy Sexton, Detroit
Director of Marketing, Clark Hill Law
I’m also more forthcoming than I’ve ever been with colleagues and leaders about what I need for balance, and the response has been positive.
Roy is a shining beacon for all of us. His ability to share and show vulnerability with his work family is inspirational:
“I do feel like I’ve been burning the candle at every end possible. I’m not sure there’s any wick left! That said, I’ve also found this to be a strangely rewarding time because it has, at times, leveled the playing field, allowed us marketers to drive our firms toward digital tactics that actually work, and has afforded us a kind of singular focus one rarely gets in this career. But that comes at a price – low energy, neglected relationships, no exercise, spending far too much money at Amazon.
Tahisha Fugate, DC
Senior Manager, DEI Client Development, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
Calm is a super power.
Tahisha's self-awareness on how to support your ideal life is incredibly empowering. Making deliberate decisions to live intentionally gives us control at a level we all strive for:
"Get into the habit of asking yourself, 'does this support the life I’m trying to create?'
If you are trying to create a more intentional and mindful life, you have to make hard decisions to rid yourself of the things, people, jobs that don’t support that life."
Jennifer Shankleton, Cleveland
Director of Marketing, Brennan Manna Diamond
It's going to take time, patience and care to fill us all back up again. Let's continue to normalize talking about how we are really doing, and feel comfortable leaning on each other for support.
Jennifer raises the ever-important piece of this conversation, which is, we just don't have this conversation enough. And, even if we do, there's no quick fix or immediate solution:
"A comedian and mom posted to social media this week: 'We are all hanging on by a thread, right?' The comments section was full of confirmations. The consensus: we don't talk about this enough.
Just because we see the light at the end of the tunnel does not mean that we can flip a switch and we'll all be ok again.
Kellie Erlacher, Jacksonville
Director of Marketing, Lewis, Longman & Walker
I try to avoid burnout by taking short, 15 minute breaks, maybe 1-2 times a day. I used to think that powering through the work day, with no breaks at all except for a quick lunch, was the best way to work...
Kellie reminds us of the so-easily-achieved, but often pushed aside, power of small breaks. The ability to think clearly and offer a different or better perspective is so real after recognizing the importance of giving your brain a short rest:
"I try to avoid burnout by taking short, 15 minute breaks, maybe 1-2 times a day. I used to think that powering through the work day, with no breaks at all except for a quick lunch, was the best way to work. I would crash after work and often be too tired and drained to enjoy my family at the end of the day.
We are grateful and inspired by your intention, your positivity, and your relentless pursuit for happiness and well-being to continue to support mental health.
Kate Harry Shipham is the Principal of KHS People LLC, an executive search firm for BD and marketing people in professional services firms. Kate has done search and recruiting for 10 years and prior to that was an attorney. She loves what she does, and is always open to continuing the discussion: firstname.lastname@example.org
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