4 min
7 Apr 2021

Why my mental health is good after 1 year of lockdown

Simone Kennerfalk
Simone Kennerfalk

I believe that you, just like myself, up until this point, probably have seen all the motivational posts, emotional videos, and imaginative branding online all mounting up to the same message: Take care of yourself and the ones you love. We are all in this together.


A great message for sure, but in front of your computer trying to block out the screams of frustrated, inactive children or perhaps the opposite, surrounded by a monotonous silence as the new soundtrack of your life, that message starts to become dull rather quickly. 


Trapped inside your own home, you don’t feel like “we are all in this together”. You feel quite alone, and now, with the screen being the prime window for social interaction, it's getting harder to reach out to someone about it. And just like that, you start to feel it: something doesn’t sit right with you, and it’s not the non-ergonomic kitchen chair for sure.


But trying to cope with the times and uncertainties, you don’t want to make things worse than they already are. So you push the negative thoughts to the side for now, and that is when things become exactly that: worse than they already are. 


Well, unless someone encourages you to truly ask yourself: How are you, really? 


The employer at the centre of mental health awareness

It’s Friday afternoon and our HR Manager has called a meeting. Not really out of the ordinary, we usually have our online Friday drinks together at this time of the week, joined by updates and news followed by some playful activity. But what is special about this is the direct attention brought to mental health only a few days after the Netherlands announced the curfew. Previous to the meeting, they asked us to share any questions we had about uncertainties, work-life balance, or other challenges, and they would tackle them in the meeting. In this session, we were also asked: How are you, really? 


Having an employer stepping it up for their employees by addressing everything from the hardships of combining children and work, to shedding some light on anxiety, as well as inviting us to open up to our colleagues still one year into the pandemic is, to me, a sign of a caring and modern company. 


Never have I realized how important it is to address mental health in the workplace. Nor to be with a company that cares about me as a worker and a human being. This not only creates loyal employees but also healthy ones still active in the workforce despite the collective trauma of a global pandemic. Paying attention to the employees' mental health through simple reminders leading up to helpful actions truly makes a difference. For me, it made me feel safe enough to detangle some of my worries around my work-life balance. I can only imagine what it does to people with more household or personal struggles.  


It's both refreshing and encouraging to see your employer acknowledge the side of the common struggles amongst the many, daily media reminders telling you to stay persistent and ride out the storm. Sometimes it is not that easy, and Nmbrs takes it into account.



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Adapting to a new reality

I started my Nmbrs journey at the very beginning of Covid-19 but didn’t notice the onboarding process being rocked by the current circumstances at all. For me, it was like any other remote onboarding, which I have gotten acquainted with since I have been working remotely for the past three years. Even though Nmbrs was not a remote company when it started, the action plan was in place in a few days. I believe Nmbrs lived up to its reputation of caring for its employees and advocating that they deserve the best possible HR services. 


Being an HR and Payroll company with an innovative product has helped open up more time to strategically empower the employees and bring us to new heights. But it takes more than streamlined and efficient online processes to be this successful. It also comes from the HR team itself, and at Nmbrs we have an agile, supportive and caring Employee Experience team that strengthens the health of the company by monitoring the health of its employees. We even have coaches who personally reached out to every employee and asked us to grade our current situation. They measured work-related performance and other personal components such as connecting with friends, family and coping with the pandemic itself.


Accepting that every day is different

Perhaps humans are complex creatures, and mental health is, for sure, a big issue. But setting up strategic processes with skilled people who make those processes available for the employees is not. A simple tool like the grading one I previously mentioned helped me take a closer look at my work-life balance and mental health. I realized that I was constantly shaming myself for not keeping up on a bad day and then compensating for it by working from bed through a heavy cold defending my choice by saying “I might as well work as long as I don’t have a high fever”. 

It is already hard to maintain a good work-life balance when you’re new to remote work since showing up at the office and checking in with your colleagues used to be a way to punch in. Now you just open up your laptop. Not showing up physically can give you a sense of not showing up at all. This can result in overtime and no breaks to compensate for not showing up at your usual workplace. But for me already knowing how to manage a home office, I can say that other components are making this a uniquely challenging experience, which makes it more challenging for new remote workers.


Previously, while working from home, I saw myself getting out there in the public space, utilizing libraries, cafes, and even hotel lobbies. Now, not only has the public space been robbed from us, remote or not, we are also not able to see our loved ones (or the opposite: seeing them too much) and can’t even go for a night walk when we struggle to fall asleep due to stressful thinking.


The readjustment and added assistance to help me keep a high level of performance at work, and perhaps even succeed at it, creates a win-win situation for both employer and employee.


Final thoughts

We have seen how fast things can develop in this new, globalized era, and we need to see more caring and agile employers, which I feel we have at Nmbrs.  


These extraordinary circumstances have taken a toll on our mental health and will continue to when staying unattended. That is, of course, unless we unveil the stigma around mental health and apply strategic yet human measures to stay on track and help one another. So yes, we are indeed in this together, but it takes more than an encouraging post on LinkedIn.  I, for one, found that support at the HR department at Nmbrs. 


So thank you, dear employer and squad HR, for handing me a lifejacket in my little boat of life on this current stormy sea of the world: it makes all the difference.



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About the author



Simone Kennerfalk

Hi, I’m Simone! Currently working as a Swedish Sales Advisor in Nmbrs and a new expat in the Netherlands! My Nmbrs journey has been quite the adventure, as I onboarded during the first wave of the pandemic and at the same time managed to relocate to Amsterdam from Istanbul. Now I can’t wait to meet all of my colleagues IRL, make new, awesome international friends and join a band: music and people are my passions.



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