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Men's Wellness: managing a work-life balance

We’re celebrating Men’s Wellness Month at Paysafe, so we spoke with a member of the team about his experience of managing a healthy work-life balance.

We caught up with Nick Say, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications for North America, to hear about how he manages work-related stress, and the importance of supporting mental health in the workplace.

Can you share your personal experiences with managing work-related stress and maintaining a healthy work life balance?

As a former journalist, I tend to thrive on the ‘breaking news’ aspect of communications, with the accompanying excitement and stress. Nonetheless, in July 2021 I experienced a quasi-burnout.

It was the result of a combination of factors. While working from home in Montreal, I’d adopted an always-on mentality, and I would often work from early in the morning to late at night on weekdays, with frequent weekends. In tandem, I wasn’t physically active enough. I recall being a mess of anxiety and insomnia over the Canada Day and Fourth of July public holidays that year.

Ultimately, it was tragic news from my native UK that brought things to a head. In mid-July my oldest friend took his own life. As awful as his passing was, though, it did have the salutary effect of putting everything in perspective. In August, I left for a cycling vacation with my family – and came back changed.

First, I placed more emphasis on exercise and my family, which became much easier on both counts with my daughter starting school in downtown Montreal. I also learned to better negotiate work commitments, prioritizing time on evenings and weekends with my family over work deliverables that weren’t time-critical beyond my own rigid expectations of myself.

What did I learn? Without invoking Descartes and Spinoza, the mind and body are intrinsically connected and strenuous daily exercise (speed-walking and cycling in my case) is essential for soothing and grounding our inner selves. I also learned to put myself and my family first, and not worry so much about pleasing colleagues.

How can companies help break down the stigma around men’s mental health?

I feel the stereotype of men being averse to talking about mental health is broadly true, especially for my generation (Gen X) and older.

After my friend’s suicide, we learned that he’d been suffering from depression for several years, and even his family were unaware. A cameraman who’d worked and travelled in 120+ countries, he’d always seemed so tough and invulnerable. If only he’d shared more, and we’d listened – or we’d asked the right questions.

Companies need to create a culture where male colleagues feel comfortable sharing their struggles with mental health. Businesses are still relatively hierarchical, so this really requires a top-down cultural change, whereby senior leaders lead by example. If senior leaders at a company demonstrate the courage to share their own mental health struggles, this ceases to be taboo and is transformed into a symbol of strong leadership that younger employees want to emulate. 

Ultimately, male mental health is a conversation in which everyone needs to have a voice. Leaders can start the conversation, but mid-level managers should then take the lead in asking the right questions with their teams, and finally junior employees need to gather the courage to better express their individual challenges.

How does Paysafe support the wellbeing of employees?

Every November we host Men’s Wellness Month, which includes webinar panel discussions, where our global leaders – including our CEO this year – discuss their own mental and physical health challenges. The webinars are very interactive and feature live Q&As where the audience can ask the leaders specific questions. It’s obviously very personal territory, but we feel it helps promote a culture where male mental health isn’t stigmatized, with issues like anxiety, stress, and even depression addressed openly.

We want to ensure that no one on our team – whether they’re male or female – is suffering in silence, and that they always feel supported by their Paysafe colleagues. It is, of course, a work in progress, but by advancing the scope of Men’s Wellness Month each year, we’re helping change the discourse around men and mental health for everyone’s wellbeing.

To learn more about working at Paysafe, visit the Paysafe Careers page.