Have You Had Your Mentoring Mental Health Checkup Yet?

Have You Had Your Mentoring Mental Health Checkup Yet?

Question. Have you had your mental health mentoring checkup? If not, now would be a good time to schedule an appointment. During this time of the year everyone, including mentoring program leaders, staff and mentors can start to feel a physical and mental drag in their lives. Yet, because so much is going on in our lives, we dismiss or ignore the signs that it may be time to take a break.  That is why it is good for the leaders and directors of mentoring programs to do a “mental health” checkup on their organization and the people in it for it’s sustainability. So here are three questions to answer:
1. How are YOU doing?
Have you taken the time to get a breather? To step back and refresh and recharge your batteries? Sometimes we run so hard in our work, due to our passion, that we can burn out and not even realize or notice the symptoms. Take a moment today to evaluate yourself. If you haven’t taken a breather be sure to schedule something and be INTENTIONAL* about taking the break.
*Lets expand on intentional. Far too often when we take breaks its due to a reaction to something else. (I.e. sickness, stress, depression, etc.) The problem is that taking a break based on a physical or mental breakdown only allows you to recover back to the point right before the break down happened. When we are intentional we move from being reactive to proactive about taking a break from our work. This approach gives us the psychological allowance to enjoy ourselves without feeling the need to worry or think about our day to day work.
2. How is your staff doing?
Have you checked in on your mentoring staff? Are they doing well? What do they need? Do they need a breather? Are they moving a little slower? Is it harder for them to crack a smile? Do they seem a little more run down then usual? As program leaders we can often miss the signs that our staff needs a break too (especially if we miss our own signs) Just like us, need a mental break. Think about a few things you may be able to do or help them with to give them the refresher they need.**
**Heads up! If you are going to give them a break…TELL THEM!
Yes I know! We all like to see the reaction on the faces of staff when we give them a surprise and nothing beats telling them to take a half day at work. The funny thing is, because they work so hard, they may not know what to do with the time…leading to even more stress! LOL.  So whatever you do, don’t surprise them. Tell them ahead of time. Give them a day or two to prepare or even lay it all out for them. They will appreciate it far more.
3. How are your mentors doing? 
Same with the mentors mentee’s they may be hitting a wall too. Consider having your mentor staff ask questions to investigate how they are doing at this time of the year.  It can be tough supporting youth and the up and downs in which their emotions and actions can take. Often they may not say anything out of fear that they are seen as bad mentors or not supporting their mentees. Far from it. Even they need breaks.Tip: Consider doing a non mentor training event/party for your mentors. For adult mentors consider activities like a happy hour, spa trip, day at the beach, lounge, comedy show. For youth mentors think about a pizza party, trip to the movies, day at the water park, baseball or basketball games, bbq, etc
Truth is we all need a mental health break regarding our life’s work. So though we want to do for so many, we can’t forget we also have to do for ourselves so that we can continue to help others.
Have a great week!


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