Mental agility is all about taking in change and finding the best course of action to move forward despite undesirable circumstances. It also means successfully overcoming difficulties so you can achieve what you wat out of life.
How do you improve your mental agility and achieve a thriving state of well-being? By balancing the five different dimensions of our WellBeing Capital®:
Physical Wellbeing: This is ensuring that you have a safe place to live, enough to eat, adequate clothes and access to transportation. Other aspects of the physical capital includes having good physical and financial health.
Emotional Wellbeing: This is more or less who YOU are and what you feel. It includes your values, skills, knowledge, experience, education, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving abilities.
Mental Wellbeing: To be mentally well is to create authentic happiness in our lives and tune into our feelings.
Social Wellbeing: This refers to the connection and relationship that we have with others. When you feel a sense of belonging, you increase your mental health.
Cultural Wellbeing: This is all about the support you get from your community, your happiness in it, your workplace culture, and your country. It means that what you are doing at work is aligned to your reason for being.
Self-care to boost your WellBeing Capital®
To build your mental agility and overall well-being, you have to make sure all of the above dimensions are functioning to an extent. This is where self-care comes into play. We must make self-care a habit so that the next time we’re faced with stress in any aspect of our WellBeing, we have enough self-regard to step back and work on what’s missing.
I used to think of self care as something that I had to deserve. That I can only allow myself to rest and recuperate when I’m tired or burnt out. But when you’re already burnt out, a weekend or a day off isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Instead, make self-care a daily habit through the following ways:
Keep your mind and body in check. Listen to what your body needs; if that’s extra time to breathe or a little stretch in the morning, do it. But don’t overdo it; always remember that rest is productive too.
Limit your news intake. We don’t need that much information, all we need is to be informed well enough for our peace of mind.
Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Please do keep connected, and as much as possible CALL. Hearing someone else’s voice, especially someone we love, can give us instant calm and we need.
Get some sun. Feeling locked up isn’t the best thing for our sanity, so only if you can and only if it’s safe, open the window and bring in that vitamin D.
Meditate. Simple acts of breathing, grounding, and being aware of our surroundings can make us less anxious and bring us back to what we need to address. Prayer is one very practical way we can apply mindfulness to daily life.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for anything and everything good. Starting or ending your day with a grateful mindset will only set you up to see things in a better light.
Taking good care of all aspects of your life is paramount to achieving improved mental agility. If your physical, emotional, mental, social, and cultural dimensions support one another, it will increase the likelihood that you stay healthy and face uncertainties with more resilience. The key here is to always have that unconditional self-regard: to understand that there should be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ in taking care of ourselves. Now more than ever, we have to put utmost value on our well-being.
How’s your well-being today? Take our FREE WellBeing Quiz! It’s a simple True or False test that can be completed in just 2 minutes. Visit here to get started.
A growth mindset is the belief that a person can continue to learn and become more intelligent with effort, and that failure is an opportunity to grow. People begin to be successful the moment they decide to be.
In contrast, someone who has a fixed mindset believes that they are born with a certain amount of talent and intelligence that cannot be improved no matter how much effort they put forth, and that failure is the limit of their abilities.
In addition, someone with a growth mindset sees mistakes as a learning opportunity and openly accepts criticism because they believe it will help them grow. Someone with a fixed mindset often gives up and takes criticism personally.
Out of these two mindsets that we manifest at a very young age springs a great deal of our behavior, how we see setbacks, and how we see our relationship with success and failure, from both a personal and professional context. Ultimately, it sets the stage for our capacity to be happy — do we ascribe to a fixed mindset where we think that we are born this way and there’s nothing that we can change? Or do we want to have a growth mindset where we feel that we are capable and worthy of success if we put our heart to it?
“Many people assume that there are only two possibilities when you do something — you either succeed or fail. What they don’t understand is that failure and success are on the same track; not only that, the road to success is paved with many failures.”
Cat Triviño, MindNation Head of Communications and Content
Here are some ways we can cultivate a growth mindset:
Build transportable skills. This is defined as a specific set of skills that don’t belong to a particular niche, industry or job; rather, they are general skills that can be transported between jobs, departments, and industries (hence the name). Examples include learning how to solve problems, your ability to be mentally resilient, learning how to communicate in times of difficulty, getting things done within the timelines, and also your capacity to take risks. Building these skills early and keeping them sharp and fresh constantly keeps you grounded and builds your overall ability to keep going and exploring new things.
Cultivate meaningful experiences. These are situations that take us out of our comfort zone and force us to adapt. Think of them as vitamins or antibodies that boost our immune system and help us withstand career change and adversity. Being able to be resilient in times of crisis is an example of a meaningful experience; when we see our hardships and things beyond our control as something we can learn from, they take out that fear of failure.
Invest in enduring relationships. Great relationships can make you stronger and your impact bigger. Surround yourself with people who are good influences so that you will be motivated to become someone unique and indispensable. That being said, when it comes to relationships in the workplace, you will need one of each of the following:
Community of experts — These are people you look up to, who can help you come up with better answers. After all, you can’t always be the smartest person in the room.
Critical colleagues — These are people who constantly give you feedback not because they just want to criticize, but because they want you to be better.
Champions — Find mentors and truth-sayers who are on your side. They will tell you when you’re wrong, so you grow as a person.
Anchor on your “why.” Inspiring ourselves to move forward and motivating others starts with us being clear on where we’re heading. So think about your purpose in life. What is your cause? What do you believe in? Do you want to challenge the status quo? Do things differently? Then from your “why,” allow yourself to create the structure, the “how.” How do you make your “whys” realized, what specific actions will you take? The result of knowing the “why” and the “how” is the “what” — what is your purpose? What can you get out of this?
Reframe success and failure. Many people assume that there are only two possibilities when you do something — you either succeed or fail. What they don’t understand is that failure and success are on the same track; not only that, the road to success is paved with many failures. So it is important to understand that challenges or setbacks are assets. Failure forces us to learn and grow. Everytime we hit rock bottom, we should recognize it, honor it, respect it, and understand that this will only make us more skilled and better
Trust time and the process. When we fail, it’s not because we didn’t try hard enough; sometimes it’s because the universe is telling us that it may not yet be the proper time.
Make self-care a habit. Self-care is what makes us feel good about ourselves and what we do. When we constantly reward ourselves with adequate self-care, we will develop a healthier growth mindset as well, because we will want to be able to give the world the best of us, not what’s left of us.
A lot of what influences and fuels our careers and our lives are our purpose and mindset. Being able to know our whys and having enough motivation to be able to constantly see failures as growth creates not only so much bigger opportunities for ourselves, it also creates inspiration for others.
MindNation has a repertoire of webinars to train your team on how to build a growth mindset, have a purposeful career, and have happier, healthier, and more productive lives. Message us at [email protected] to know more!
Think back to the day you reported to work for your very first job. Whether that job was your dream role or a stepping stone towards a greater path, I’m sure you approached it with vigor and excitement, savoring the rush of getting things done, putting new ideas to the table, and proving yourself to your peers and bosses.
Unfortunately, this rush does not last. As time passes and more work and responsibilities come in, we start to feel stress. And it’s not just with work — anything that we used to invigorate us that we have to do on a repetitive basis such as relationships, house chores, or taking care of a pet can suddenly feel like another box we have to tick. It can even get to the point where we can’t seem to drag ourselves off bed simply because we’re spent. We don’t feel plugged into the role or the things we need to do anymore.
Is this burnout? Or are we just tired?
“Burnout is not considered a mental illness. It is, however, still a mental health issue because if left unresolved, it can lead to reduced productivity and sap our energy, leaving us feeling depressed, cynical, and resentful.”
World Health Organization
Burnt out or tired?
Tiredness is defined as the state in which one desires to sleep or rest. Once we have done either of the two, the tired feeling goes away and we can carry on with our other activities normally. It’s normal for everyone to feel tired.
Burnout, however, is being over-tired – it is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. The term was first coined by German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in 1974 after observing the volunteers of a clinic for addicts and homeless people in New York City. The clinic’s volunteers were struggling with their intense work and according to Dr. Freudenberger, the stress of the job was causing them to feel demotivated and emotionally drained. Though they had once found their jobs rewarding, they had become cynical and depressed; they weren’t giving their patients the attention they deserved.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is not considered a mental illness. It is, however, still a mental health issue because if left unresolved, it can lead to reduced productivity and sap our energy, leaving us feeling depressed, cynical, and resentful. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to our body that makes us vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu.
Symptoms of burnout
How can we tell if we are burnt out? According to the WHO, there are three symptoms to watch out for:
Physical. Apart from feeling tired and drained most of the time, people who are burnt out also find it difficult to sleep. They also experience lowered immunity, frequent illnesses, frequent headaches, or muscle pain but laboratory tests reveal nothing is wrong.
Emotional. These include feelings of doubt, helplessness, a sense of failure, of being trapped, loss of motivation, an increased negative outlook, and feeling detached or dissatisfied with no sense of accomplishments.
Behavioral. Examples of this include lowered productivity, withdrawal from responsibilities, isolation, using food/drugs/alcohol to cope, procrastination, having a short fuse, skipping work or coming in late, and wanting to always leave early.
If these apply to you or your team’s situation, it’s time to take action. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.
What to do?
Here are some steps you can take when you spot the signs of burnout, as well as how to avoid it from happening:
Step 1: Recognize the state you are in
While many of us already have an inkling that we are in a state of burnout or approaching one, we tend to brush this feeling under the rug because we don’t want others (especially our bosses) to mistake our lowered productivity and detached feelings as laziness or an inability to cope with the demands of work. But we are not robots; It’s normal to experience burnout. This is why we need to conduct regular self check-ins to make sure we know what state we are in and take the appropriate countermeasures.
We can start by asking ourselves these questions:
Am I feeling cynical or negative about work, and are these feelings escalating?
Is my motivation decreasing?
Is it becoming difficult to perform work-related problem solving?
Do I feel myself getting more agitated or angry at work?
Are interpersonal difficulties at work spilling over into my home life?
Do I feel depressed as a result of work-related stress?
Is work-related stress causing my anxiety?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are either burnt out or close to being so.
If you are unsure, you can take MindNation’s WellBeing Quiz. This is a FREE, 2-minute TRUE or FALSE test to check if you are Thriving, Healthy, Decent, Fading, or Burnt Out.
Step 2: Know your WHY
Once you have gotten the lay of the land and honored your state, dig deeper and ask yourself, WHY. Apart from income, why are you doing your job? This is because when we talked earlier about losing vigor to do the things that used to excite us, it can be largely driven by our loss of clarity or sight of our “why.” We simply don’t know why we do things anymore, and it can be easy to get lost in the many things happening around us today with the pandemic and personal stress. When we’re aligned with our why, it’s a different kind of fuel or charisma that makes things happen and gives us focus.
Step 3: Go back to the basics. This means keeping hydrated, eating healthy, and recharging to the fullest. Always remember that recovery from burnout is a slow journey and requires daily rest. It is not something that can be fixed in a day or even in just a week; research has shown that vacations don’t cure burnout. While burnout levels do decrease during vacation, they often return to pre-vacation levels within a week or two after returning to work. This is why the next step is important.
Step 4: Build habits that cultivate resilience
Taking care of our mental health is all about our mental strength. It involves developing daily habits that build mental muscle, which may also involve giving up bad habits or toxic stressors that do hold us back. When we hone our mental muscle, it’s like going to the gym consistently; we become stronger versions and it is something we have to discipline ourselves to do.
Some ways to do this include:
Setting boundaries. This can avoid you from spreading yourself too thin, especially when you’re on the brink of burnout. So set limits on the time you give to others to help you manage stress while recovering from burnout. It doesn’t mean avoiding a person all together, but avoiding a specific habit, behavior, or ask that may be pushing you to your limit. Be firm about your needs. Talk to others involved and let them know what’s happening. Explain that you need some support in order to take care of your health and manage your workload productively.
Prioritizing work-life balance. Once you leave work, focus on relaxing and recharging for the next day.
Seeking professional help. Increasing your well-being is not always easy, especially when you’re at your lowest. So seek help from those around you, and from trusted professionals as soon as possible. MindNation’s licensed psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions if you need help managing stress or building better habits. Book a session now through bit.ly/mn-chat or email [email protected]. Rest assured that all conversations will be kept secure and confidential.
Anxiety is caused by our fear for the future and things that may not have happened yet. Our awareness with what’s happening now and acceptance will help us create that leeway we need to plan for what’s to come.
MindNation partners with like-minded organizations to provide holistic well-being programs, psychologist consultations via teletherapy, and Company Culture Drive talks to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit us at www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] to know more.