Recently, Petra Coach presented a webinar, “Mitigating Mental Health Risks: Are You and Your Team Prepared?” featuring Oksana Esberard.

The content is invaluable to leaders during this unprecedented time.

You can find the full recording here.

To augment the recording, we noted takeaways and tips from the presentation. We’ve also linked Oksana’s book, Next Level You, and the two webinars mentioned in this session:

Oksana is also offering a FREE one-month trial of her online platform using the code: NEXTLEVEL

Why Is This Important?

Spring is the month of highest suicide rate.

With COVID-19, we are now in that “winter state” of survival, and after this is the “spring” of the downfall. Now is the time to prepare for what is to come.

  • Example: Suicide rates for military veterans do not peak while they are in the war zone, but when they return.

If you don’t consider yourself to have any mental illness, think about the fact that you can still have moments of joy while also feeling sad, anxious and stressed. It is still important to focus on your mental health even if it’s not chronic.

  • Example: Think about a racer driver – they train and know exactly what to do on the racetrack and what to do in situations of distress. If they get in an accident on the regular road, they would not have as severe of aftershock as a regular person who has not trained for those situations.

Think about training your mind for situations of mental distress so that when they happen, you are able to process it and deal with it.

What Works?

When we are well, we function better. We see a good job, family and friends as us being in a good place – all of those outside things – but instead we need to focus on this inside and make sure we are also healthy there. This all contributes to overall wellness.

Establish a platform for self assessment.

You are more likely to change habits when training is offered, instead of just being shown educational materials. Training leads to behavioral change, while education will leave things as they are or have always been.

High demand causes burnout.

You can’t change what you are not aware of and willing to accept.

Mental Health = An investment in soft skills: communication, flexibility, adaptability, leadership, teamwork, integrity

Tools for Management

Breath management is a form of stress management. Breathing can tell a lot about your stress levels, and also impacts your body and hormones.

Breathing Tips:

  • Exhale to let go
  • When under stress, take six deep breaths
  • When in doubt – slow down


Use this process in a stressful situation…

R – Recognize

  • Accept the experience that is happening.

A – Acknowledge

  • Understand how you are feeling. Do not say, “I am” an emotion. Instead, say, “I feel” and name your emotions. (i.e. I feel overwhelmed, anxious, worried, etc.) This switches using the prefrontal cortex in the brain rather than the amygdala.

I – Investigate

  • Look at your emotion from a third party – What does it look like? Where is it moving? Does it have a color?

N – Nurture

  • Apply the words and gestures you would use if you say a friend in distress or an upset child – say these things to yourself


Q: Where is a simple starting point?

A: Start with a healthy daily routine and establish habits – Simple things like drinking water, exercising or mediation


Q: What are some simple solutions for small businesses to start a wellness program?

A: Reach out to Oksana – she can work with your and other small businesses to do a starting program together. You can also start with her online platform.


Q: We have a team member that is experiencing depression and negative self talk. We have directed them towards a counselor. What else can we do?

A: There are many styles of therapy and you need to choose the right one for what they are experiencing. Different therapies can be helpful or do nothing. Talk therapy is not proven to solve the core issue for a person – the anxiety or depression is coming from somewhere. Breathing is always an important area to focus on as well.


Q: Thoughts on prescribed medicine for depression or anxiety

A: Medication elevates your symptoms to get to the root of the problem, to then be able to make those necessary changes and wean your way off of it. Unfortunately in the western world, we often don’t wean off of it. You can use outside tools to help combat symptoms.