Are You In the Driver Seat of Your Mental Wellness?
A millionaire hotel franchiser told me that there are two things that I need as a successful businesswoman: a good tax attorney and therapist. He said that one will protect my money while the other will protect my mind. Look…I am telling you from experience that you must take care of your health both physically and mentally. But, I believe the latter is far more important. I am going to tell you something that your company should actually support and that is to take a mental health day. Some people take sick days, but let’s get ahead of this and take a day to get our head together.
Singapore is the unhappiest workplace in South East Asia! But, it’s the happiest place according to the UN; however, they probably didn’t include employees who were too busy to take the survey. Nearly every respected polling and data collection organization hands down agree that Singapore workers are unhappy. This is partly attributed to how much people work in Singapore. This should be disconcerting because happiness is a state of mind, i.e. mental well-being. October is World Mental Health Month.This is the perfect time to incorporate new practices that will have lasting impact on your state of mind.
As I market a wellness event, I hear explanations (I won’t say excuses) on why people can’t attend. Often it is two things: too busy or too expensive. Some even consider wellness activities a luxury. Wellness is not a luxury! You can’t afford to not take care of yourself. You really don’t have the luxury of breaking down as you attempt to build whatever you are trying to achieve. I challenge you to take one or two days to rest your mind. If you had the flu, you would rest because the symptoms are obvious. But, trust me. As a mental health practitioner, I can see the signs of distress in a lot of people, and I don’t need to read a survey to gather that people are overworked and mentally drained.
It’s natural to feel down sometimes, but if you have reoccurring symptoms of being on edge, nervous, tired, fatigued, irritable, sad, depressed, anxious, etc. you definitely need to become mindful of your mental well-being. Unfortunately, many people rely on Mother Nature shutting them down versus being proactive in taking care of themselves. We simply don’t have enough sense and maybe courage to give ourselves permission to STOP. Yes, simply stop and take a day or two off. The scope of mental wellness is so vast, and I only have 2-pages to share what is a growing concern. So, here are a few suggestions to kick-start your journey to wellness:
1. You must learn to be alone to eliminate feelings 1. of loneliness
What I am proposing is that you stay home and rest. This may mean staying in the bed until late afternoon just relaxing (during the work week, while everyone’s gone). If your job is in jeopardy from taking a day off and unplugging, you have bigger problems than disconnecting for a day. You should be able to take care of yourself before you become ill, and savvy managers understand that. A healthy employee is a productive employee. Just let whomever you are accountable to know that you need this time off. How many times have you called in sick for a physical ailment, but often neglected your mental well-being? Use your sick day to stay well instead of waiting to be sick. A mental wellness day means turning off your phone and maybe turning on music, meditating, or getting in some much needed sleep, etc. Doing whatever calms and brings balance. If the thought of turning your phone off or on vibrate and looking at it that afternoon causes you to cringe then you definitely need to do this. If your job, projects, business, etc. comes tumbling down with your absence then you have far greater issues. And, if you don’t have a day to spare then you actually need two days off.
2. Make Energy Deposits versus Withdraws
Make energy deposits as often as possible. Energy is like currency. You really need to save up your energy. Putting energy into your account is one of the greatest investments you can make into yourself. We make deposits by resting, sleeping and doing things that relax, refuel or re-energize us. Then there are withdrawals which take the form of working really, really hard, staying up late, doing things that depletes us of our energy like being around negative people who drain us like energy vampires. If you find yourself starting the work week as tired as last Friday, you need a mental wellness day where you can deposit positive energy. When I know that I’m going to be making withdrawals during the week, I deposit more into the account over the weekend to make sure I keep a positive balance and not become over drawn.
3. Practice Being Versus Doing
Don’t ‘Just Do It’ per Nike’s advice. If you take pride in measuring your success by how much you do and accomplish that may be a problem, long term. You will begin to unravel. I’m not saying that it is wrong to be a go getter and go doer, but at what point do you allow yourself to simply BE? Many people are stressed and unhappy because they are human doers versus human beings. Even the best athletes will work out, but they also know when to stop. Think of yourself as a body builder lifting weights. The rule of thumb is to work hard and then rest for the muscle building process. For some odd reason, we have bought into the concept that you work hard, work harder and then burn out. If you want to maintain a healthy mental disposition, you must give your mind a chance to rest. This can be achieved by doing nothing but rather being. But, if such is out of the question, volunteer somewhere that is physical and less mental such as preparing bags of lunches for the homeless, working on a going green initiative to clean the beaches somewhere, etc. Just be…