The media and self-help industry offer a lot of bad advice on how to ease burnout: Be here now. Suffer through a resilience workshop. Dance to your favorite song (no, really — I witnessed a PhD-level psychologist prescribing this as a burnout remedy in a webinar for mental health coaches).
Now, in a post called Burnout: Small Changes Lead to Big Results (soon to be followed by an infographic), the American Psychiatric Association weighs in with its own tepid, unfounded advice, cloaked in a veneer of evidence: “Remind leaders…; Find opportunities…; Remind everyone…; Find ways…; Evaluate and ensure…; Consider part of the job… Find ways.”
“Small Changes, Big Impact“? Well, the first half is true.
There’s no reason to think the Association’s tips will lead to any impact at all — big or small. To suggest otherwise is as dismissive of the pain of hardworking people as… well, as advice to dance to your favorite song.
I don’t mean to throw shade on the American Psychiatric Association. They don’t have much to work with. Nearly 50 years ago, psychologists came up with some compelling ideas about burnout. All these years later, we have no meaningful advice to offer employers — and no response to the folk remedies hawked by the self-help, HR consulting, and burgeoning mental health industries — because the research has been nothing other than a hot mess ever since.
Maybe it’s time for a reset? I’ll say more about this in a future post.
I’m honored to be among the distinguished slate of speakers presenting at Impairment Without Disability 2021, where I’ll discuss the science behind “Designing Jobs People Want To Do.”
IWD 2021 promises “No fluff, no fodder.” YES! We need more conference hosts that respect our work — and the employees we serve — enough not to waste our time with celebrities, motivational speakers, athletes, and new-age wonks who have no idea what we do. Those speakers may give attendees a lift during the hour of their presentation, but the growth that comes from information, case studies, and idea-sharing can last a lifetime and facilitate results that spread exponentially.
If you’re interested in supporting the wellbeing of sick or injured workers, join us at this year’s all-virtual IWD Conference 2021, November 18. Register here.
Check out conference organizer Jason Parker’s LinkedIn post, below, for more info.
Near the end of our 2020 Wrap-Up on the Redesigning Wellness podcast, host Jen Arnold asks me about Jozito LLC’s plans for 2021, which gave me a chance to explain how employers can offer Mental Health First Aid training to support their leaders, managers, and workforce at large. The section starts around minute 52:00 (the YouTube version below should go right there). And, below, I’ve provided a summary (adapted from the podcast), in question and answer format. Continue reading »
At the end of each year, a hush falls over the world, as it awaits the arrival of…
…the annual end-of-year wellness wrap-up that Jen Arnold and I record for her Redesigning Wellness podcast! It’s here!
This year was no different. Of course, this year was completely different, but Jen and I still managed to offer some reflections on 2020 in employee wellness. Unlike previous years, this time we forgot to prepare for took a pass on the nerding out on analysis of peer-reviewed studies that have tested the patience of delighted audiences in years past.
Predictions? Oh, we have predictions. We’ve got nothing. Our best shot at predictions were: Continue reading »
Work-from-home, social connection, telehealth, social justice, mental health… and, of course, the COVID-19 disease itself have been the hot topics of 2020 in the employee wellbeing world.
Meanwhile, the US wellness industry — the business of employee wellbeing — grinds on, with a slew of trends and transactions that foretell its future. Here, I’ve summarized the commercial patterns and milestones that signal which doors are closing and which may open. Continue reading »
I’ve fessed up about two of my employee mental health flops. But I’ve had successes, too, including providing health care workers with one of the best-proven opportunities to get stress under control.
The scene was a large population of employees at a major medical center, where I served as employee wellness program manager, and partnered with our internal Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to offer the Yale Work and Family Stress Program. EAP counselors went to Yale to get trained on the program, and made a few adaptions suitable for our health care worker population. Continue reading »
In her incisive Redesigning Wellness interview with Julian Reif (principal investigator of the Illinois Workplace Wellness Study), Jen Arnold elicits answers to controversial questions like how the research team defined “comprehensive program” and why they believe their randomized study design “cancels out” most previous wellness program study findings.
Thanks Jen (and thank you for the shout-outs), and thank you, Julian Reif.
Essential listening for wellness leaders who care about results. Click below to go to the podcast episode page:
Podcast interviewers and conference organizers often ask me to talk about my mistakes and failures. Thank you very much.
It’s okay; I get it. Others can learn from our mistakes and also take solace in the fact that we all make them. Listening to some presenter prattle on about how perfect their programs are—especially when they’re from companies with nearly unlimited resources—can be discouraging rather than inspiring. (Besides, if our professional social media is pervaded exclusively by self-promotion and ungrounded thought leadership, it’s hard to grow in a way that’s relevant to the real-life work environment.)
For some reason, two of my professional flops fell in the realms of mental health and emotional well-being. Continue reading »
I’ve had the pleasure of co-presenting with Rajiv on several occasions, and the conversations always take a turn toward the unexpected. I elaborate on my latest passion, job crafting, and how it may surpass other popular solutions for health-related job stress, burnout, and disengagement.
Rajiv brings his unique perspective as a community-minded entrepreneur, physician, and vendor. I’m always enriched by our conversations, and I think you will be, too.