WHY EUSTRESSIN'?: KOJO SARFO
One day I received a message asking if I would be open to being interviewed to discuss mental health awareness among black men. I was down for it but didn’t know Kojo and his team were driving up from Atlanta to conduct the interview. I was reaffirmed about his passion to not only raise awareness but to also help others as a psychiatric registered nurse. It was dope to sit down with him to discuss how he adds Eustress to his life. Check it out!
HEY KOJO, WHY EUSTRESSIN’?
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/ HOW LONG?
I’m a psychiatric registered nurse and I have been so for the past four years.
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR PROFESSION?
Mental health is a focal point of what I do for a living. I often think about different ways to improve the mental well-being of not only our patients but also for my coworkers and myself — seeing that our field is not an easy one to be in.
WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR JOB THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THAT OTHERS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
Working with psychiatric patients does help to give me perspective and context in order to not stress out about the little things. However, the job can be mentally taxing in terms that we health care providers may be victims of caregiver strain — forcing us to be mindful of our own physical and mental health!
When did you realize that you should also consider your mental health when taking on day-to-day activities?
During my day at the hospital, I notice how fast paced the job can be and how easy it can be to get overwhelmed. Often when I feel like I have to multitask to get my job done, I realize the need to take a break in order to make sure that my productivity levels do not decline.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE STRESSORS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
I normally have my go-to activities that help to keep me focused and on track. Playing music in the chart room helps to keep me focused throughout the day. Also, taking breaks as needed during the day help to prevent escalating levels of stress.
HOW DOES BEING MENTALLY HEALTHY HELP IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK OR ON THE JOB?
Being mentally healthy is not only helpful, but it is a requirement when working with mental health patients. This field can take so much out of you from an emotional standpoint, so it is imperative to make sure you are mentally balanced going in.
WHAT DOES EUSTRESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AT WORK? AT HOME/AWAY FROM WORK?
Good stress at work revolves around having different ways to help the patients which takes some time management skills, and does cause some good stress. Away from work good stress consists of choosing between different self-care options that appear to all be good options such as maybe a movie or a dinner date.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD TELL SOMEONE JUST STARTING IN YOUR PROFESSION OR A YOUNG PERSON WHO ASPIRES TO BE THE PROFESSIONAL THAT YOU ARE?
Take it one day at a time, and remember to embrace the actual journey as opposed to the destination. Also, there are many ways to help others on the way up, and it’s important to take advantage of those chances.
Any other information you want people to know about you and what you're up to?
My company — Abrantie & Signora — is a clothing company that spreads positivity and mental health awareness for men and women of all backgrounds. We focus a lot on college-aged young adults who are especially susceptible to mental health conditions. We can be found on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter: @abrantiesignora
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION?