This learning path has been adapted from content shared in the 2020 Mental Health Awareness week hosted by the GitLab Learning and Development team. During this week, the L&D team curated resources and hosted a live speaker series with the goal of supporting team members in managing their mental health, especially during times of crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Original issues used to communicate this content can be referenced on the L&D team challenges issue board.
After completing this learning path, GitLab team members will
In an all-remote environment, it can be difficult to identify signals of burnout and distress in ourselves and others. It is common to turn to work as a distraction to the chaos we feel in our day-to-day lives.
We hope you’ll use this opportunity to take a deep dive (or, if you’re not ready, just a shallow dip) into what mental health awareness looks like here at GitLab and how you can take care of yourself and your team.
Our goals in this learning path, and ongoing L&D initiatives about mental health, are:
Take a moment to listen to this short conversation with Wendy Barnes, our CPO at GitLab, where we chat about strategies team members can implement to manage their mental health, especially with added stress during the Covid-19 pandemic.
To kick off the discussion, we’re focusing on gratitude and the role it plays in our overall mental health. Taking a moment to practice gratitude can be a simple and effective strategy to walk away from situations or conversations that are causing us stress, and refocus our attention on joy and gratefulness.
What are you grateful for today? Consider opening a merge request on our mental health awareness handbook page and share your thoughts about gratefulness.
Did you know that at GitLab, we have a daily-gratitude channel where team members share experiences, people, and feelings that make them grateful? Consider starring the channel and leaning on your team members there when you need a moment to shift your emotions or focus. Our wider community members can consider creating a similar channel within their organization.
Taking time to prioritize your mental health can help to
Start by trying a mindfulness break during today’s work day. Choose one of the free meditations from Headspace to get started.
Not ready for an audio meditation? Try one of these mindfulness breaks instead.
One of the most effective ways to manage your mental health is to utilize the GitLab PTO Policy
Taking time off is important. Here are just a few highlights of the GitLab PTO policy that are in our handbook to remind team members the importance of taking time away from work:
Not taking vacation is viewed as a weakness and people shouldn't boast about it. It is viewed as a lack of humility about your role, not fostering collaboration in training others in your job, and not being able to document and explain your work.
It's important to take PTO while you have something you want to do, rather than waiting until you need the time off.
Remember that it's normal to take extra time to catch up after returning from paid time off. Taking time off doesn't mean that you need to work multiple extra hours before or after your vacation. When taking extended time off, expect to have reduced capacity to take on new work the week of your return while you're catching up on the work that happened while you were away.
Support from managers to take time off, and to view time off as a way to efficiently reach results, is essential. Wendy Barnes, CPO at GitLab, speaks to how managers can support their team members in taking time off:
Take time to review strategies for returning from PTO to prepare for the transition back into your work routine.
In an all remote environment, we’re faced with unique challenges when it comes to
Identifying and coming to terms with the feeling of burnout in ourselves can be challenging. This self assessment tool called The Burnout Index can help you identify feelings of burnout in yourself.
Our handbook outlines feelings and experiences we might notice in ourselves related to burnout, GitLab Handbook: How to Recognize Mental Health Struggles. Take a moment to review these indicators and ask yourself if you have felt or identified with any of these statements in the last month:
The campaign is
...all about getting people talking about mental health and being there for each other. If someone you know is struggling with their mental health, ask them if they are okay, and really listen. It could make all the difference.
Examples of teammate behavior where asking ‘are you okay’ can help:
Managers play a key role in identifying and supporting team members through burnout. Watch this short interview with Wendy Barnes, where we chat about how managers can support their team members in managing symptoms of burnout.
Taking time to manage, care for, and support your mental health is important. We hope that this week has helped bring to light resources and strategies you can use to support yourself and your teammates through times of stress, chaos, and burnout. Thank you for taking time to review these resources, contribute to our Mental Health Tool Stack, and for being open to having conversations about mental health here at GitLab.
We invite you to reflect on this Mental Health awareness week by answering the following questions. Consider sharing with a friend, family member, or a colleague.