Attacking the Panic Attack

I wanted to broach a topic that I think unfortunately goes unaddressed too often—mental wellbeing. Sure we do stories about how signs are sold and built, but I feel we are dropping the ball when it comes to helping both owners and employees deal with stress, anxiety, pressure, burnout, and other mental health issues.panic attacks mental health

It’s been about a year now since the pandemic drastically altered how businesses are run and the types of signage they produce. With the rollout of more vaccines and increasing chatter about “light at the end of the tunnel” and “getting closer to the goal posts,” hopefully this means brighter days ahead. But what’s left in its wake? How is it going to be addressed? It’s an issue I don’t think is going away soon.

Even with sign shops and graphics providers deemed “essential” early on, hard decisions still had to be made thanks to regular clients and markets being sidelined. Owners had to draft emergency business continuity plans, reshuffle production and employee schedules, and make layoff/furlough decisions thanks to reduced sales. Employees had to deal with possible reduced hours and wages, proper sanitization for themselves and shop equipment, social distancing, and other precautions. And everyone had thoughts of maybe losing loved ones (even more tragically for those that did).

At some point, it has to take a toll emotionally and/or mentally (no matter how strong an individual you are). I believe one ingredient in being able to successfully run or operate a shop is good mental health, regardless of how insurance companies appear to think otherwise.

So yes, we’ve published lots of stories on our Web site and in our magazine (some in this very issue, in fact) showing how sign shops have recalculated and succeeded at staying open during the pandemic crisis. But mental health shouldn’t be glossed over, and it’s something I’d like to address more closely over the coming months with advice to help some, if not many, of you cope effectively.

I want to hear from you on ideas and techniques you’ve implemented to help with any anxiety, depression, or stress, and other readers going through anything similar will as well. Stay sound!

— Jeff Wooten