Mental Health In Consultancy

So right from the start lets get out a term that we cannot talk about “Mental Health” and maybe more taboo “Mens Mental Health”. There we go we can breathe a little.

What Is Depression?
Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable.

After working as consultant for over 10 years i have found that you can be working an 18 hour day, be part of a 10 person team but not speak to anyone all day, now don’t get me wrong i like to get my head down and do work without interruptions but after 2 or 3 days this can start to take its toll……….. Why is nobody talking to me? Have i done something wrong? Are people trying to get me off the project for their own gain? Now i will say that some of these are anxiety more than depression but you get the idea.Depression can take a hold of you at any time, any where and for no reason. There have been days where i didn’t want to get out of bed, days where i didn’t want to leave the house and even days where i wanted to sit in the corner of a dark room and just vanish. That’s the cold hard truth about depression and its not the easiest thing in the world to live with or manage.

If anyone has ever met or interacted with me they will know me as an enthusiastic, charismatic and passionate person when i talk about Dynamics, they will know me as a glass half full person (even though i don’t drink) but for every passionate talk about a new piece of Field Service functionailty there will be me doubting that i know how to do my job, for each time i spread the word of PSA there is a worry that my next talk will bomb – You get the picture for all the uptime there is an =/> downtime

When i tell everyone what i do for a living and that i get to travel all over the world visiting some great places they don’t understand that you are there for work and there is never much else, you need to get the “Red Eye” flight in and are shipped directly to the customer site, you’ll then spend all day on site before being shipped off to the hotel where you daily allowance doesn’t cover a starter from the kitchen menu. Then its back to the room to catch up on the emails you didn’t get to as you have been onsite. Now you might think that i am exaggerating here but i have been to The Netherlands 3 times for a total of 9 days and have seen Schiphol Airport, The High speed train and 2 roads in Rotterdam so its not exactly the high flying you expect. I’m not going to complain about it as lets be honest its the path that i have chosen to take.

I have been in situations where i was in a Managing Directors hotel room at 3am in the morning testing an offshore development build that we needed to demo 6 hours later, In that instance i only found out i was on the customer site while i was out with another customer so it was a quick trip to Tesco for a clean shirt, Now you maybe think that i am rambling but i’m sure we all have similar stories. Trust me i am not pulling the Woe is Me card but there is point honestly.

I have found that being in a hotel, on a flight or a 9 hour round trip drive gets tiresome and when you are alone for that length of time the only person you can talk to is yourself (most people are working or doing normal things ) So once i have been with the customer and had some food you just go back to your room and work as there is nothing else to do.

I know myself how down and alone being in consultancy can be as i have suffered from Depression and i’m going to be honest it think it was mostly caused my not being at home with the family and starting to feel almost disconnected from the world. I have missed Fireworks night, Parents evening, Birthdays and other events. But the one that still gets me to this day is my first husky, I was meant to take him to the vet on the Tuesday but i had to stay on at a client so had to cancel and take him in when i got back, but when i did get home i didn’t have the chance to take him as he passed away the morning of his new appointment, i will be 100% honest that this still gets me today and i actually resent my employer at that time (even though i could have said no)

So what can you actually do to try and keep your mind healthy? I’m going to give you some tips here and they have worked for me but might not work for everyone

  • If you are working away keep in contact with home – Use Face time, Whatsapp anything but do it as a video call so you can see what is happening and feel more involved than just another generic phone call.
  • When working from home try and work away from your main living area so that when you switch off the laptop you are away from where you had been working.
  • Lunch breaks…….. Take them, i have been guilty of not taking them and just working right through but why not take your dog for a walk or walk up to the shop for a bar of chocolate even meet someone for a coffee just do something to get you away from the desk for half an hour.
  • Do not have your work emails on your personal phone / laptop as its easy to quickly answer an email and get involved with a conversation.
  • If you have someone local that works from home why not spend the day working with them? I have spend many days working at Iain Connolly’s and Vice Versa
  • I know there are times where you need to work a little late to help get something complete but that should be the exception and not the rule – when you are done switch off from work.
  • Hobbies – find a hobby and make sure you stick with it – I Swim and go to the football & wrestling to totally take me out of the work mindset.
  • Podcasts while working at home, travelling or in hotels. I have found that the format of podcasts feels like people are talking to me as the content is driven at the person listening.

Those are just a couple of things that i find have helped me out recently but i think one other huge area has been the Microsoft Dynamics Community. I have met so many people who have been quick to take to me and there is nobody who is not included. I have spoken and attended several Dynamics events (and am even arranging 2 now) and the love for everyone in the field is amazing. Regardless if it is on Twitter, Linkedin, Slack, Whatsapp or when you need to send smoke signals to Antti over in Finland its a great place to be.

As a person i know that i am 100 miles and hour in every direction so having things like hobbies or events gives me that little focus.

I know i said there was a point to my blog and here it is it

It’s ok to not be ok

Talk to your Partner / Family about it, Talk to a friend, a colleague or a complete stranger (in the right environment) or send me a message on Social Media.

Samaritans is a charity registered in England and Wales (219432) and in Scotland (SC040604) and incorporated in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee (757372). Samaritans Ireland is a charity registered in the Republic of Ireland (20033668) and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland as a company limited by guarantee (450409).

Author: TheMarkChristie

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