But it can be hard to see those gestures as genuine, given that the same employers often expect people to work too many hours without breaks, discourage them from taking real time off, and ignore the stressors in their employees’ lives, from lack of child care to not earning a living wage.
Irritatingly, the push for self-care often burdens employees with additional demands on their time while preventing them from doing the work that could actually relieve some of their stress.
Moreover, the push for reflection and self-care is often remarkably out-of-touch with the realities of employees’ lives…
What’s perhaps most frustrating about the workplace self-care lip service is that often the employers espousing it aren’t doing the things they actually could do to improve employees’ lives and mental health, like providing good health insurance, reasonable workloads, and plentiful vacation time. Those are things they’re uniquely positioned to offer … but it’s easier (read: cheaper) to send out emails about yoga or bubble baths.
The key emphasis here is that these additional demands take even more of people’s time which makes things even worse for them. In effect, that’s the biggest problem. People are already overloaded with having to work in different ways due to the pandemic and they lack the time and space to stay afloat mentally and emotionally, let alone have the time for self-care.
My wife is a school teacher and she’s experiencing this same very thing at work. Her administration is saying that they “care about their mental health” in one sentence and then overloading them with more emails to read and additional tasks to perform in the next sentence.
What people need to be given right now is more time and space, not less, to mentally and emotionally process what they’re going through. Anything else is effectively just “lip service” and shows that you actually don’t care about the mental health and well-being of your own people over your own needs and profits.