Feeling Emotional? It Might Be Time to Ask for Help

It’s no secret I believe that doing good is good business. That’s what my book, Lifecircle Leadership, is all about. Since the pandemic began, those of us who are leaders have had a unique opportunity to do good, supporting those on our team (more about that in a previous blog post here). In the past few weeks, the second wave of COVID-19 has hit, and all of us at Loretto are feeling it. I’m sure many of you are feeling the same way. How do we know when these feelings have gone too far? When is it time to ask for help? I want to share some insight into the emotions we’re all experiencing, and when you should consider speaking up.

To start, I want to share a recent LinkedIn post from Meredith, our director of nursing at Loretto:

“Today has already been a hard day. Today was the first day in a long time that I closed my office door and cried. I didn’t cry because today was significantly more stressful than yesterday… I didn’t cry because I felt defeated…I cried because I’m human and let my emotions pour out. We are in the midst of our second COVID wave with positive residents and staff. I’m mentally and physically exhausted but so is my team. Every time I take myself “down that road,” I close my eyes and I visualize my team. I think of the single mother that is working doubles on the floor for me 6 days a week to keep our staffing up while she has young kids at home. I think of my RCU Nurses staying over 12 hours a day to ensure everyone gets the best care in the covid unit while others are on quarantine. I think about the Manager who basically sleeps at the building to ensure our staffing, compliance and care outcomes are met daily. It only took a minute or two for me to wipe my eyes, put my n95 back on, and adjust my face shield. The floor is where I belong when I have days like today, because the floor is what keeps reminding me all the good that God has given. Feeling grateful at the end of this day watching my team. Counting my blessings and praying for my residents and colleagues.”

This captures Lifecircle Leadership in a crisis – feeling like you’re too exhausted to go on, but pressing forward because you have empathy and compassion for your team, a team you want to support. For Meredith, that translates to wiping her tears, putting her mask and face shield back on, and heading back to the floor to work beside those on her team. This is also an emotional response many of us can probably relate to in times of crisis – a healthy way of taking time to express our emotions.

So how do we know when we cross the line into unhealthy emotional territory? Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Feeling sad and/or crying often
  • Struggling to get motivated to go about your day
  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Struggling to sleep
  • Having suicidal thoughts

If you see yourself in any of these situations for a couple of weeks, consider reaching out to someone. Think of a family member, friend, mentor, boss, religious leader, or someone else you feel comfortable confiding in. Understandably, asking for help may feel weak and awkward, but the reality is it is an act of courage and strength.