Each year, during the first week of October, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week. As our loyal Talking Benefits podcast listeners know, we’ve been discussing mental well-being throughout the life of this podcast and the latest episode is no exception.
Traditionally, the term caregiving makes us think of providing care for elderly parents or small children, but more recently we recognize that caregiving goes beyond those categories to include school-age children who have been studying virtually, extended family, neighbors and even colleagues who may be struggling. Dr. Brower explains how the pandemic has impacted caregiving, especially for those who have been disproportionately affected (i.e., women).
We discussed caregiving and the impact that it can have on our own lives and the lives of our colleagues and employees. I had the chance to chat with Dr. Tracy Brower (and had to hold back from fangirling the entire time because she is phenomenal!). Dr. Brower is a sociologist studying work-life fulfillment and happiness. She is a principal with Steelcase’s Applied Research + Consulting group and holds a Ph.D. in sociology and a master’s degree in management in organizational culture.
We also talked about how caregivers can better nourish their own physical, mental and social well-being as well as the workplace positives that can come from caregiving (and there are so many!). Dr. Brower offered great tips for employers on how to build an equitable caregiving policy, support workers who are caregivers and encourage leaders to step up and show their support.
Highly recommend giving this episode a listen—You’ve likely been a caregiver or are close to someone who has. I know I had some “a-ha!” moments during this interview, and I hope you will too.
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