Covid-19 has introduced a new kind of stress for CEOs and executives

Articles Covid 19

The pandemic has changed the way many view the world. After all, the planet, and everyone on it, has been undergoing a massive stress test for over a year now.

This psychological pandemic will be with us for many years to come. Many millions of people’s lives have been turned upside down by Covid-19, and anxiety and stress levels are at record highs. The pandemic has affected all of us mentally in some way. But I think senior executives with big responsibilities have suffered particularly, with many seeking treatments for the pressures the virus has brought. A recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that 72 percent of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to 48 percent of non-entrepreneurs. It’s clear that entrepreneurs – and their families – have a lot more pressure. Especially if you are a small entrepreneur, you don’t have that much liquidity when something like this happens on a global scale; you are immediately the one who has to find a way out of it.

So you are the first one affected by distress, affected by the doubt, by the insecurity. In my case, you are immediately faced with the worst situation that you can have. If you are an employee, you have a lot less to lose in most situations. In the case of a business, you cannot simply move on; you are tied to it. I know people who have lost everything. And then they need to move, they need to sell their house, their children cannot have the same kind of life. It can be incredibly stressful and destructive. And many of these people, they’ve reached an age in their life where they’ve burned most of their oil, and it would be a massive effort to get it back. A lifetime of hard work and savings can be destroyed in a short period of time.

We have seen compelling evidence of a psychological pandemic following in the wake of the virus and my brilliant team at The Kusnacht Practice is constantly evolving and developing new strategies, technological and medical innovations to deal with the prevalence of these problems. The way individuals deal with these stresses has sparked an increase in self-medication, with increases in drug and alcohol abuse. In the US for instance, use of methamphetamine and fentanyl accelerated during the pandemic. Fentanyl use rose by 78 percent and 29 percent for methamphetamine during the first 9 months of the pandemic compared with the same period in 2019, according to a recent survey.

I anticipate that my team at The Kusnacht Practice will be treating those affected in many different ways by the pandemic – and for many years to come. I wouldn’t say we have a typical client, as we offer different services to clients of all ages and nationalities who come from around the world to our practice here in Zurich, Switzerland. However, we do see a lot of business people, including those from the Gulf, for treatment. The pandemic has changed the way many view the world. After all, the planet, and everyone on it, has been undergoing a massive stress test for over a year now. To many, it has brought their physical and mental health into focus and also the precious nature of family and friends and social contact. And there has been clarity for many on the importance of basic things like regular exercise, sleep and a good diet for one’s mental health. Presence is more important than productivity. There’s very little we can control. The only thing you can control is yourself.

Be present, take care of yourself. For instance, one of our values here at The Kusnacht Practice is well-being. So it’s nearly a religious thing, do your sports, meet people you love, spend time with people you love as much as you can. A holistic approach is adopted here, combining treatment methods to help rebalance the mind, whatever the challenge, whether substance or medication addictions, behavioural, eating disorders or executive burnout.

A holistic treatment strategy rebalances the mind and the body together, reconnecting patients to their inner positive resources and empowering their lives. This combination is key to boosting self-confidence and restoring healthy sleep. Sleep. That is definitely a key element of staying healthy. People often neglect their sleep, particularly those in high-level and stressful roles. So my message is a simple one – take care of yourself, your health, your sleep, your mental health, and give. As a leader, you must stay calm, and give your team the confidence. And when you take care of them they do take care of you.

– Eduardo Greghi, CEO of The Kusnacht Practice

Interview for Arabian Business: Eduardo Greghi – CEO of The Kusnacht Practice, on the topic of CEO’s COVID-19 related stress. Published on 14th of June 2021.