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Get Inspired

5 Fearless Females Who Are Inspiring Us Right Now

To cap off International Women’s Month, here are five women who are breaking biases, smashing the glass ceiling, and paving the way for future generations.

  1. Jessica Jung
    Korean-American singer, songwriter, actress, novelist, and businesswoman

“I actually learned that you should never give up, and if you love something, take courage and absolutely go after it.” — Jessica Jung

Jessica rose to fame in 2007 as one of nine members of the K-pop girl group Girls’ Generation. The group was dubbed by TIME Magazine as one of the most influential K-pop acts that helped introduce Korean music to the world, and in 2013 even became the first K-pop group to reach 100 million views on YouTube. 

In 2014, Jessica launched her luxury brand business Blanc & Eclare. She was subsequently dismissed from Girls’ Generation due to conflicts between the group’s schedule and her work with Blanc & Eclare. Even though fans questioned her decision, Jessica continued to follow her own path, releasing new music as a solo artist and becoming an actress. Blanc & Declare’s products are now being sold in around sixty stores in locations such as Seoul, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taiwan, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Vancouver. In 2020, she published Shine, a young adult romance novel about a Korean-American K-pop trainee whose experience closely mirrors Jessica’s. A sequel, Bright, is currently in the works. 

2. Kathrin Jansen, Kizzmekia Corbett, Elena Smolyarchuk, Nita Patel, Hanneke Schuitemaker, Sarah Gilbert, et al.
The women who gave us the COVID-19 vaccine

“Women often don’t recognize, you have incredible strength inside you. It just needs the right moment to come out. I think in science, you can do this.” – Nita Patel


Throughout the pandemic, women scientists, researchers, and medical professionals have been at the forefront of the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Kathrin Jansen led the effort at Pfizer that produced the first vaccine approved for emergency use.
  • Kizzmekia Corbett is an immunologist in the U.S. National Institutes of Health who helped design the Moderna vaccine.
  • Elena Smolyarchuk is the chief researcher of the first completed clinical trials for the vaccine Sputnik V.
  • Nita Patel – and her all-women team of scientists in Maryland – led development of the vaccine for Novavax.
  • Hanneke Schuitemaker is the global head of viral vaccine discovery for Janssen Pharmaceuticals (owned by Johnson & Johnson).
  • Sarah GIlbert is the architect of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

This good news comes at a time when many working women are feeling the double burden of managing full-time work and household responsibilities due to pandemic-related school closures and work-from-home orders.  According to Nita, the COVID-19 crisis is negatively affecting women’s “productivity, boundary setting … and mental well-being.” But she also hopes there is a silver lining to the pandemic: A new generation inspired to get into science.

3. Angelina Mead King
Restaurateur, hotelier, race car enthusiast, sustainability advocate

Angie Mead King (L) with her wife Joey Mead King

The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that life is very short to do things you don’t want to do, so make sure you spend your waking moments doing the things you love doing…”

After Angie King came out as a transgender woman in 2016,  she experienced many instances of discrimination, from being questioned by an immigration officer at the Changi Airport in Singapore to being asked to leave women’s bathrooms in public establishments. But with the support of her wife – international host and model Joey Mead King – the two are now one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ couples in the Philippines.

“I think a lot of shock value [comes from questions like], ‘How can a real woman still have a relationship with a transwoman?’ It’s so categorised,” Joey said in a 2021 interview. “[People think] if you’re a transwoman then you must automatically favour a male. Our relationship broadens people’s perspective on the possibilities of love. It’s not just A, B, or C.”

4. Monique Ong
Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor, MindNation co-founder and Chairman

Monique Ong

“If I just believed the doctor telling me that [I was] below average and cannot go back to work, then I would never get better.”
Mon sustained a devastating traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2017 that left her with aphasia, a disorder that causes the patient to have trouble speaking, reading, writing, and understanding language. She was told that with therapy, her brain capacity could improve up to 80% — at the most. But she refused to let doctors determine her fate; in her quest to return to her normal life, she challenged herself and those tasked to treat her.  When she was tested by her neurologist six months after her accident, her brain was operating at 95%.

In 2019, she co-founded MindNation, an innovative mental health and well-being company that has grown globally as a trusted partner for organizations and communities alike.

5. Hidilyn Diaz
Weightlifter, the first Filipino to ever win an Olympic gold medal for the Philippines

Hidilyn Diaz (Photo from Tatler Asia)

Don’t ever give up. Even if some are saying that you are not capable or limiting you… we are born to break barriers. You can do it.”

For the longest time, there are clear categories in sports based on which gender is most represented. For example, football, basketball, boxing, boxing, and weightlifting are examples of male-dominated sports because they are thought of as being more “masculine.” On the other hand, gymnastics and figure skating are thought to be female-dominated sports because they are more “feminine.” Hidilyn changed all that by not only getting the gold for weightlifting in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but also setting a new Olympic record for her efforts. 

Hidilyn’s success has attracted many young Filipinas to start taking up weightlifting themselves, bringing new meaning to the phrase “lift like a girl.”

Talk to a MindNation WellBeing Coach so you can reach your full potential and become the best version of yourself. Book a session now through bit.ly/mn-chat or email [email protected]


Categories
Employee Wellness Featured

Top 5 Qualities Of A Good Mentor

A mentor is an experienced or trusted advisor who provides their mentee with the tools, guidance, support, and feedback they need to thrive in their career. A good mentor enhances an employee’s skills, cultivates leaders who can help the company further advance, and drives positive company culture. 

If you want to develop an effective mentoring program in your organization, partner with a mental health and well-being provider to avail of services that build happier, healthier, more empathic teams. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] to know more about our CareNow Plan© for teams.

Good mentors come in all ages, genders, and even educational attainments. “You can be a good mentor as long as you are dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned in to a mentee’s needs,” says career and business advisor Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions. 

It is not just a mentee who benefits from the guidance of a good mentor; mentors themselves experience the satisfaction that comes from giving back and having a sense of belonging. “A mentor can find a lot of growth if they are in a group that is supportive and safe, in a community that makes them feel heard and values their life experiences,” shares Grace. 

Mentors themselves experience the satisfaction that comes from giving back and having a sense of belonging.

Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting

If you feel you are ready to take on the role of nurturing someone’s career growth, here are the qualities that you need to be a good mentor:

  1. Optimism. A good mentor constantly uplifts their mentee.  “Make the person feel  that you believe in their potential, that you hear them, and are willing to listen to them,” says Grace.
  2. Teachability. While there are courses and certificate programs for aspiring mentors, these are not requirements to be good in the role. “There are many things you can do on your own to learn to be a good mentor, such as following thought leaders and statesmen on social media so you learn about different perspectives,” advises Grace. “And read! There are so many books that can help you become a better mentor, and don’t limit yourself to non-fiction, self-help, or personal development books. Fiction gives you a different view of how people are and can be great conversation starters. Lastly, immerse yourself with what’s happening outside; have a genuine interest in others.”
  3. An open mind. “A good mentor always comes prepared to be surprised,” advises Grace. “We are all human, which means that most of the time there are deep-seated reasons for mentoring that involve personal issues. So I always make sure I provide a safe space for my mentees if they want to talk to me about deeper matters.”
  4. A real desire to help but no desire to control the outcome. “Sometimes, people don’t necessarily need advice from a mentor; they just need someone to listen to them,” says Grace. “And when you provide a safe space for people to use you as a sounding board, you end up improving more than just careers.”
  5. Trust.  A good mentor never gossips about their clients. “I have lost potential clients because they want to know who else I am working with but I value confidentiality,” says Grace. “A good mentor-mentee relationship involves a trust component that both work very hard to strengthen over time.”
Categories
Featured Mental Health 101

Hello, D.E.A.R: A Communication Technique For Setting Boundaries

We know how important setting boundaries are to our mental health and well-being. However, it can be hard to communicate these boundaries or call out those who cross them. We fear that insisting on setting boundaries may make us seem difficult, unfriendly, or even troublesome.

Fortunately, the D.E.A.R conversation technique – developed by Dialectical Behaviour Therapist Dr Marsha Linehan in the 1990s – can be used to effectively remind people about your need for setting boundaries without hurting their feelings. MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo explains below:

D is for DESCRIBE

“Describe the situation where your boundaries were crossed, sticking to facts and neutral terms,” says Maria. This means when someone oversteps your physical boundaries for example, you say something like “I notice that you like to hug me when you see me in the morning” instead of inserting an opinion such as “You’re so inconsiderate of my personal space.” Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt; they may be wholly unaware of your boundaries.

E is for EXPRESS

When people upset your boundaries, stick to “I” statements when calling them out. An example would be “I feel uncomfortable when you do this” or “I don’t feel happy when you do that.” Do not label, i.e. “Calling me after office hours is so rude” or question the other person’s intentions, i.e. “You keep interrupting me during work, do you want me to lose my job?” “These will only hurt the person or make them defensive, and you will lose any chance of an amicable resolution,” reminds Maria.

When people upset your boundaries, stick to “I” statements when calling them out.

MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo

A is for ASSERT

“Specifically tell them what you want to happen in the future, such as ‘I would appreciate it if you would greet me in the morning with a high-five instead of a hug,’” suggests Maria.  “Or ‘I prefer that you send work-related messages between 8AM to 5PM only.’ Do not hem and haw, say “Maybe” or “Sorry,” or be vague, as in “I’m sorry, but maybe you could do something else to greet me in the morning?” This can lead to confusion, give the impression that your boundaries are negotiable, and encourage new expectations and demands among those around you.

R is for REINFORCE

“End the conversation on a gracious note,” Maria says. Statements like “I appreciate you hearing me out,” or “Thank you for respecting my boundaries,” will soothe any feelings that may have been hurt or offended and increase the chances of an amicable resolution. 

If despite your best efforts you find it is difficult to set boundaries with someone, you have two choices:

  • Limit contact by physically avoiding the other person or asking someone else to run interference for you. “But in cases of sexual harasment or physical abuse, you have every right to report the threatening behavior to the authorities right away,” Maria cautions.
  • Go no-contact. This can be asking to be transferred to another team or leaving the company altogether, unfriending/unfollowing the person on social media, or going as far as to tell friends and family that you want to minimize contact with the person.

When you are firm in communicating and setting your boundaries, you show that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings more than the thoughts and opinions of others.

Book the MindNation Self-Love Pack© to get THREE 1-hour consultations with a psychologist who can help you with setting boundaries, living intentionally, and having better relationships with the ones who matter. This plan is available for free when your organization avails of the CareNow Plan© for teams. Visit www.mindnation.com to learn more.

Categories
Featured

Mental Health for Beginners

While understanding and awareness about mental health and its issues has increased in the recent years, we are sure there are still some topics that need clarification.

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 if you need someone to talk to; just message bit.ly/mn-chat to book a session.

Riyan Portuguez RPsy RPm (also known as Your Millennial Psychologist on Facebook) answers the 10 most common questions about mental health and wellness below:

  1. What is mental health?

Riyan: Mental health is the science of self-love. It’s about honoring your emotions and boundaries, and allowing yourself to receive proper and evidence-based care so that you attain personal growth, maximize productivity, and make significant contributions to your community.

  1. What causes mental health problems?

Riyan: Mental health is a complicated matter. It varies from person to person and occurs from the interaction of the following factors:

  1. Neuro-biological (i.e. chemical imbalances in the brain, genetic predispositions to certain disorders that may be triggered by stress or trauma)
  1. Socio-cultural (i.e. a dysfunctional family life, substance abuse)
  1. Psychological (i.e. severe psychological trauma, neglect)
  1. How can I tell if someone I love has a mental health concern?

Riyan: If your loved one exhibits the following warning signs for two weeks or more, you are right to be concerned:

  1. Significant changes in their behavior, such as extreme angry outbursts or bouts of sadness
  2. Withdrawal from friends and other normal activities
  3. No longer pays attention to grooming and/or personal hygiene
  4. Confused thinking, inability to concentrate, lapses at work
  5. Significant weight gain or loss, loss of appetite or overeating
  6. Talks about doing harm to themselves or to others.

When you are in doubt about your friend’s condition, always seek the assistance of a mental health professional. 

  1. How can I tell if I have a mental health problem?

Riyan: The answer is the same as the above, although it can be harder to recognize the warning signs if you are talking about yourself. This is especially true if you are the type of person who is frequently perceived by others as “strong,” or if you are the one always providing help to others. Listen to friends and family and keep an open mind if they express concern about the state of your mental health. 

  1. I feel strong, negative emotions like anger and fear sometimes; does this mean I need to see a therapist as soon as possible?

Riyan: Not right away. Emotions, even the negative ones, are a normal part of life, so go ahead and allow yourself to feel them and to lose yourself in them. Suppressing or dismissing these emotions because they are “bad” will only lead to emotional or psychological disorders. But if you experience negative emotions recurring too often or last more than two weeks, or you feel they are getting stronger or more out of control, then seek help. 

  1. What is the difference between sadness and depression?

Riyan: Sadness is an emotion. It is a response to a specific situation — something happened that made you sad. But you are still able to function (i.e. work, do homework) and experience other emotions (i.e. you feel happy when friends comfort you). It usually goes away after a few days.

On the other hand, depression is a mental illness. It is pervasive sadness — it affects all other areas of your life, like your work and relationships with others. There is also no known or specific trigger — you don’t even know why you feel sad anymore — and it is usually accompanied by feelings of apathy and numbness. 

  1. What is the difference between fear and anxiety?

Riyan: Fear is an emotion caused by something that is in the present and it is specific — there is an imminent situation that causes you to feel afraid, but you are still able to do normal things like eat, sleep, or work. Once the source of fear passes, you don’t think about it anymore. 

Anxiety is a mental disorder — it is an intense level of fear or worry about something that will occur in the future. You anticipate that something terrible will happen. People with anxiety tend to exhibit the following behaviors:

  1. Unhelpful thinking patterns — i.e. “What if–?” scenarios, “Should” and “Must” statements
  2. Magnification — the source of fear is insignificant but in the person’s mind, it is catastrophic
  3. Overgeneralization — the problem attaches itself to all other parts of their lives (i.e. “I did poorly at work” becomes “I am such a loser”)
  4. Physical symptoms such as hyperventilating and heart palpitations

People experiencing normal fear will also have negative thoughts, but after awhile they will follow these up with questions or narratives that will challenge those negative beliefs and cultivate optimism. For example, someone whose boss gives them a difficult task will worry about doing well, but after some time will figure out strategies to cope. And once the difficult task has been completed, they move on to the next assignment. 

  1. What is the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and therapist? How do I know which is the right one for me?

Riyan: A psychiatrist is permitted to prescribe medicine, so their focus is on treating the neurobiological aspect of mental disorders. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, and will focus on the patient’s sociocultural factors before diagnosing the illness. They are also therapists because they are the ones who create the interventions or treatment plans for patients. 

Psychologists and psychiatrists work together. If psychologists feel that the physical symptoms of a patient are strong, they may refer the person to a psychiatrist first to lessen the symptoms, then ask him or her to come back to continue with other forms of therapy.  

  1. Is there a way I can prevent mental health problems?

Riyan: Practice healthy lifestyle and self-care habits like eating the proper diet, frequently exercising, and getting enough sleep. Get help whenever you feel overwhelmed by your problems, beginning with talking to friends and family. Don’t be afraid to consult a mental health professional if the need calls for it. 

  1. Is there a cure for mental health problems?

Riyan: If by “cure” you mean it will disappear forever, then the answer is “no.” However, mental health problems are treatable. There are many people who recover, but they need to continuously work with psychologists or monitor their lifestyle to reduce incidences of relapse. 

And always remember that having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. It is similar to having eyesight problems — there is no cure for nearsightedness, but you can wear corrective lenses and carry on normally for the rest of your life. 

Categories
Self Help

6 Ways To A Successful Digital Detox

A digital detox refers to a period of time when you refrain from using digital devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, and social media sites.

Some reasons you may need a digital detox:

  • Checking your social media accounts is the first thing you do when you have nothing to do
  • You are constantly missing sleep to stay on your devices
  • You are fixated with the like, comment, or share counts on your social media posts

A digital detox does not mean you have to give up social media and Netflix for the rest of your life. Rather, it is about taking steps to become more more mindful of gadget usage so that you reduce dependency and improve your physical, mental, and even social well-being. By going on a digital detox, you can focus on real-life social interactions without distractions, let go of the stress that comes from constant connectivity, and improve your physical health. 

Dinah Salonga, a mindfulness facilitato, wellness advocate, and co-founder of YogaPlus Inc, Manila’s premiere yoga studio, shares some ways you can successfully achieve a digital detox. 

  1.  Recognize when your digital use is becoming excessive.
    The first step to doing a digital detox is acknowledging that there is a problem,” Dinah suggests. Are your loved ones complaining that you are spending too much time online? Are the number of likes in your posts affecting your mood for the day? Is your work suffering because you are tired from staying up all night binge-watching? “These are signs that you are becoming addicted to digital devices,” she advises.
  1. Set limits. If you cannot completely disconnect (i.e. your work requires you to be on social media), set boundaries. “For example, allot only one hour a day to work on your posts or engage with your followers. Set the phone aside during mealtimes or when you are spending time with loved ones. Stop watching the tv series when it’s 30 minutes before bedtime,” Dinah suggests.   
  1. Hack the hormones. “The happiness chemical dopamine is released by our brain whenever we come across something new and pleasurable,” Dinah explains. “When we see people liking our posts on social media, discover a new, entertaining show on a streaming app, or beat our previous record in a video game, we get a dopamine rush and keep wanting more, leading to a digital dependency.”

The key to an effective digital detox, therefore, is to replace time spent on digital devices with another activity that will give the same dopamine high but is not as harmful.

Dinah Salonga, Co-founder of YogaPlus Inc

The key to an effective digital detox, therefore, is to replace time spent on digital devices with another activity that will give the same dopamine high but is not as harmful. “Anything that will give you a sense of accomplishment – such as crafting, working on a puzzle, learning a new language, or exercising – will also cause your brain to light up without any negative consequences to your health and well-being,” Dinah says.

  1. Change the pattern. Is your smartphone the first thing you pick up when you are bored? Do you decompress after a long day at work by binge-watching the latest series? If digital devices have become ingrained in your day to day behavior, try to introduce new habits to break the pattern. If you are bored, go for a walk; if you are stressed, meditate.
  2. Listen to your body’s signals. Don’t ignore warning signs that you are spending too much time on your devices, such as an aching back, blurry vision, or fatigue.  These are your body’s way of telling you that you need to take a break.
  3. Seek help. You do not have to go through a digital detox alone. Ask a friend or family member to act as an accountability partner. “Choose someone who will tell you to go to sleep when they see you chatting past your bedtime, or even be willing to take your phone away if you have been spending too much time on social media,” Dinah advises.

Help can also be in the form of a MindNation WellBeing Coach who can teach you techniques to form healthier habits; an initial 1-hour session costs only P500. Book a session now by emailing [email protected]

Doing a digital detox is challenging because smartphones and apps have become an integral part of our daily lives. Hopefully the tips above can help you reduce – if not eliminate – your dependency on these technologies and free yourself to spend more time and energy on the things that matter. 

Categories
Work in the New Normal

Workplace Trends for 2022: 4 Things Every Business Leader Should Know

Make 2022 your organization’s Year Of WellBeing. Visit www.mindnation.com now. 

If 2021 was about learning to live and work during a pandemic, 2022 will be about applying all the lessons learned this past year. What will the future of work look like? Business coach and consultant Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions, shares her predictions:

  1. The hybrid mode of work will be the new normal — and not everyone is going to be treated fairly. “Sadly, there are still many leaders who equate ‘presence with performance,’” Grace says. “This means that those who choose to go to work onsite will be considered more productive and valuable than those who remain or prioritize working from home.”

    What this means for companies: Leaders must ensure that all team members — regardless of where they are working from — are regarded equally and treated fairly especially in terms of promotions and pay raises. Not doing so will cause discontent among team members. “Leaders must also change the prevailing mindset about what it means to be productive, and create avenues for more collaboration between employees,” Grace advises.
  2. Organizations will fight to attract and retain existing talent. “I know of quite a number of senior executives and managers in the Philippines who decided to take their families and just move — whether it’s to outside the city for a quieter provincial life, or even out of the country. This migration is the most I’ve seen since I started working 25 years ago,” Grace relates. 

Their reason for moving? “The past two years have made many pause and rethink their priorities,” she explains. “They either realized that they want more time with their family, or that what they are doing now is not what they want to do for the rest of their lives.”

What this means for companies: “There is going to be a lot of creativity around talent attraction and retention,” Grace says. “The fight is no longer against other companies, it’s now about whether your employee is finding purpose in their current role or if the current work schedule supports their desire for work-life balance.” 

  1. Employee health and safety will continue to be a top concern. As employees return to work, many will be struggling with fears and anxieties over their safety and adjusting to new procedures and protocols. This post outlines the things managers can do to make the transition easier and assure team members that the workplace will be a safe space for them, physically and mentally.

What this means for companies: Adhering to health and safety standards in the new normal requires added expenses, so leaders need to look at where they can cut costs and reallocate the budget. What’s important to you? Is it your bonus, or upgrading the ventilation system? Is it new furniture or investing in an employee well-being program? “Part of being a leader is looking at the situation, spotting the areas of concern, and making the tough calls to address them,” says Grace.

“Part of being a leader is looking at the situation, spotting the areas of concern, and making the tough calls to address them,”

Grace De Castro, Business Coach And Consultant
  1. Mental health and well-being will become very important. “The last two years have really taken a toll upon all of us, and business leaders need to acknowledge that there is no going back to before,” Grace says. “Mental health can no longer be a special event that only gets talked about during Mental Health Month or Suicide Prevention Month. Conversations around mental health need to be normalized; people who are struggling should know where they can seek help and not be ashamed about it.” 

What this means for companies: While it’s understandable that the priority of a company in the new normal is profitability, this cannot be at the expense of the team’s well-being. “You can’t expect people to be delivering multitudes when they’re physically, mentally, and emotionally broken and with no social support,” Grace says. “Treat your employees well, because if you take care of them they will take care of your business. And if your people are at the place where they can deliver, you can have both — profits and a culture that supports mental health and well-being.”

If you need help, partner with MindNation to receive a holistic, data-driven, and customized well-being program for your organization. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] to know more. 

With many businesses hoping to return to some semblance of normalcy in 2022, it is important to remember that success can only be achieved when all parts of a company are working well together, from the machinery to the people. Workplace well-being should not only be a priority, it must be made mandatory. 

Categories
Featured Work in the New Normal

5 Ways To Ease Employees Back To The Workplace

With the MindNation CareNow Plan©, team members have access to 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches whenever they are feeling stressed and anxious. Visit www.mindnation.com to learn more.

Are you asking your team to report back to their offices? While some employees are excited to go back to the office, others are struggling with varying degrees of anxiety. They may be reluctant to leave their family after being in close proximity with them for more than two years, afraid of leaving the safety of home and catching the COVID-19 virus, or anxious over adjusting to a new work schedule and routine. 

If you are tasked with nudging people to return to work,  business coach and consultant Grace De Castro of V+A Consulting, a boutique consulting firm with expertise in customized people programs and creative business solutions, shares some things you can do to ease their anxieties and make the transition easier: 

  1. Ensure workplace safety. The first and most important thing to do is conduct a review of the physical space to make sure it follows minimum public health standards and safety protocols. Is it well-ventilated? Can social distancing be followed? What is the procedure if someone comes to work with symptoms? And if your employees do get sick with COVID-19, is treatment covered by their medical insurance and how much time will they be given to recover? Then, once these are in place, proceed to #2.
  2. Personally communicate these to your team. “Don’t just hand out memos or shoot out an email,” Grace advises. “Instead, hold a virtual meeting to inform staff about everything that the company is doing to make the site physically safe, and even what the expectations are in terms of schedule and responsibilities.” By adding this personal touch, employees will feel more assured and less anxious.
  3. Bring them back slowly. Having your employees come back all at once will only cause confusion and increase anxiety. Instead, schedule their return in batches to give them the time and space to adjust to the physical workplace and new procedures. Then, once everyone is settled in, don’t forget to do #4. 
  4. Hold frequent one-on-ones or team meetings. “The purpose of these check-ins are two-fold,” says Grace. “The first is to enable those who are anxious and struggling to feel that they are being heard and validated. The second is for you to communicate and reiterate the company’s vision, expectations, and business direction.” This ensures that the entire team is on the same page, and roles and responsibilities are made clear. 
  5. Show them that you are also taking care of yourself. “As a leader, you are probably putting up a brave face and hiding your own fears and anxieties,” Grace points out. “But shielding your emotions will only make your employees feel as if they are the only ones with problems and more alone.” So if you are feeling anxious or stressed, for example, let your team see you taking a mental health break or advise them that you will be talking to a mental health professional. “This will make them see you as human and will further normalize the conversation about mental health and well-being in the workplace,” she adds.

“If you are feeling anxious or stressed, for example, let your team see you taking a mental health break or advise them that you will be talking to a mental health professional.”

Grace De Castro, Business Coach And Consultant

As a manager, it’s important to remember that your team members may be going through something related to the pandemic that you are not aware of. Asking them to return to work should be accompanied with compassion and open conversation.

Categories
Financial Wellness

 5 Good Money Habits Your Team Needs To Start Doing Now

Is your team struggling with financial anxiety? The MindNation CareNow© Plan includes 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches to help ease their stress and worries. Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] now.  

When it comes to financial well-being, there is no better time to build good habits than today. With your guidance and help from MindNation WellBeing Coaches, your employees can commit to their money goals, budget better, and be happier, healthier, and more productive. Below are some healthy money habits they can start practicing:

  1. Track their finances regularly. Every month or every payday, remind your team to sit down and go over their cash flow. How much income came in and what are their expected expenses? Of the amount that they are able to save, how much will be allocated to the different funds?

“People tend to just go with the flow — ‘Oh, my expenses this month are high so I need to remember to spend less next month’ or ‘Wow, I was able to save a lot this month, I can spend more next month!’” explains financial coach Yani Moya. Yani is also the founder of Peridot Consulting, a financial consulting firm . “But this is a bad habit because money ends up controlling them, which can cause stress; a good habit is one where you control money.”

  1. Save before spending. “When people receive their salary, they spend it first on their needs and wants, and whatever is leftover is what they consider to be their savings,” Yani reveals. “But income is not the capacity to spend. So set aside money for savings first, then budget whatever is left for their different expenses,” she adds. 
  1. Set boundaries when giving money to family. It has become part of Filipino culture for an adult child to give a portion of their earnings to their parents as a way of repaying the years spent raising them. “There is nothing wrong with this if they are giving the money whole-heartedly,” Yani clairfies. “But if they are doing it because they feel obligated, this will lead to poor mental health. So remind them that if they must give, give only what they can.” 

Unpaid bills or outstanding loans are forms of negative money energy that contribute to stress, anxiety, and poor productivity.

Yani Moya, Personal Finance Coach
  1. Clear up negative money energy. Unpaid bills or outstanding loans are forms of negative money energy that contribute to stress, anxiety, and poor productivity. The only way to clear up negative money energy is to start paying them off, so help your employees make a plan to achieve this. “For example, this month’s focus will be on finishing off the remaining balance on Credit Card X; next month’s goal is to settle the loan they took out from Person A,” Yani explains. 
  1. Give back. If there is negative money energy, there is also good money energy. And when you give out good energy in the form of tithing and sharing, it will be returned to you, if not in the form of money then in terms of better opportunities, relationships, and even well-being.

“So just as much as your team member has to allocate money for their wants, they also need to build the habit of setting up a giving fund,” Yani advises. “The amount does not have to be big, it can be whatever they are comfortable with giving.”

By practicing these good money habits, your team will develop the skills and confidence needed to handle anything that comes to money. “How we are in one thing is how we are in everything,” Yani points out. “So if we want mental clarity, emotional peace, and good relationships, fixing your finances can be a big help.”

Categories
Mental Health 101

5 Therapy Myths And Misconceptions Debunked

There is no shame in seeking help. MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now https://bit.ly/mn-chat  or [email protected]

No one bats an eye if you go to a doctor for a heart problem; but mention that you are seeing a psychologist for mental health concerns and people will judge, shame, or even criticize you. 

“People avoid therapy because of the stigma surrounding mental health,” explains MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo. “And because no one wants to talk about it, people just come up with their own ideas of what therapy is about.”

Myths and misconceptions about therapy can prevent those affected from getting potentially life-changing support. If you or a loved one is in distress and are considering professional help, below are five common myths about therapy to stop believing:

MYTH: “Going to therapy means I am crazy.”

FACT: “While there are people who go to therapy for serious mental issues, this does not mean that they are crazy, weak, or hopeless,” Maria stresses. “Rather, going to therapy is an indication that they are mature and have the strength to come out, ask for help, and do whatever is necessary to make themselves better.”

Additionally, you can go to therapy even if you don’t have a major mental disorder. “Majority of people who go to therapy just need help managing everyday problems,” Maria points out. “During this pandemic, for example, my clients are mostly those who want to deal with work stress, relationship problems, and adjustments to the new normal. Many others just want to improve their well-being, relationships, or self-esteem.”

MYTH:  “I need to divulge my deepest and darkest secrets in order to get better.”

FACT: “You and your therapist might have to explore these if they are directly related to your current problem,” Maria admits. “But do know that talking about them can help ease your emotional burden.” 

That being said, going deep and personal is not a requirement for treatment. “Therapy is a safe space. If there are things that you do not want to talk about just yet, we will not pressure you,” she assures. Once you are ready, rest assured that MindNation teletherapy sessions are guaranteed to be secure, and confidential. 

MYTH: Follow-up sessions are not needed.

FACT: Because most patients feel an improvement in their mood after the initial or second session with a therapist, they no longer return for additional sessions. But follow-up sessions are important because they reinforce the practices taught, ensuring that you do not end up repeating the negative thoughts or habits that caused you to seek help in the first place. “When you feel better, have a clearer headspace, and are no longer as sensitive or emotional as the start, then you will be in a better place to work on your triggers,” Maria explains

MYTH: Therapy is expensive.

FACT: If your company does not yet have an Employee Assistance Program that includes sessions with mental health professionals and you have to pay for therapy out of your own pocket, this article lists the reasons you should consider therapy as an investment and not an expense. 

[J]ust as you would not think twice about paying a doctor to treat physical health concerns, you should also regard psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches as experts in treating mental health concerns. 

Maria Teresa Empleo, MindNation psychologist


Also, just as you would not think twice about paying a doctor to treat physical health concerns, you should also regard psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches as experts in treating mental health concerns. 

MindNation psychologist, psychiatrist, and WellBeing Coach teletherapy sessions are available singly or in packages so you save more on follow-up sessions. Purchase at bit.ly/mindnation-shop or thru the Goodwork.ph app.

MYTH: “I’d rather talk to a friend, at least that’s for free.”
Friends are a great source of support during tough times, but because of your close relationship there will always be that fear of judgement. On the other hand, because psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches are strangers, there is no need to worry about bias and censure. More importantly, they are trained and licensed mental health professionals, so they can offer science-based solutions to help you cope with life issues and mental health challenges.

Are you ready to talk to a MindNation psychologist, psychiatrist, or WellBeing Coach? Read this article to find out how you can choose which therapist is right for you. IF you are curious to find out what goes on during the first therapy session, we give you the rundown here. Finally, here are some things you can do to make sure that you get your money and time’s worth during your therapy session.

Categories
Financial Wellness

The Emergency Fund: Help Your Team Build Theirs Even During A Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, many employees learned the hard way how important having an emergency fund was. Having money tucked away in case of job loss, reduced income, or other large and unexpected expenses can help ease stress and create a financial buffer to keep one afloat during times of need without having to rely on credit cards or taking out a loan (both of which they might have difficulty paying off in the end).

“An emergency fund is a form of savings account. You keep it in the bank and only spend it on dire situations,” advises financial consultant Nicole Suarez. “Only when you have met your target amount can you explore putting the excess in investments.”

If your team is experiencing financial stress or need help building better budgeting habits, partner with MindNation to avail of 24/7 teletherapy sessions with WellBeing Coaches who can help ease their anxieties. Visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected] now.

How much is needed?
The general rule would be to set aside three to six months’ worth of living expenses,” Nicole suggests. But even then, she says that it also depends on one’s personal and financial circumstances. “Is the person a breadwinner? A parent? Or are they single and living with parents who provide for all their needs?” she enumerates. All these factors should be considered when computing how much money to set aside. For example, employees who are breadwinners will need to save even more, while those who are single can put small amounts into the emergency fund and just increase it over time. “The important thing is to build the habit,” she adds. 

How to build the fund during the pandemic

Replenishing an emergency fund on a reduced salary can be hard but it’s not impossible. Here are some suggestions you can offer your team members so that they can find extra money to set aside:

  1. Just start with what they can. Employees who are living paycheck to paycheck should not be expected to set aside an entire month’s salary right off the bat; it’s unrealistic and will set them up to fail. “Suggest that they set aside whatever they are comfortable with,” Nicole stresses. “When it comes to saving money, any amount will help.”
  2. Turn clutter into cash. “Look for things at home that they no longer need but can sell,” Nicole advises. These include pre-loved clothes, toys, and other household items. “Of course, they won’t be able to price them as high as they would want, but assure them that a small amount is better than nothing.”

“When it comes to saving money, any amount will help.”

Nicole Suarez, Financial consultant
  1. Cut down on expenses. “Remind them to be mindful of how much takeout they order in a month and to resist impulse buying during payday sales,” Nicole says. “Ask them to review their monthly subscriptions, like meal services or streaming services — is it possible to downgrade the subscription or cancel it entirely?”
  1. Look for other sources of income. “If your employee is particularly skilled at something, encourage them to turn it into a side business,” she suggests. This article by Forbes lists the reasons you should let your team moonlight: it will boost their financial health, give them an outlet for pursuing their passion, improve their creativity, and make them happier overall — all characteristics of a good employee.
    But to make sure that their side hustle does not interfere with their work in the company, clearly communicate your rules and boundaries during you regular one-on-one sessions; having an honest and open conversation will benefit you both. 
  2. Don’t go into debt. “An emergency fund is something that is built over time; because there is no pressure to come up with the money right away, it does not make sense to borrow money to fill it,” Nicole explains. 

During these uncertain times, an emergency fund can go a long way to boosting your team’s financial and mental health.