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What We Really Need From Our Leaders In This Time Of Anxiety

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

We all thought that 2022 would start on a different, better note – most of us are now vaccinated and the Covid-19 situation seemed to have calmed down a bit. Until Omicron made its appearance and the number of daily cases in Malta and around the world have risen to an all-time high, threatening this new year. Once again, we are facing a situation where many people are stuck at home, either because they are in quarantine or working from home as a precaution.

Before the pandemic, honest and candid discussions in public about anxiety were not at all common. People were expected to cope and “get on with it”. Now, it is a reality that is publicly recognised, and our leaders are being obliged to acknowledge and tackle it.

During the past two years, many of us have been forced to pass through an unprecedented and (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime isolation. Many of the usual daily distractions and social interactions changed considerably or disappeared, and we were left at home with our own thoughts in the sometimes deafening silence.

In this emptiness many people were forced to face themselves, and anxiety emerged to unprecedented levels. And we heard admissions to this from many corners of society that may previously have been hesitant to admit such a “weakness”. Social media abounded with words of comfort and mutual support and comments such as “Be gentle with yourself”, and terms like resilience became commonplace.

However most of this support came from our peers and it seems that few came from our leaders. It seems as if there is still a stigma associated with admitting to any form of weakness, particularly mental weakness. There were a few exceptions to this norm, with a few people on the forefront declaring themselves in public in this regard:

“It is okay to have depression, it is okay to have anxiety, and it is okay to have an adjustment disorder. We need to improve the conversation. We all have mental health in the same way we all have physical health.” – Prince Harry.

We are now in 2022 and we are facing another year of uncertainty and Covid-19 surreality. And we need our leaders and people in authority to step up and step out to show their approach to everyone in these times of acute anxiety. How can they do this?

One of the most important initiatives that our leaders could embark on would be to humanise and personalise the “phenomenon” of anxiety. A CEO or other leader coming out in public and explaining a personal struggle with anxiety will go a long way to normalise such feelings and make it more acceptable to discuss in the public domain.

We also need to acknowledge that anxiety may be different to stress even though many times these are grouped together as cause and effect. We are usually stressed as a result of an external trigger. For example, we may feel stressed if we have an approaching deadline. On the other hand, part of what makes anxiety or depression a mental condition is when your brain is telling you something that is not necessarily true. Self-doubt, lack of confidence, fear of failure – may all be the result of an overactive, anxious mind.

Add to that our enforced isolation and many of us have lost the support we may usually have found in our social circle to quieten these fears, leaving us to continue to spiral and focus on our negative thoughts. And change of itself is stressful and induces anxiety.

We need leaders to come out and acknowledge this and encourage us to connect – maybe even creating dedicated forums to formalise this necessary interaction that has been missing from many of our lives.

We need to acknowledge that no one had a manual on how to circumnavigate this pandemic and that leaders were probably as much at sea as the rest of us, but leaders can remind us that we are resilient to change and that we will adapt and thrive in this new normality – this is a form of reassurance that “Everything will be all right”.

Anxiety is here to stay and we need to feel more comfortable to admit it and discuss this in public. We can learn from the challenges presented by the pandemic to come up with a brighter and more accepting society. Leaders can lead the way by acknowledging the constant reality of anxiety, also making resources available to employees when needed, ensuring that team members are supported and removing the stigma as this will alleviate the worst pangs of anxiety.

How is your physical health? One stressor in your life may be your physical health. We recommend annual medical and blood screening to ensure that you can maintain your quality of life.

Clinipath Medical Laboratories can provide your organisation with a Company Health Program that can gauge the function of major organs and can identify some risks at an early stage. This will ensure that your employee’s health is safeguarded, and if needs be monitored regularly.

If you would like information contact us today on +356 21221355, 9985 2404 or send an email on for more information.

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