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October 28, 2021

Why Mental Health Days May NOT Improve Mental Health

Companies are paying closer attention to the mental well-being of their employees. The ongoing pandemic continues to present stressful situations for people. Do we go back to the office? Can I master virtual selling skills? In some cases, salespeople work even more hours because they’ve eliminated commutes. They start early and work late.

The increasing stress has led to some organizations giving their employees mental health days.  That’s a great idea, EXCEPT that many employees don’t know how to successfully use their mental health days!

A salesperson takes a mental health day only to spend the entire day ruminating about everything that is wrong with her life. A mental health day simply gives her more hours to be depressed. 

A salesperson takes a mental health day but doesn’t reap the benefits. He’s glued to his smart phone, responding to email and texts for fear of missing out (FOMO). 

This is a classic case where a company is well-intended. However, the desired outcome isn’t accomplished. If you are going to give your team a mental health day, teach them how to enjoy it BEFORE they take a day or week off. Here’s a few teaching tips.

  • Engage in gratitude. Provide your sales team with a journal. Encourage them to begin each day by writing down everything for which they are grateful. It can be as simple as a nice steaming cup of coffee. This exercise alters brain chemistry because feelings of gratitude release the feel-good hormones of dopamine and serotonin. You feel better because you are thinking better!
  • Pay attention to what you pay attention to. Give attention to what you can control in life versus what you can’t control. People often pay attention only to things out of their control, which is often external circumstances and situations. As a result, they are anxious people. They’re depressed people.
  • The reality is external factors don’t dictate one’s happiness. It’s a person’s perspective towards those events.
  • Look at two salespeople that experience a setback in sales, such as the big order that didn’t make it across the finish line. The happy salesperson pays attention to the lessons learned from that setback, knowing the lessons will help him win future business. The unhappy salesperson isn’t paying attention to lessons learned. Six months later, he ends up in the same selling situation and loses yet another deal.
  • Eliminate technology. If you are serious about taking a mental health day, give your brain a rest. Eliminate the alerts, blings and dings. The world is not going to stop because you are not responding to every little message. Sorry, none of us are THAT important. 
  • Apply the EQ skill of reality testing. The reality is that life can be hard. Encourage members of your team to read books about people that endured hardships and came out better because of the adversity. They came out better because of their perspective towards the adversity. (See point No. 2.) One such book is “The Choice” by Dr. Edith Eva Eger.  She was sent to Auschwitz at age 16. Hers is a powerful story of not letting a painful past destroy her but instead, using it as a gift to help others who have experienced traumatic events.

If you are going to give mental health days to your employees, make sure they know how to use and enjoy such a day.

Good Selling!

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  • Excellent suggestions. Mindfulness is sometimes overused, but it best describes what we and our staffs need to practice in times of stress. Thanks

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