Employee Wellness Featured Self Help Sleep

6 Secrets To A Good Night’s Sleep

If you’re tired of feeling tired, here are some simple tips to help you achieve better sleep

We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but when restless nights persist, it can become a real problem. Studies have shown that inadequate sleep can have serious effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health, like increasing our propensity for obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes, as well as making us tired, moody, and unable to concentrate on daily tasks. “Think of your body as a computer,” says Dr. Rhalf Jayson Guanco, a psychologist and faculty member of the psychology department of the Adventist University of the Philippines. “Walking around in a sleep-deprived state is like working on a computer with a fragmented hard drive. You are not getting all the performance from that computer that you could.” 

Experts say adults need to sleep between seven to nine hours per stretch so that the body can repair and recharge itself for the next day. And when we are fully rested, we enjoy benefits such as improved memory and concentration, enhanced creativity, better decision-making skills, a more positive mood and mindset, and a healthier immune system.

If you have trouble settling down to sleep, Dr. Guanco shares some tips below that you can follow:

  1. Maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, even on the weekends. “Doing so maintains your body’s circadian rhythm (also known as our “inner clock”), which can help you fall asleep and wake up more easily,” says Dr. Guanco.
  2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Don’t eat, do moderate to intense exercises, or drink alcohol or caffeine, or smoke three hours before bedtime since these arouse the senses instead of sending you into a relaxed state. “Also avoid doing activities that excite or stress you out, such as working, playing video games, or paying bills,” he adds.
  1. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool. Dr. Guanco advises using blackout curtains to cover your windows, and wearing eye shades or ear plugs.
  2. Sleep on a firm, comfortable mattress. “The average lifespan for a good quality mattress is about 9 -10 years.,” he points out. 
  1. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. “This strengthens the association between your bed and sleep.  Take work materials, computers, and the television out of the bedroom,” he shares.
  2. Exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime). Even just short bouts of exercise can lead to improvements in total sleep time, sleep quality, and time spent falling asleep. Exercise may also help reduce the symptoms of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or sleep-related movement disorders. Just make sure to do it at least 3 hours before bedtime. 

If you need help fine-tuning your sleep habits, our WellBeing Coaches are available for online sessions  24/7, all year round. Book your slot now at or email [email protected].

Employee Wellness Get Inspired Mental Health 101 Work in the New Normal

Do’s And Don’ts For Supporting A Colleague With a Mental Health Concern

There are many ways to help someone going through a tough time, just make sure you do it properly

What should you do if you think that a team meamber is exhibiting signs of a mental health concern? What if you want to help but can’t find the right words to say? How can we be more present to those in need?

 The good news is more often than not, you don’t even need to say anything. “What’s more important is you respond sensitively to their needs and show that you care,” says Riyan Portuguez,  RPsy RPm (also known as Your Millennial Psychologist). “Your mere presence already has a powerful effect,” she assures.

Below are some ways:


  1. Dedicate enough time. If you want to get to the bottom of their issues, staying behind for an extra 30-minutes after an online meeting will not cut it. “An honest-to-goodness conversation will take hours, so be sure you won’t be distracted by other matters,” points out Riyan. 
  1. Let them lead the discussion. Allow them to share as much or as little as they want to. Don’t pressure them to tell you anything that they are not ready to talk about. Talking takes a lot of trust and courage; you might even be the first person they have been able to talk to about this issue. 
  1. Validate their feelings. “Listen actively and empathize as much as you can,” advises Riyan. Remember, you don’t have to agree with someone’s feelings or choices to acknowledge that their emotions are valid.
  1. Offer to accompany them to a mental health professional to prevent further harm. They may be hesitant to take this next step because of the stigma associated with seeking professional treatment for mental health concerns, but assure them that it is a good way for them to receive proper care. Another option you can suggest is MindNation’s 24/7 chat helpline on FB Messenger. Assure your friend that the service is free, completely confidential, and that the staff are trained to ease their anxieties. 
  1. Know your limitations. “Make sure YOU are mentally and emotionally prepared to offer help,” Riyan reminds. Self-care is critical when you are supporting someone who is in crisis. When someone unburdens themselves to you, you might end up absorbing all the strong emotions, so make sure you set boundaries and take steps to protect yourself by doing activities before and after the conversation that leave you feeling rested, relaxed, and recharged. And if you feel you have reached your limit, don’t feel bad about stepping back, but do it properly.


  1. Diagnose. Do not make assumptions about what is wrong with the person. “When you initiate the conversation, avoid blurting inappropriate things like ‘I notice that you seem down lately, are you depressed?’” Riyan instructs. “A better way to phrase it would be ‘You seem down lately, are you okay?’ or ‘Is there anything I can do?’” 
  1. Start with “How are you?” Riyan says this is because it would be easy for the person to just say “I’m fine” even though he or she is really not. She suggests that if you want the other person to open up, a better way would be to phrase the question in such a way that it compels the responder to do an action, such as “Hey, are you free later? Let’s talk.” 
  1. Break their trust. Do not gossip about your friend’s problems to other people; neither should you report his or her mental health concerns to their boss even if your intentions are good (i.e. you want to alert them that their team member has mental health struggles). “This will cause your friend to resent you, when what you want is to maintain his or her trust in you,” Riyan points out. If you really feel that you need to get others involved, ask for permission first, i.e. “Is it okay to open this up to your team leader?” Then follow up with “I think it would be nice to mention what you told me to them, so that they can also help you.” Lastly, offer to accompany the person when he or she has that conversation as a form of moral support. 
  1. Invalidate their feelings. According to Riyan some of the things you should not say to someone struggling with a mental health concern include: 
  • “It’s all in your head” 
  • “Things could get worse” 
  • “Have you tried chamomile tea/lavender lotion/praying/going out more/etc” 
  • “Shake it off.” 
  1. Ghost, ignore, or avoid them. If you become too overwhelmed to engage with them, don’t just disappear without a world. Step back, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully. Be honest about your reasons for stepping back, and do not blame the person (in the same way that you would not blame a cancer patient for the stress that results from their struggles). Set a date on when you will next touch base with him or her so that they feel assured that you still care for them and that the timeout is only temporary. Lastly, reach out to other members of your friend’s support network and make sure they can commit to helping out if there is an emergency. 

The best thing you can do for someone struggling with a mental health concern is to instill hope. “Saying ‘We will get through this together’ assures the person that he or she is not alone,” says Riyan.

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

Featured Self Help

Note To Self: Knowing Myself

More often than not, we go through our lives on autopilot, with little awareness that we are brushing our teeth, putting on your shoes, or sometimes even eating. While there is nothing really wrong with being unmindful of these little actions, the danger arises when we do not pay attention to our more significant behaviors, like how we talk to others, how we deal with problems, or what we do when we are sad or mad. When these mindless actions and behaviors occur too often, they can become habits, and if the habits are bad, they can affect our mental well-being, the way we relate to others, and how we go about our daily lives. . 

Cultivating self-awareness means becoming conscious of these behaviors and habits so that we have more control over our emotional responses, especially the ones that might not be so healthy. 

Self-awareness and mental health

When you develop self-awareness, you can begin to see where your thoughts and emotions guide you and take steps to change the unfavorable ones. When you are aware of your emotions you begin to increase your emotional intelligence (EQ), which is an important factor in achieving overall success. 

Specific benefits of practicing self-awareness include:

  • It can make us more proactive in improving our behavior, leading to positive self-development 
  • It allows us to see things from the perspective of others, practice self-control, work creatively and productively, and experience pride in ourselves and our work as well as general self-esteem 
  • It leads to better decision-making 
  • It can make us better at our jobs, better communicators in the workplace, and enhance our self-confidence and overall well-being
How to become more self-aware

Here are some things you can do to achieve greater self-awareness:

1. Look at yourself objectively.

Trying to see yourself as you really are can be a very difficult process, but once you do, you can learn how to accept yourself and find ways to improve.

  • Write down what you think of yourself – Ask questions like what are you good at, and what do you need to improve? Be objective, do not compare yourself with others. What are the accomplishments or things about yourself that you are proud of? 
  • Go back to your childhood – What made you happy back then? Is it still the same now? If there are changes, what are the reasons? 
  • Talk to close friends and family members – Ask them how they feel about you. 

When you are finished with the above-mentioned exercises, you already have gained a better understanding of yourself.

2. Practice mindfulness through meditation.

Meditation helps you manage your thoughts and feelings calmly, without judgement. 

3. Perform daily self-reflection. 

Set aside at least 15 minutes of each day to go through the day’s events, paying closer attention to what you felt and thought during those certain moments, both good and bad. Doing this will help you become more in tune with your thoughts and put yourself on a path to greater self-awareness.

4. Listen.

Try to be a better listener for friends, family, and colleagues. This means being fully present and paying attention to their words, emotions, and even body language, without making judgments or drifting off. When you lend an ear to others, you’ll also become a better listener to your own inner voice.

5. Use fun tools for self-discovery.

Taking tests like the Myers-Briggs Type (MBTI) Indicator and the Predictive Index can help you understand what traits and characteristics you have so that you can understand yourself better.

6. Ask help from those close to you.

The thing with bad habits is sometimes you are not aware that you are doing it. So if there is a habit or behavior that you want to change, tell your frequent companions to call you out if you are doing it. For example, if you would like to stop cursing whenever you are feeling frustrated, ask your friend to discreetly let you know when it is happening, so you can stop.

Remember, increasing self-awareness does take time. It can take years and may require input from many people around you. Always try to respond to reflections and feedback with an open mind, so that you can find ways to utilize your strengths, feelings, emotions, and improve on your bad habits and weaknesses. 

Written by Jac of Mindnation

Featured Get Inspired

4 Ways You Can Help Out During the COVID-19 Pandemic

4 ways you can help out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteering can be one of the most productive and meaningful experiences of your life; why not use this time to start doing it?  

Volunteering is defined as an activity where an individual or organization freely gives time to benefit another person or group without expecting anything in return. Apart from being able to help others, volunteers experience the added bonus of improved mental health – numerous research has shown that acts of selflessness lead to lower rates of depression, increased life satisfaction, and reduced stress levels. 

If you find yourself with extra time on your hands because the pandemic has curtailed your usual activities, consider using it to volunteer. Most of the suggestions below can even be done in the comfort and safety of your home. 

  • Make masks and face shields. Personal protective equipment for the face are easy to make, don’t take up a lot of time, and the raw materials are inexpensive. There are also many video tutorials available online. You can donate the finished products to the nearest healthcare facility, or to members of other vulnerable sectors (i.e. supermarket employees, garbage collectors, security guards, etc).
  • Cook and/or deliver meals to those who need them. You don’t have to be a culinary genius to come up with food that is nutritious and filling. Even a simple pasta dish will be appreciated by medical frontliners, your senior citizen neighbors, or the blue-collar workers in your community whose earnings have been affected by the pandemic.
  • Run errands for immunocompromised or senior citizen neighbors. Many people who cannot leave the house do not just need food – they may also need someone to buy them their toiletries, medicines, and other household needs. On your designated grocery day, simply knock on doors and ask if anyone needs anything, so that you can purchase everything in one go.
  • Teach senior citizens to use technology. If you are living with people who are not tech savvy, use the time to educate them on videoconferencing apps, mobile banking, or ordering online. This will make them feel less helpless and can even take some of the burden off you (i.e. you don’t have to run as much errands for them anymore since they can now do things online by themselves). A bonus – nothing feels better than seeing a grandparent’s eyes light up after finally being able to interact with a grandchild she has not seen in months.

There are many opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life, even during a lockdown situation. Just remember that when volunteering during the pandemic, always take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash hands frequently.