Welcome to the Weekly Well-Being Connection! Each week we will share advice from our clinical experts on ways to care for your mental health and well-being throughout COVID-19.
This week we are excited to have Adam Rossow, the Data and Fiscal Specialist on the Colorado Spirit Team, share a post. Prior to joining the Colorado Spirit Team at AllHealth Network, Adam worked as a CPA and was no stranger to intense and long work days. Adam was kind enough to share with the team some of the lessons and perspectives he has gained during his work with the Colorado Spirit team.
To start this blog, I think it is prudent for all the readers to take a moment and have some self-reflection. As part of this reflection, I want you to ask yourself these questions:
- In the last 3-6 months, have you worked more than 40 hours in any given week?
- In the last 3-6 months, have you worked more than 8 hours in any given day?
- If you answered yes, to either of those questions, did working those hours fulfill your needs or did they fulfill someone or something else’s needs?
- If it did not fulfill your needs, did working those extra hours make you any happier than you were the day(s) or week(s) prior?
…… I’ll wait……
Statistically, the answer to questions 1 and 2 are “yes.” This article from July 2020 reports that in our new remote world, the average work week has increased by 4 hours a week, which works out to about 48 minutes of extra work per day.
I will admit that I am guilty of all of it, working more for someone else and not making myself happy. All in the name of “because that’s how it has always been.” All at the cost of our mental health, which we are only now starting to realize is as important as our physical health. In my 10+ years in public accounting I have watched countless people burn out. I’ve witnessed people mentally crumble before my very eyes in many different ways from, hysterical crying, alcohol use, isolation, and even some harmful thoughts. In my younger years in public accounting, we used to wear these long days like a badge of honor often comparing who worked the most hours during the week, or who worked the most consecutive hours a day(s). Even in today’s mainstream culture “the grind” is glamorized. This glamorization makes it seem that in order to achieve the wealth and fame of the well-known billionaires/millionaires like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Grant Cardone, etc. that we must, in the words of Rihanna “work, work, work, work, work, work.”
Fast-forward to today, I have several dozen gray hairs and a couple pieces of hard earned wisdom to share with you. The first is that breaking bad habits is hard. I find myself overwhelmed with the thoughts and anxiety around work even to this day. Things like “do I have time to take my son to the park,” the belief that I have to check my email first thing in the morning or last thing at night, or this feeling that someone is always watching what I’m doing. These are the actions and questions that rob me of what is commonly referred to as “filling your cup.” Those things do not fill my cup or make me happy. In fact, they do the exact opposite, and cause sleep loss and anxiety. When I stop my irrational brain from taking over, the answer to those questions are, “yes, you have plenty of time,” “no, actually you don’t have to,” and “no one is watching you physically or virtually” – I can then feel a sense of relief and I actually find myself more productive.
The second parcel of wisdom is our memories of things that negatively impact us are short lived, but regret sticks with us forever. The negative feelings and thoughts of working 60-75 hours a week from January through April 15th were swept away with a couple weekends of spring-time air and 18 holes of golf. In hindsight time is the only commodity which we cannot replace. Those hours spent blinding myself by computer screen at midnight, have cemented their place in history. I can never go back and go to that opening day baseball game. I can never go back and make that birthday party. I can never go back and spend those hours with friends creating stronger bonds. The work we do every day is never so important that it needs to fill us with regrets and steal away the most precious commodity of time. The work will be there tomorrow and that report can usually be turned in that next morning. So take the time to do the things that complete you and make you happy, because there is only one opening day and one birthday party, but you have the rest of your life to work.
Would speaking to someone help?
For information about other services at AllHealth Network or to get connected with ongoing behavioral health support, please call: 303-730-8858.
AllHealth Network is continuing to provide service via telehealth or by phone and our Crisis Walk-in Center remains open 24/7. To learn more about what other community mental health centers are doing, please visit The Colorado Behavioral Health Council COVID-19 website.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255.