To say this has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions would be an understatement. In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, I felt capable. Blindsided, but capable. I have always prided myself on being resilient, and while it felt akin to blunt force trauma how swiftly our industry (and the world) got winded, the early days felt manageable.
As unprecedented and challenging as they were, there was a sense of purposeful and functional operationalisation that needed to occur in those initial weeks – all fuelled by adrenalin and a sense of camaraderie with my peers and team. It felt scary, but also at times exciting. Adrenalin can be a strange beast. And then we slowly adjusted and settled into our ‘for-now normal’.
It’s only now, with the early days behind us and no clear end in sight, that I have found myself floored – both physically and mentally. The dark side of adrenalin-fuelled working habits remain regardless of a pandemic. Eventually you will fall in a heap.
For me, the answer was to openly take some mental health days.
The relentlessness of the past two months has caught up with me, and as talk now shifts to future planning, I need to be honest with myself and others. That means admitting that before I can level-up and go again, I must first stop, recharge & restart, in order to be a strong leader in this next phase.
I have learnt that the only person that controls how I cope mentally is me. Only I can set my boundaries, and only I can stick to them. The industry and the economic challenges we face will not be subsiding anytime soon – it’s how we choose to face them that will define our success.
I’m choosing to face the future with a commitment to allow myself to be honest and vulnerable with my colleagues, ensuring I lead from the front when it comes to mental health awareness and empathy.
Let’s genuinely be in this together by all facing the future in the same way – for the good of our industry and our people.