Self-Care in the Workplace: Why It’s Important Podcast
For Your Benefits
For Your Benefits
Self-Care in the Workplace: Why It's Important
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Self-Care in the Workplace: Why It’s Important

For many employees, self-care is often seen as a luxury reserved for days off of work. However, self-care needs to be a part of an ongoing effort for better physical, social, and emotional health. In this episode of For Your Benefits, Jason Lauritsen, keynote speaker, business advisor, and leadership trainer talks with us about why self-care in the workplace is vital to both employees and managers.

Together, we discuss:

  • The importance of taking a holistic approach to self-care
  • What is self-care and why it’s vital for leaders and managers
  • How COVID-19 changed our views on self-care
  • How to discover individual approaches to self-care that work
  • What managers can do to support their teams when practicing self-care

Want to learn more about what employers can do to better address employees who need mental and emotional health support? Read our blog “COVID-19 & Greater Access to Digital Mental Health Programs” to discover why offering a digital mental health program can yield better outcomes for overall workforce health.

In This Podcast

Jason Lauritsen, Author, Self-Care in the Workplace: Why It’s Important Podcast

Jason Lauritsen

Jason Lauritsen is transforming management as a keynote speaker, trainer, and author. He liberates managers from outdated and inhumane practices so they can cultivate human potential at work and improve people’s lives. His advice and teachings are informed by decades of experience as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, and employee engagement researcher. Jason’s insights have been described as a “secret weapon” by leaders who strive to create a more engaging and human work experience for their people.

Jason is the author of two books, “Unlocking High Performance: How to Use Performance Management to Engage and Empower Employees to Reach Their Full Potential” and “Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships.”

Meghan Henry:
Hey everyone. Welcome back to For Your Benefits. I’m Meghan Henry, Director of Marketing for SentryHealth. If this is your first time joining us, thanks. In our podcast, you’ll hear forward-thinking experts discuss the latest in employee benefits, health, strategies, and leadership.

Our guest today is keynote speaker, business advisor, and leadership trainer, Jason Lauritsen. He is co-founder and CEO of Cultivayo and has authored two books, “Unlocking High Performance” and “Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships.” And last but not least, Jason has held several senior-level human resources roles.

Today, we are going to talk about self-care, but before we begin, Jason, I want to thank you for joining us today.

Jason Lauritsen:
Thanks Meghan. Thanks for having me.

Meghan Henry:
Absolutely. So let’s start off learning a little bit more about you. I’d love to hear a little bit more about what you do and what are you passionate about?

Jason Lauritsen:
Boy, how much time do we have? We’re going to talk about what I’m really passionate about in terms of work today, but I always like to step back and talk about the more important things, which is, I’m a family guy, so I’ve got married and I have three kids and a little tiny dog, a little Cheagle dog, Chihuahua/Beagle mix. My kids range from 12 years old to 24 years old so that’s kind of my passion is, at this point, anyone that has kids that age, you know that your life kind of becomes following your kids around and trying to keep up with them and support them and make sure they turn out as decent human beings. And so, that’s the big thing.

And work, my quest is to try and save the world of work, I guess, in the sense of helping convert it to be more a human experience for people. Work doesn’t have to suck, it doesn’t have to involve suffering, it should be something that gives us energy and lifts us up and gives us a vehicle to pursue the things that matter most in our lives, and that’s really what I try to do.

Importance of Employee Health and Wellbeing

Meghan Henry:
Jason, I want to kick off our discussion by talking about the importance of positive workplace wellbeing, workplace health. I know in a previous life you served in several HR roles, so from your perspective, maybe from an HR perspective, why should organizations even care about employee health and wellbeing? Why does it matter to them?

Jason Lauritsen:
Well, it’s probably not for the reasons they think. Honestly, I think there’s been a narrative. When I came into or when I first became aware of kind of this whole notion of workplace wellness was as an executive HR leader at sort of a regional bank. I was overseeing the HR team there. And I’d never seen wellness before at that point, or at least wellness as an actual well-done program. This organization was already well committed to it and it was all about health, really, for the most part, exercise and eating well and stopping smoking and all of that.

And at the time, and for however long, right, we sold the business case to our executives and to leaders that the case for wellness and wellbeing was, if we improve health, it’ll save us money on insurance and that’ll be where we drop it to the bottom line, that’s why it’s good for business. And it turned out that that business case just doesn’t work. It didn’t play out because there are too many variables we can’t control for. It’s still good to be in better health, of course, but you just can’t control it.

And what I came to realize over the last decade or decade and a half of my career was that first off, wellbeing is so much broader than just physical health. Right. And I think we’ll get into that today, but it involves all of these different dimensions that wellbeing is really the science of human flourishing, that’s what the work is.

And so, when you think about human flourishing, well, of course, that’s what we want and that’s really the business that we’re in as employers is that we have these people that give us the gift of their time and ingenuity and talents and efforts, and what we need to do is take that and convert that into performance because performance is what we need for our businesses to thrive.

And what I’ve come to understand is that wellbeing is a performance capacity issue. So the degree to which I am well, that I am healthy physically, mentally, that I feel at my best, that I have energy and I can give my best, that is the only time at which I can offer my best performance to the organization. And if I am diminished, if I’m ill, if I’m distracted, if my relationship is going off the tracks and I can’t focus, then when I show up to work in the morning, I only have a fraction of my potential to even offer as performance. And so, wellbeing is a performance capacity consideration, that’s why leaders should care, that’s why organizations should care.

And oh, by the way, and this is a really important, “oh, by the way,” is that it’s also incredibly important. If we start supporting employees and their wellbeing, it not only helps them perform better at work, but it helps them be better parents, and partners, and neighbors, and contributors to the world at large. So wellbeing, I think is probably one of the most important considerations that we have in front of us right now as employers.

Meghan Henry:
Yeah. And I know we’ve been hearing about the Great Resignation that’s happening right now and I think that employees are looking for their employers to help them with those sorts of things. We spend so much time at work and, I think, when folks are looking for new jobs or they’re looking to stay at their current jobs, they’re looking for their employers to give them really good benefits, to give them the support that they need at work and at home.

Jason Lauritsen:
Agreed. Agreed. And I think it’s a correction that’s long overdue. Right. This will be one of the silver linings, I guess, of this really horrible experience we’ve been through over the last 18 months with this pandemic is that it really brought into focus the importance of caring for individual wellbeing, of understanding people’s situations and spectrum of wellbeing that’s going on and getting upstream as employers and finding ways to help people. Because so much of what impacts wellbeing happens outside of what we traditionally think of as work hours.

And so, how do we support, how do we give our employees tools to manage their own wellbeing or to support their wellbeing even before they ever log in to work in the morning or show up to work in the morning, I think is a really important new body of work that we have.

What is Self-Care?

Meghan Henry:
So, I mentioned at the beginning of this that we’re going to specifically talk about self-care. We’ve talked about the greater sort of employee health and wellbeing, but there’s something about that, about self-care that I don’t think a lot of us even think about or consider but we really should and that’s such a big aspect of our overall wellbeing. So I’d love to hear from you. How do you define self-care?

Jason Lauritsen:
The very most simple way of thinking about it is that it’s all of the things that we do, whether that’s actions we take or ways we think, anything we do that improves our individual wellbeing. Right. That’s it very simply. So what do we do that helps our individual wellbeing? And I think you’re right that it’s very easy to overlook self-care because it sounds very touchy-feely, 1980s self-help book kind of stuff. That’s what I thought it was for a long time. It feels self-indulgent, it feels sort of not serious. But it’s incredibly important because it’s a set of tools or mindsets that help you structure your life.

Think about how you show up in your day-to-day in a way that supports you being able to be at your best. Right. We all want to flourish. And so, that’s really what self-care is about is helping us find a way that we can be better at work, we can be better in our relationships, we can be better in everything that happens every day.

Meghan Henry:
And I know that we’re often told that we should be thinking about self-care. I’m a mom of two teenagers, and constantly thinking about, “Gosh, my husband and I should go away for the weekend” or we should be doing this and that. And it is such a difficult thing to accomplish.

I think a lot of us know that it’s important, but it’s not something that’s necessarily top of mind, because whether you’re at work or whether you’re at home, there’s often a lot of people that want a lot from you, and that tends to get pushed to the wayside so often.

Jason Lauritsen:
It does. And as with anything that is really important and really valuable, it’s often hard. Right. And that it’s hard to prioritize, it’s hard to find time, that is the same issue that we have for everything. I think the key is to understand, the way to be able to prioritize this, at least for me, it goes back to, I think, about a story or an experience I had. And I didn’t realize this was about self-care at the time, but I worked for this organization. Actually, I had worked for one organization that got acquired by another organization. In the acquiring organization, I actually got a promotion. I had this wonderful, big title and a big giant office. I had all the things that someone on the outside looking in would say, “This guy has it made.” Right. “This is the job that I want.”

And I was miserable. I was miserable every day, and it got worse over time. And I started looking for another job, and it takes time, at that level, to find another job. I was an executive, you don’t just wake up one morning and apply for a job and find a new one. And so, it took me a while. At any rate, fast forward, I don’t know, probably 12 months or so, and I finally found a new job. And the day that I remember was the day that I resigned, I had gotten a new job, I went, it was my day to put in my resignation from this soul-sucking experience I had been a part of.

And I came home that night, and I got home, came in the door. I remember my wife was in the kitchen, I think, getting ready for dinner and she poured me a glass of wine, and she’s like, “How did today go?” And I started talking about the experience and how it had gone. And then we sat down to dinner and we were having dinner. And I’ll never forget her looking across the table at me and like at one point she just kind of stopped and she’s like, “God, it’s so good to see you smile.” And it really hit me that…

I mean, this story’s about a lot of things, right, it’s about tolerating bad work experiences and not realizing how much that affects you and how much you take home. But what had happened was, I thought I was compartmentalizing all of this, I thought I was dealing with this sort of drudgery that I felt I was going through at work, but I thought I was keeping it at work, that was sort of what was going on in my mind. I was protecting my family from this.

But what I found out after the fact is that, in reality, what was happening is it was degrading me and I was not caring for myself, quite the opposite, I was drinking more than I typically drink, I was not eating well, I wasn’t sleeping well. As a result, I was shorter with my kids, obviously, I wasn’t smiling, I was grumpy, I was all of these things. My family was bearing the brunt of this.

And so, this struck me really, really hard. This is when, I think, I dedicated, probably, in that moment… Or that was one of the moments when I realized my life’s work was like, “This shouldn’t be this way. This shouldn’t ever happen.” My family was the one that was protecting me as a result of this terrible job and what was happening there and I wasn’t caring for myself, I didn’t realize it.

And so, the reason I share that story is that not that self-care would’ve necessarily fixed that, but I think when we’re dialed into self-care, I would’ve been, number one, doing a lot more things to try to preserve myself. Because when you’re in a tough situation is when you need self-care more than anything. Right. I would’ve been probably paying closer attention to my sleep and my alcohol intake and my food and my exercise and whatever, whatever. Right. All the other things. And that would’ve helped increase my resiliency, which probably would’ve helped me show up differently in those relationships so they wouldn’t have had to take that brunt.

And so, that was sort of, I think, the early, early sort of seeds of self-care and the importance of self-care that has come up for me. And I keep learning. I’m a slow learner so I’ve had to keep learning this lesson over and over and over and over and over over the next 15 years or 10 years or whatever it is. But that’s why it’s important is because if you don’t take care of you, I mean, yes, you pay the price, but the people that really pay the price when you’re not caring for yourself are the people around you, the people that count on you, the relationships that matter most in your life, they’re the ones that actually get harmed. And that’s why we should care.

Importance of Management in Self-Care

Meghan Henry:
From a leadership perspective, managers have to be important when it comes to practicing, supporting, promoting self-care. So talk to me a little bit about the value of managers when it comes to self-care, whether it’s their own self-care or the self-care of their employees?

Jason Lauritsen:
Middle management, in particular, I think is probably the hardest job in a new organization. I don’t think I always understood that, but once I became one and then I’ve been supporting them and coaching and measuring engagement for years, I realize middle management is terrible because you get it from bottom-up and you get it from the top down. It’s always your fault.

And so, as a middle manager in any organization, you have to realize that this is a hard job and to do it well, you have to care for your capacity to do that job, you have to care for your energy and your ability to focus and your ability to do this work. And this is an overused analogy, but there’s not a better analogy. In the airplane, when it’s taken off, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before you assist anyone else because if you can’t breathe and you pass out, you’re of no use to anyone.

And that is true for managers. If I’m struggling and I’m distracted by whatever in my life, however, I’m unwell, whether it’s relationships or finances or I’m caregiving for someone, I’m not getting any sleep, I feel, physically or mentally, I’m not in good shape, I can’t be there to show up for my people. And so, that’s one is I can’t manage effectively.

But then, the bigger thing is then, two, if we think about wellbeing as a performance capacity issue, that means as a manager, it’s imperative that I’m helping my employees be as well as they can, because the more, well they are, the better they are capable of performing, the more they have to give, the more they have to offer.

Well, the only way that you can effectively teach your people to do self-care is it starts with modeling it because if you don’t model it, if they don’t see you taking care of yourself, if they don’t see you prioritizing your self-care, they will never believe you when you tell them to do it. They will always think it’s a trick. They will always think it’s a trap. They will never take you seriously. So it always starts with learning how to do it yourself first. And that’s also the best way to learn what self-care looks like, feels like, and how it works is to start with you first.

Meghan Henry:
Right. So if you’re someone that doesn’t take vacation time, you’re working overtime, you’re busting it all the time and yet you’re telling your team, “Take the time. Take care of yourself.” They’re thinking, “What’s the catch. Well, if that’s what you want from me, why aren’t you doing that for yourself?”

Jason Lauritsen:
That’s right. And you might be well-intentioned. I mean, you might be well-intentioned. You might mean it, like, “Don’t be me.” Right. “Be better.”

Meghan Henry:
That’s right. Right.

Jason Lauritsen:
“Don’t be me, I’m too far gone.” But they also realize like, “Yeah, but you’re the one that got promoted.” Right. “You’re in the job that I want someday.” And so, the message it sends is, “Well, I have to sacrifice my wellbeing if I want to move up the chain.” And so, there are all sorts of stuff that goes on in that messaging. So you’re right, you have to show that it matters. And I know that that’s hard sometimes because you might work in an organization where the executive suite doesn’t model it.

Jason Lauritsen:
That’s one of the things that I was always kind of a nonconformist. And I got to a point in my career where I was like, “This stuff is too important, so I’m going to model it and I’m going to lead this way. And if that creates chaos above me, I’ll manage that with them but I want to interrupt the cycle.” Any middle manager can interrupt the cycle for their people. That’s one of the gifts we can give them is, “It doesn’t have to be this way. You can do this and be well at the same time.”

Importance of Self-Care to Gen Z

Meghan Henry:
Right. Jason, do you think that people that are now coming into the workforce, so the younger kids, I’ll call them, do you think that they recognize the value of self-care maybe more than my generation did? I’m in my late 40s, that really wasn’t something that was pushed or pressed upon us that that was important. Wondering here if you think that the people that are now coming into the workforce, if that’s more important to them and they recognize that more so than I did.

Jason Lauritsen:
Yeah. I think without question. You and I are in the same generational bubble. And I would say, Gen X just kind of got lost, right, because we were trapped between the Boomers who never gave thought to self-care because they didn’t have that. They didn’t even have that luxury.

Meghan Henry:
It was a luxury. Sure.

Jason Lauritsen:
Too many of them were competing for the same job and so it’s like, “I have to give whatever. It’s blood sport.” And then, Gen X kind of came in the wake of that. And I think we started realizing that that was nonsense. And we knew that we didn’t want to do that, but we didn’t have an alternative or a real clear picture of wellbeing or any of that yet. It was emerging.

Meghan Henry:
Right.

Jason Lauritsen:
I do think that the younger generations have a much clearer sense of… I don’t know. Yeah, I’m not sure. I don’t know how much they’re… I would say, it’s a whole generation of people that are already hip on self-care. And I don’t think that’s the case. But I do think they have a much better perspective on the role that they want work to play in their lives and they have a much broader, I think, sense of the bigger picture of “Life isn’t just about chasing up this ladder. There’s other stuff that I want to do.”

And part of that I think is health, part of that comes into wellbeing, part of its relationships. I think there’s a lot of stuff in there. So I do think it is wellbeing. I don’t know that they would call it wellbeing, but I think they’re increasingly starting to voice that. The things they crave or expect, desire in the work relationship, I do think fall inside the wellbeing model often. I don’t know that they would use that language.

Meghan Henry:
Looking for that work-life balance or that complimentary sort of thing that maybe we didn’t get when we started out.

Jason Lauritsen:
That’s right.

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Taking a Holistic Approach to Self-Care

Meghan Henry:
At the beginning of the conversation, you talked about sort of how self-care, wellbeing should cover all aspects of a person’s overall wellbeing, so mental health, physical health, social health, financial health. Talk to me about the importance of taking a holistic approach to self-care, not just focusing on the physical.

Jason Lauritsen:
Sure. I mean, the reality is that that is how… I mean, you can go out and study, the good news is wellbeing, even though in workplaces we’re finally sort of waking up to wellbeing and realizing that, “Hey, this is really powerful stuff, something we should be focusing on,” there’s been people studying and researching the science of human flourishing for decades and decades and so, there’s a bunch of research out there and a bunch of science out there, a bunch of models out there that play out like, “Okay, what does it take for us to be flourishing as humans?” And every one of those models they’re all packaged differently. Right. And part of that is because it exists in the domain often of consultants who need to have their own separate consulting, their own models to sell differently.

But there are some places where you can find these models that are pretty clean and they help you see that there are core needs that we have as human beings that have to be met in order for us to be able to flourish. So like you listed off a few of those. There are a couple of models that I really like, one is WELCOA. The Wellness Council of America has a great model or definition of wellness that you can Google and find that has seven core needs.

There’s another one from the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota that I really like. And that one has six different categories and they basically say, “Here’s your six, sort of, needs areas that you need to think about.” And it’s health, which we talked about. Relationships, which is, “Do you have healthy, supportive relationships?”

Security, which is, “Do you feel safe and free from threat or fear? Do you have a healthy relationship with money? Are you financially secure or at least at a point that you don’t feel in constant threat?”

Purpose, we hear a lot about that. “Do you have meaning in your work and life?”

Community, “Do you feel like part of something bigger than yourself?”

Socially, and then environment, which is about the spaces and places that you find yourself and what you surround yourself with.

And the thing about this is that any time… And this is, I think, the key with understanding the holistic piece of this is that sometimes I think we think about wellbeing as sort of a nice to have, which is, “Well, we’re existing,” and then, “we should invest in wellbeing so people can be more or better or healthier,” or whatever.

But the real story with wellbeing is that it exists on a spectrum. And when those needs are unmet, it’s not just that they’re unmet, when those needs are unmet, they create suffering, they create pain, they create threat in our lives. I think about like all these things through my…Like I remember in times in my life where I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay my bills. And it’s hard to think about that. Or when my starter marriage was coming undone and I was pretty sure there was a bunch of really bad stuff going on in that relationship. I couldn’t think of anything else. I was suffering on a level that it was pointless for me to be at work because I couldn’t really do anything of any real substance at work, I could sit there.

My oldest is my stepson. He was five years old when my wife and I met. So she was a single mom for years, and she worked at a place, this was back in the day. Right. Like you talk about how it’s different, and maybe it’s not so different. But when she was a single mom, when her son, when Dylan was, gosh, two, three years old, there was a snowstorm and the snow was bad enough that it shut down the daycares, but the organization she worked at wasn’t going to shut down. She didn’t have any place to take him.

So there were days where she literally brought him to work and put him under her desk at her feet while she was trying to work. Now you tell me how productive she was that day.

Meghan Henry:
Right. Right.

Jason Lauritsen:
And so, that’s why it’s important. We have to think holistically about all of these things, because when any one of those things is out of balance, it can throw the entire system out of balance. And that’s what we’ve learned over the last 18 months. We’ve seen that.

So you can’t just look at one like, “Well, if I’m going to work out like a mad man and get really healthy…” well, that’s fine, but you could still have severe mental health challenges, or you could still have financial or relational issues that would throw you out of whack. There’s a lot of people that are really fit that are unwell in substantial ways.

COVID-19 and Self-Care

Meghan Henry:
Right. Right. Yep. Jason, I read on a blog post on your website where you talk about experiencing burnout at the height of COVID. I would love to get your thoughts on how the pandemic has changed our views on self-care and would also love to hear from you maybe personally, how you used self-care to feel better, if you will.

Jason Lauritsen:
Sure. Well, just a little context on that. So when everything went south, March 2020, like everyone else, my world got disrupted. My business is such that, I’m dependent on… At the time anyways, I was a lot more dependent on traveling places to speak at a leadership or a management team meeting where they brought everybody together or speaking at conferences or that kind of thing. So that was a big part of my business. And overnight, all conferences, all leadership meetings, all of that was gone. And so, a big chunk of my business literally evaporated overnight. And so, obviously, there’s some anxiety and you freak out a little bit.

But I was like, “But you know what? I’ve been through bad things before, and I can do this.” So I put my head down and started reinventing and doing some other things. And I was able to have some success. I mean, I was able to keep us afloat, keep going, find different sources of revenue.

But then it got to be about August and I was really tired, I was worn out. We were okay. We had gotten through… Well, yeah, and then in the spring, on top of that, I was the headmaster of the Lauritsen School for Gifted Children, because my kids were at home and I had taken the burden of doing school every day too. So all of this at the same time.

Meghan Henry:
Yeah.

Jason Lauritsen:
And so, by August, I’m tired, which is I to be expected. I was running all the time. I was still doing all my usual things. But then one day I was sitting on the couch and I was working on a project that was related to a career highlight for me, like something when I look back. It’s like, this is one of the coolest things, I got to interview one of my heroes on my webcast and I was supposed to write up the description for this. And I remember sitting on my couch needing to write this up and feeling like this was just another thing on my list that I was just dreading doing. And I’m like, “What is wrong with me?”

And then I started to realize that, not only was I exhausted, but my joy was gone. I didn’t feel joy about anything, like doing that work, with my kids or whatever. I was in trouble. And then my wife kind of was like… I said, “I think I need to go off on a retreat or do something. I need to unplug.” And she is like, “Yes, I think you do,” which was another gentle like you’re not in a good way. We need to do-

Meghan Henry:
She recognizes that guy from before. Yeah.

Jason Lauritsen:
Yeah. Yeah. So, any rate, I realized, I was in burnout. I had never had any sort of mental health challenges in the past so it snuck up on me. It took me a while to figure out what’s going on. And what I realized was that so much of what had happened was I’d been in so many people last year in my fight or flight kind of response. I went to adrenaline and I’d been living on adrenaline for six months, just grinding and grinding and grinding and grinding. It was all fear-based. And I’d gotten very sort of… I wasn’t in… I’m losing my words. Opposite of abundance mindset, scarcity mindset. I had gone into a very scarce mindset, all of these things that I didn’t realize what’s happening.

And so, the way that I had to… I did, literally, went away for several days. And fortunately, I had skills from past self-help kind of adventures to really dig in. And I spent several days off the grid. And the biggest thing that happened is I slept. I mean, I slept like 10 hours a day for like three days in a row, which never ever happens. But I just was depleted.

Meghan Henry:
Yeah.

Jason Lauritsen:
I was depleted. And so, that-

Meghan Henry:
Probably physically, mentally, all of it.

Jason Lauritsen:
All of it.

Meghan Henry:
Yeah.

Jason Lauritsen:
All of it. I was depleted. Ultimately, that’s kind of what burnout ultimately ends up being is that you’ve become depleted to the point that it becomes pervasive. Right. And so, mine wasn’t severe. I think I headed it off before it got super severe, but it was frightening. And self-care was everything for me. Now, different people need a different thing.

For me, I was able to engineer kind of my way out of it, sleeping, running, journaling, meditating, just letting myself unplug, getting re-grounded in what was really important, thinking, coming back to values and recognizing that, being able to reorient my business, I found my way kind of back out of scarcity mindset to abundance, all these things that worked for me that was what restored me.

Jason Lauritsen:
And I think so many people, either intentionally or accidentally through this pandemic, have come to realize like, “Oh, I probably need to take care of myself better.” So, that was one of the things when we came home. Like when I say “accidentally,” well, suddenly, people get to work from home.

And when you’re working from home, it doesn’t feel like as big a deal to go for a walk at lunch. Nobody’s looking at you or your office being empty or whatever, you can go for a walk at lunch. Or you can meditate at 10 o’clock in the morning and nobody’s going to… Or if you need to take a nap, if you’re exhausted, you can go lay down for 15 minutes.

It was interesting how it allowed for people to start actually taking care of themselves in a way that you didn’t in the office. We used to make fun of Google sleep pods. Right? I mean, right idea, not great execution.

Meghan Henry:
Right.

Jason Lauritsen:
So I think that’s part of what’s happened is I think we have been sort of jarred awake that if we’re not going to care for ourselves, the Calvary isn’t coming. Right. We’ve got to do a better job of doing that. And I think organizations need to think about how they can provide resources and support for that. That’s really where we’re at.

How to Support Employees

Meghan Henry:
Right. And that leads me to our final question. When you support self-care among employees, organizations are going to see better results. So I’d love to hear if you have any advice for leaders, managers who want to support their teams when it comes to practicing self-care, maybe some takeaways.

Jason Lauritsen:
Well, we’ve touched on one, which is role model. Right?

Meghan Henry:
Right.

Jason Lauritsen:
As a manager and leader, you’ve got to get serious about your own self-care. And here’s the other thing I’ll tell you is that there’s no magic formula. Like for some people, having a therapist is a really important part of self-care. For some people, exercise or diet or whatever… Well, I think the post that you referenced earlier, I list off some of my things. And like one of my things for self-care is I like good TV. And so, I like to find good TV and like at night, I’ll watch an hour of some show that I really like, and that helps my mind kind of come down and unwind. That’s self-care for me.

Jason Lauritsen:
So you have to experiment and figure out what works for you. But model it and experiment, try things, see how it feels. If it makes you feel better, then that’s probably a good step. If it doesn’t, then try something else. So, experiment with it, role model it, talk about it. Right. Talk about your journey in front of your team so they can see. That’s half the battle is that you’re committed and that you’re experimenting so that they can see it, they can hear it, they can know that you’re in it. That gives them permission to do it.

And then the other thing is you should be checking in with employees, I would say, at least once a week. And that doesn’t have to be a big, formal one-on-one meeting. But the sort of go-to tool that I teach to managers for this is when you check in with people, checking in with people is checking in on the human being. And the tool is this question, “How are you? On a scale from one to 10, how are you?” Because so often we say, “How are you?” And what do you hear? Meghan, when you ask somebody how they are, what do they say?

Meghan Henry:
Good.

Jason Lauritsen:
Good. Fine.

Meghan Henry:
Fine.

Jason Lauritsen:
And what does that tell you?

Meghan Henry:
How are you?

Jason Lauritsen:
It tells you nothing. Right. Yeah. “How are you?” “I’m good.” All right. Well, check that box. Let’s move on with our. Right.

Meghan Henry:
Good chat.

Jason Lauritsen:
And so, when you change that, and I say, “Meghan, how are you today, one to 10?” And you say, “I’m a seven today.” And you’re like, “Awesome. Well, that’s great. Sounds like things are going well. Is there anything in particular that you feel has been going well lately?” It’s like, “Yeah, well, I actually started a new yoga, blah, blah, blah,” or whatever. Or you say, “Today, I’m a 10.” And you’re like, “That is amazing. Give me your secret. What is it? Because I’m not at a 10, I can learn from you.” And so, then you’ll hear what’s going on.

If they say, “I’m at a two,” you’re like, “Man, that sucks. What can I do to help? Is there anything going on that I can help with? How can I be of support? Is there something I can take off your…” But like that one to 10 scale changes everything, because whatever the number is opens up a conversation. And that conversation, if you’re listening and paying attention, is where your employees will tell you what they’re wrestling with so that you can provide them with coaching or support or resources or encouragements or whatever it takes so that they can be on that journey of self-care to better wellbeing.

Meghan Henry:
Yep. And I think talking about resources, I think, you come from an HR background too, encouraging employees to use their benefits, we’ve got wellness benefits, we’ve got health care benefits, mental health benefits, EAPs, things like that. And even modeling those, you yourself as a manager, taking advantage of those things, talking openly about those sorts of things and making it okay and safe for employees to take advantage as well I think is important too.

Jason Lauritsen:
Yeah. Being a leader or a manager, I think one of the things that is really important is boning up on what is available. Right. Because I think that was always the frustration as an HR leader is that, we’d put all these great things together, all these great packages, all these great benefits, all of these great resources and wellness activities and it just gets lost in the noise. Whereas if I’m a manager, if you’re checking in, I think the check-in conversation is vital.

Jason Lauritsen:
It’s what they say after that is like, “Well, I don’t know if you knew this, but the organization actually offers X. Did you know that we offer health care reimbursement or a gym reimbursement that you can actually use for your yoga studio? Or did you know that we have, actually, this mental health tool that you can enroll in that provides you with whatever, nudges, or online coaching support or online counseling support or, or, or, or, or…” Right.

Jason Lauritsen:
And so, if you’re a manager, that’s your toolkit. You don’t have to be able to solve everything, you just need to know what resources are available so that you can help that employee find their way to what matters or what will help them, because so many times, just being a guide or a Sherpa to get them to the right place is really important.

Meghan Henry:
Yep. I would agree with you. Jason, thank you for this conversation today. This has been awesome. And I have learned so much and looking forward to practicing some more self-care myself, because I will admittedly say that I lack in that area. So, really appreciate those tips and those ideas. Do you have a website, social handle, anything that you would like to share with our guests?

Jason Lauritsen:
Well, I have lots of places you can find me. JasonLauritsen.com is where you can find my blog and more info about my speaking and that sort of thing. Also, you mentioned Cultivayo, cultivayo.com, which I’m sure this will be in the show notes. So you can check that out. Cultivayo.com is where you can find information about the management training programs that I offer online. And so, you can check it out. And then, if you put my name into Google, you will find many, many ways to connect with me, LinkedIn, Twitter, all the places.

Meghan Henry:
Very good. Yep. We will include links to all of those things on our website as well and in the show note. So, Jason, really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Jason Lauritsen:
Thank you, Meghan. Appreciate it.

Meghan Henry:
Well, that does it for today’s episode of For Your Benefits. Thanks to all of you for joining us. If you like what you heard today, don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast. If you want to learn more about SentryHealth and WellOnMyWay, visit the website at sentryhealth.com. Have a fantastic day.

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