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Featured

Auie Macapaz: Normalizing mental health today for a better tomorrow

As Talent and Organizational Development Manager of direct selling beauty company Avon Cosmetics Inc. (ACI) in the Philippines, Laurice “Auie” Macapaz oversees the mental health and welfare of close to 300 employees. Not an easy task during the COVID-19 pandemic as team members are grappling with fatigue, anxieties about job security and income, and other mental health challenges.

But the realization that the company needed the services of a mental health and well-being company started back in 2018, when two ACI associates were diagnosed with clinical depression. “Back then mental health programs were not yet mainstream for organizations, so it was only when we were faced with this particular challenge that we saw how lacking our mental health coverage was,” Auie relates. Because the costs of psychiatric consultations and medicines were not included in their then-healthcare provider’s plan, the two Avon associates had a hard time managing their symptoms. 

“While we tried our very best and worked closely with our company doctor, the fact remained that we didn’t have anything in our program that could specifically address the needs of associates with mental health conditions.”

Laurice “Auie” Macapaz, AVON Talent and Organizational Development Manager

Additionally, even the direct manager of the two employees was at a loss on how to provide care. “None of us knew how to properly give support because we lacked awareness and training about mental health,” she shares. “While we tried our very best and worked closely with our company doctor, the fact remained that we didn’t have anything in our program that could specifically address the needs of associates with mental health conditions.”

In the end, the two associates opted to resign from the company because their psychiatrist told them that it would be better for their health if they just took time off from work. “If we had the services of a professional to help them navigate what they were going through, they would probably have lasted longer in  the organization, or at the very least, would have been able to manage their condition better,” Auie laments.

This where MindNation came in
MindNation fulfilled Auie’s wish for ACI to have a well-being program that is focused on holistic health and customized for each employee’s needs. The partnership recently celebrated its first anniversary, and proved that achieving good workplace mental health is a marathon, not a sprint. 

 “It was a slow start in the beginning, very few of our associates were availing of the 24/7 teletherapy services,” Auie admits. “This is because many of our associates come from a generation where if you tell them you are depressed or anxious, they would respond with ‘Oh, just pray about it,’ or ‘You’ll feel happier if we go out for a meal.’ They believe that you should only talk to a psychologist if things are already dire.”

Auie and the rest of ACI’s Human Resources department worked to change this mindset by exerting efforts to normalize talking about mental health and therapy during monthly check-in sessions. “I would nonchalantly tell the associates ‘Oh, I have had four sessions with a MindNation WellBeing Coach already and this is what I learned,’” she says. “I even shared with them that my teenage son has also been seeing a WellBeing Coach and it’s helped him so much this way and that.” Because of these initiatives by HR, bookings for sessions started to increase.

Another obstacle that Auie and MindNation encountered was ACI’s low open rate for the weekly newsletters (WellBeing Boosts) that MindNation sends to all its client-partners. “In the beginning, only 10% of the recipients were reading those emails,”  Auie reveals. She admits that this is because the associates are so swamped with work and correspondence on a daily basis that if the email does not come directly from their boss, they will not bother to open it. 

To solve this problem, Auie and MindNation decided that instead of sending emails to each and every employee, MindNation would send the materials to Auie, who in turn would upload them on the Facebook group page of Avon Philippines’ associates. “We have about 250 members in that Facebook group, and for the past few months I have been getting 160 views each upload. So from a 10% open rate,it’s now at more than 60%, which is not bad,” she proudly shares. 

But more than these numbers, Auie is happy that there is now a change in attitude of the employees about mental health. “I see it when our associates attend the MindNation Company Culture Drive Talks every month,” she shares. “Before, they would just sit there and listen; now they are interacting with the speaker more. Before, when the speaker would start off by asking them how they are feeling, they would just say ‘I am fine’ or ‘I am okay;’ but now they are more authentic in their feelings, they are divulging more emotions and acknowledging how they are really feeling.” 

Special group session

Auie is also thankful to MindNation for instances when the company went above and beyond what was required of it. “Last month, one our Business Development Managers (BDM) shared during a MindNation Group Session that one of the members of her sales team committed suicide, and that she was feeling guilty and sad about it,” she shares. “The WellBeing Coach facilitating the session picked up on that and a few days later, MindNation reached out to us and offered a free session for that BDM and other associates who knew that person who passed, to help them cope and make sense of their emotions. I think that was a great thing, it was more than what MindNation signed up for, and I really appreciated that.” 

Future plans
There is still a long way to go. “My wish is that those who had teletherapy sessions would share their experience with others, so that those who are shy or hesitant will also get help,” Auie says.

Plans are also underway to train select ACI team members to become wellbeing champions in the organization. “I am so excited for those people to get trained in mental health first-aid and become the go-to people of our associates if they have questions about the different mental health services that MindNation is offering, so that they can get the help they need,” she adds.

Ultimately, Auie’s dream is for Avon representatives to become multipliers of mental health and well-being. “I want to normalize mental health and well-being so that we can become each other’s active supporter in dealing with mental health challenges,” she says. “At ACI, we have almost a million people in our sales force — many of them women — and all our field associates have access to them. Our company mission is to empower women, so if we could teach these women and mothers how they can take care of themselves and others better by normalizing the conversation about mental health, then the world will be a better place.”

Auie highly recommends that other companies partner with a mental health and well-being company as a way of supporting their HR team. “Times are hard now and we cannot do it alone,” she says. “I cannot imagine being in this pandemic, taking care of all my people, and going through this roller coaster of emotions without the assistance of MindNation.”

MindNation can help you build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Visit www.mindnation.com to know more. 

Categories
How To

5 Ways To Effectively Communicate With A Loved One

Do you have difficulty telling your partner you are frustrated at them? Do a friend’s annoying habits trigger you, but you choose to stay silent to keep the peace? 

This is where knowing the difference between constructive and destructive criticism comes in. 

“It’s important to relay feedback to a loved one even when it’s negative because we want to help our loved ones to become better versions of themselves,” says MindNation psychologist Jessa Mae Rojas. “Additionally, when we are able to go through difficult communications with our partners unscathed, the relationship becomes stronger.” 

This does not mean you have to call them out about every little annoyance; some things are better left unsaid. “As long as what you are saying helps the person improve and does not make them question their self-worth or self-confidence, then that is constructive criticism,” Jessa says. “Everything else is just nitpicking.” 

Ready to have the constructively critical conversation? Here are some do’s and don’ts for relaying feedback to your loved one:

“It’s important to relay feedback to a loved one even when it’s negative because we want to help our loved ones to become better versions of themselves.”

Jessa Mae Rojas, MindNation Psychologist

DO:

  1. Time it right. Don’t do it when they are tired after a long day, or if YOU are tired after a long day. And especially do not get into the conversation when you are angry because you might end up saying something destructive instead. If tempers are high, step out of the room for awhile, take deep breaths, or do activities to distract you until you calm down. 
  2. Focus on specific behaviors, not on your partner’s whole personality. Don’t just say, “You’re just no fun.” Get specific instead by saying, “I’ve noticed that you don’t seem to enjoy online parties with my friends. Can you tell me why so I can understand better?”
  1. Give your partner a chance to explain or offer feedback. You have had your chance to speak, now it’s to sit back and listen. Remember that you are having a dialogue, not a monologue. 

DON’T

  1. Diagnose your loved one. “I think you have mental health issues,” or “Wow, your childhood really messed with your brain” will only deviate the conversation  from the main issue. 
  2. Make “You” statements. If you say, “You are impossible to talk to and you just don’t listen,” your partner will justifiably feel defensive. “I sometimes find it difficult to talk with you,” is a much more positive way to broach the subject.

If despite your best efforts your criticism is received in a negative light, don’t fan the flames by responding angrily. Instead, seek to understand why your loved one is acting this way. “Have a heart to heart talk; ask them ‘How would you want me to talk to you about this next time? Would you rather I write it down or send you a text message first, instead of talking to you about it directly?’” Jessa suggests. “These can help pave the way for more productive conversations in the future.”

If you and your partner are having difficulty communicating with each other, MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7 to help you build a stronger and lasting relationship. Message https://bit.ly/mindnationchat to book a session now! 

Categories
Featured

Darlyn Ty-Nilo: 7 Strategies For Designing Your Best Life

In 2006, Darlyn Ty-Nilo created the Belle de Jour (BDJ) Power Planners with the initial goal of helping Filipino women plan their days better. What started out as a passion project has now grown into a movement with over 9,000 members (known as “Bellas”) who swear by BDJ parent company Viviamo Inc.’s advocacy of empowering Filipinas to live their best lives. Viviamo Inc. does this not only through artful planners and journals, but also through campaigns and activities that engage with their community. 

For her work and efforts, Darlyn was awarded the Mansmith Young Market Masters Awardee for Entrepreneurship in 2010, became one of the youngest Agora Awardees for Entrepreneurship in 2012, and was named one of the Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs in 2017. More recently last June 2020, she was honored as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipino Women on Linked In.

“So get to know yourself, fall in love with yourself; and when you make mistakes, don’t be afraid to fall out of love with yourself. Then rediscover what else you can do. It’s all part of the process, and when you trust in the process, everything else will fall into place.”

Darlyn Ty-Nilo, Viviamo Inc.’s President and Managing Director

Darlyn reflects on her life and career and shares her X tips for designing a life that is successful and fulfilling:

  1. Follow your “true choice.” “My first job right out of college was a failure,” Darlyn shares. Despite graduating with high marks and winning national marketing competitions in college and putting in extra hours with the multi-national company she was working for, she was not regularized after the probationary period of her employment. “I realized I failed because what I was doing was not what I really wanted; instead, I only did things to please society’s expectations of me,” she explains. “I would be told things like ‘You should accept the best job offer out there even if you don’t like it because to do otherwise would show you are ungrateful.’ Or I would hear that I had to take the accounting board exams because my studies would just go to waste if I didn’t. But all these comments stem from a mindset that opportunity only comes once; what if the truth is that the opportunity that is knocking on your door is merely testing you to find out what is really in your heart?”

So when Darlyn decided to go into the business of making and designing planners, she made sure to allot pages where people could write down their goals. “I wanted people to start their year asking themselves what kind of life they would want to have, because designing your best life starts with knowing what kind of life you want,” she declares. 

  1. Know that the path to success is never linear. It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to pause and reflect if you’re feeling stuck or confused, and it’s absolutely okay to change your mind if things are no longer working out. “It doesn’t matter whether you change your mind after three months or three years,” Darlyn assures. “What’s important is to keep on writing about it, because the act of writing down your goals and dreams provides clarity, and clarity will always give you power.”
  2.  Another way to create clarity — set routines. “I’m a big believer in routines,” Darlyn confesses. “This is because when you create structures to your day and life, you’re anchored on your goals and don’t get lost. It’s like you’re trying to walk a straight line; if there’s no line on the ground to begin with, how can you achieve that goal?”

With Darlyn, her overarching goals are to run her business effectively and spend quality time with her family, so she makes sure she plans her day in a way that ensures she has the time and energy to devote herself to both.

  1. Included in that routine — making time for self-care. “In the past few months, I was not allotting time for fun at all,” Darlyn shares. “At night when we were supposed to be resting, my husband and I would watch webinars or workshops, or I would read books related to business or self-improvement because I had to keep thinking of ways to keep the business running during the pandemic. Then a friend reminded me that I needed more play time, and I remembered the saying that ‘You cannot give what you don’t have.’ How can I expect my business and family to thrive and be happy if I myself was always tired and stressed?”

So today, Darlyn makes it a point to spend a few hours a day reading fiction books instead of business tomes, and has switched her caffeine-laden mornings with more nutritious smoothies. “I gave myself permission to rest and take care of myself,” she says. “Even on days that are extra-busy and my downtime is only 10 minutes long, I make sure the entire time is about me and my needs, not about my work or the family. “ 

  1. Set clear expectations with those around you — even with the ones you love. Like everyone else who owns a smartphone, Darlyn is a member of multiple chat groups at work so she can properly align and coordinate specific projects with the right people. When the pandemic happened and she and her husband found themselves together at home all the time, she knew she needed to implement a similar system to keep track of their conversations and achieve their goals in a more efficient way. “Before the pandemic, we had space from each other and it was clear who took care of what what,” she explains. “But when the lockdown caused us to be together all the time, lines became blurred because we were now getting involved in each other’s lives and responsibilities.”

Her solution: she also created chat groups for her and her husband on specific topics — food, finances, learning, family, and matters related to just the two of them. “This way, everything is documented and expectations are clearer about who will do what,” she shares. “This leads to less conflict and friction.” 

  1. Take care of your mental health. “I started seeing a psychologist in 2013,” Darlyn shares. “I am such a believer in professional help that before I married my husband, I made him see my psychologist as well so he can work out any issues that he may have. Now, we also schedule sessions before every major milestone in our lives — like before I would give birth, for example, just so we can check-in and process our emotions before these upheavals.” 

While Darlyn has many friends that she can turn to for support, she firmly believes that mental health professionals are better at helping her understand her issues and remediate problems. “Friends are biased, no matter how hard they try to control it; it’s human nature,” she points out. “On the other hand, psychologists are trained to improve our lives. Part of designing your best life is taking care of your mental health, and one of the best ways you do that is to seek the help of a professional.”

Her belief in the importance of mental health led her to partner with MindNation this year. Every last Wednesday of the month, BDJ and MindNation hold monthly live streams on Facebook to raise awareness about issues related to mental health and well-being.

“I really in believe MindNation’s vision of making mental health more accessible to all,” she adds. “The goal of our partnership is to start the conversation on mental health, erase the stigma, and make sure that people have a better understanding of mental health concerns.”

  1. Never stop improving. “I believe that we are sent here to Earth to find what will make us happy and to become the best versions of ourselves,” Darlyn says. “So get to know yourself, fall in love with yourself; and when you make mistakes, don’t be afraid to fall out of love with yourself. Then rediscover what else you can do. It’s all part of the process, and when you trust in the process, everything else will fall into place.”

Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive individuals. Email [email protected] for more information.  

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Employee Wellness Get Inspired

Seeing Success: 7 Steps To Developing a Growth Mindset At Work

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  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.
  1. 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?
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Categories
How To

5 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Achieve Real Growth

Harrison Ford was a carpenter before being casted as Han Solo in the “Star Wars” movies. Today, he is one of the world’s best-known actors and an enduring pop culture icon. 

When Michael Jordan retired from basketball in 2003, he shifted to professional baseball and then to running his own business.  In 2014, he became the first billionaire player in NBA history; he is also currently the 5th-richest African-American. 

Finally, Sara Blakely was selling office supplies door-to-door when she got the idea for making shapewear; the company that she founded is now a household name — Spanx. 

What do these people have in common? They all got to where they are now by stepping out of their comfort zones.

“A comfort zone is not a physical place,” says Monique Ong, co-founder and chairman of MindNation. “It is a frame of mind, a place where you feel comfortable and your abilities are not being tested.” In other words, comfort zones are comfortable, safe ways of living and working, usually in a set routine. 

Staying in one’s comfort zone has its advantages — you have zero stress, you complete tasks faster, and you don’t expend as much mental energy.

However, it also has its drawbacks — you don’t learn new skills, become complacent, and even miss out on opportunities for growth. 

“Growth only happens when you are learning, and learning only happens when you encounter something new,” Monique points out. “When you make changes and take risks, you transition and even evolve into someone better, and sometimes in the process you even transform those around you.” 

Monique’s life has been all about expanding her comfort zones. After graduating top of her class from one of the most prestigious universities in the Philippines in 2000, she embarked on a storied career in Marketing for three Fortune 500 companies for over two decades, lived in seven different countries in the process, and even started her own business. But in June 2017, while on a business trip in Singapore, sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). She spent 21 days in a coma and had to undergo three brain surgeries. When she woke up, she did not know how to eat, sit, or walk. Doctors told her that because of her injury, her brain was now only operating at 40% capacity. She was also diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder arising from a severe TBI that causes the patient to have trouble speaking, reading, writing, and understanding language. And finally, because of the swelling in her brain, she became blind in one eye. 

“Changes don’t have to be big, and they do not have to happen overnight. By simply being creative, you can make small tweaks to your routine while you are on lockdown and already challenge yourself.”

Monique Ong, MindNation Co-Founder and Chairman

Digging deep

Monique 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. She demanded daily speech therapy, even if her therapists only suggested that she see them thrice a week. She also asked for homework, and spent every day answering grammar worksheets, writing in a journal, and practicing giving presentations. She even started a light boxing exercise regimen with her physical therapist. On top of all these, she resumed planning for her wedding, which would be held 11,000 kilometers away in southern France.

 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. She is proof that if we step out of your comfort zone, take risks, and face challenges head-on, we can evolve our lives, relationships, and even careers into something better. “Maybe not right away, and definitely not guaranteed,” Monique cautions. “But at least there is that possibility.”

From the comfort zone to the growth zone

This is not to say that you do need to experience a life-altering accident to challenge yourself, or move to another country to experience taking risks. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it virtually impossible for us to have adventures. But all these do not mean we have to resign ourselves to a life of idleness and inactivity. “Changes don’t have to be big, and they do not have to happen overnight,” Monique advises. “By simply being creative, you can make small tweaks to your routine while you are on lockdown and already challenge yourself.”

Here are some of the things Monique does to continuously challenge her comfort zone even when she is homezoned: 

  1. Exercise.  

    Working out is synonymous with challenging yourself. Monique is currently working with a personal trainer online, even though exercising is one of the things that she doesn’t like to do. “Because of our one-on-one set-up, my coach is constantly focused on me, always telling me to squat lower or bend deeper. I hate it, but I end up learning that I can do things I never thought possible.”


For those who love exercising, one way to stay challenged is to change up your workout program from time to time. Don’t just brush off yoga because you think you’ll never be able to touch your toes or disregard strength training because it seems intimidating. Stepping outside your fitness comfort zone can help you spice up your routine, help break a fitness plateau, and even increase your motivation. 

  1. Veer away from comfort foods.

    Trying new dishes is one of the easiest ways you step out of your comfort zone. “If you’ve been having your meals constantly delivered like me, order a dish that you’ve never ordered before or that you think you’ll never like,” Monique suggests. “Or another from a different restaurant entirely. Even if you end up not liking the food, you are slowly training your brain to adapt to risk-taking. Next time, when you take on bigger challenges, they won’t seem so scary anymore.”
  2. Make lockdown date nights as close to real date nights as possible.

    Before lockdowns happened, date nights meant dressing up, candlelit dinners at romantic restaurants, and evenings filled with meaningful conversations. But if you and your partner have been isolating at home 24/7 for more than two years now, there are ways to break this routine and rekindle the spark.

    “When we order food on date nights, my partner and I make sure to remove them from the takeout containers and place them on real plates. We also use real utensils and bring out the formal glassware — even if we’re just drinking water,” Monique shares. “Finally, we make sure to dress up, sit facing each other at the dining table — not in front of the tv — and put our phones away for 2 hours so that we can have an honest-to-goodness conversation. These take a lot of effort, but in doing so we make the experience more meaningful.” 
  1. Dare to have uncomfortable conversations. 

“The pandemic has made talking to friends boring because there is no longer anything new to share,” Monique points out. “‘What’s new with you?’ ‘Nothing, I’m still stuck at home like you.’ So instead of asking people about their day during virtual catch-ups, introduce topics you never used to talk about, like world affairs or philosophical questions. These may be boring topics, but talking about them can help everyone learn something new and even take your relationship to a whole new level.”

  1. Expand your professional skill set.

    Monique may be the chairman of a company, but she still blocks time in her calendar every day for strategic thinking and planning. This includes updating herself on what competitors are doing, reading up on industry trends, and holding discussions with the team to stay on top of issues and concerns. “By doing these, I grow not only myself but also the business,” she says.

Not a C-suite executive? You can still challenge your professional comfort zone even if you are a junior team member. “Take on an extra project on top of what you are already doing — being mindful of your own capacities and limitations, of course,” Monique suggests. “Another way is to enroll in that digital marketing course, for example, even if you don’t know the difference between ‘reach’ and ‘engagement.’ Or reach out to your manager and ask if you can schedule a short meeting, to get feedback and advice on your current path.”

“Investing in skills like these not only represent a new challenge, they can build resilience, foster creativity, refresh your confidence, and open up more opportunities than ever,” she adds.

At first glance, there is nothing wrong with choosing to stay in your comfort zone. Here, you stay safe, predictable, and it’s not as if you will kill anyone for doing so. “But what it will kill is any purpose, meaning, or surprise in your life,” Monique points out. “When you don’t try new things, you won’t have any excitement, originality, or new motivation about anything.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing us to change our perspectives on how to live, act, and interact with others. “Use the time spent in lockdown to look for opportunities that will challenge your comfort zone; the result is either you say ‘This really isn’t for me,’ or you become so comfortable with the experience that you grow from it and it becomes your new comfort zone,” Monique says.

MindNation’s WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions if you are feeling stuck or unmotivated. Book a slot now through https://bit.ly/mindnationchat or email [email protected]

Categories
Featured Self Help

7 Solutions For Time Management Issues

Whether you’re a student, stay-at-home-parent, or working in a company, time management is an essential skill to have. When you are better at planning your day, prioritizing work tasks, and eliminating distractions, you can achieve your goals and be less impacted by stress or burnout. 

Here are some things you can do to manage your time better:

“Spreading yourself thin will sabotage the success of anything you’ve already committed to. By learning the art of saying a tactful “no” to others, you’ll protect your time budget and improve your focus on your most valuable activities.”

Salma Sakr, MindNation Chief Growth Officer
  1. Avoid multitasking. Multitasking — also known as switchtasking — is doing multiple tasks at once. Many people believe that multitasking makes them productive, but all that shifting back and forth between tasks isn’t actually that efficient because each time you do it, it takes your brain more time to refocus. Not only does multitasking reduce productivity, it also increases the likelihood of mistakes happening and negatively impacts our stress levels. So try to complete one project or task at a time before moving to the next one; your brain will thank you for it. 
  1. Merge different email accounts into one inbox. According to a 2019 report by management consulting company McKinsey & Co., the average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and email. Get this time back by making a few changes to your email settings and having all incoming email delivered to just one inbox.
  2. Treat your calendar as your time budget. Time isn’t money, not always, but it does behave like money; it must be budgeted because when it’s gone, it’s gone. So when you schedule things into your calendar, think of it the same way you would think about withdrawing money from a bank account. Everyone has a weekly limit of 168 hours; try your best to live within this time budget and never overdraw because once you do, you’ll go into time debt.
  3. Avoid having back-to-back-to-back appointments.This isn’t practical or realistic, especially in today’s information-overloaded world. Leave space between your appointments for unexpected interruptions, to take a moment to relax, or to prepare for the next meeting.
  4. Say “No” more often than you say “Yes.” Always remember that whenever you say “yes” to one thing, you are, in effect, saying “no” to something else. In other words, spreading yourself thin will sabotage the success of anything you’ve already committed to. By learning the art of saying a tactful “no” to others, you’ll protect your time budget and improve your focus on your most valuable activities.
  5. Procrastinate properly. When a new idea comes into your head, ask yourself, “Do I need to do this now, or can I do it later?” As long as you are using your calendar properly as a time budget, procrastination can actually be your friend. Appropriate procrastination can help you, because you’re still going to complete those ideas, just at a later date. Don’t limit your calendar to what can be done today or within a week; instead, think in terms of months or even years.
  6. Identify your Most Valuable Activities (MVAs). These are the top two activities that you excel at, the ones that would cost you the most per hour to pay someone else to do. All the other activities that you do during work time other than those two MVAs are your less valuable activities, or LVAs, and if you’re like most people, you’re likely spending the majority of your work time in these very low value, low impact LVAs.

In order to achieve maximum results during the limited amount of work time you have each week, prioritize your MVAs in your calendar and delegate LVAs to your team or your colleagues when possible. By leaving less room for options, you minimize the temptation to multitask and improve your overall focus. The result: more disposable time, and you reach your goals faster.

Time will always fill the space you give it, so use it wisely. 

If your team is struggling with productivity, MindNation has a repertoire of virtual webinars to help employees with time management, manage stress, and avoid burnout. Partner with us to help build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Email [email protected] to know more.

By Salma Sakr, MindNation Chief Growth Officer

Categories
Employee Wellness

Stop Idolizing Overwork: 7 Things You can Do To Overcome Hustle Culture

Are you constantly on the go? Do you devote 110% of yourself towards your work or other responsibilities? Do you feel guilty for putting your feet up, taking a day off, or even taking a nap? Is your mantra “I’ll rest when I’m dead?”

If you answered “Yes” (or even a firm “Maybe”), you are part of the hustle culture, also known as “Burnout Culture,” “Toxic Productivity,” or “Workaholism.” “Hustle culture is this mindset that we have to work hard to be considered productive and exemplary, and that if we don’t, we are useless and worthless,” explains yoga and mindfulness facilitator, educator, and licensed psychologist Ria Tirazona

While working hard is important, the hustle culture practice takes it to another level. “Working hard means you devote your time and energy to something that’s important to you, but you’re still able to take care of yourself,” Ria points out. “On the other hand, hustle culture is telling yourself ‘I’ll rest when I’m dead.’”

“Rest is not the enemy, and slowing down is not wrong. You need to change the attitude that not producing any output means we are not worthy. Hustle culture can be changed, and the change has to start with you.” 

Ria Tirazona, Psychologist and Mindfulness Facilitator


Who is impacted 


Hustle culture is not just practiced by executives and employees; students are branded “mediocre” or “lazy” when they do not pull all-nighters, while stay-at-home parents are shamed for everything from not preparing Instagram-worthy food to raising paragons. 

Even worse, we are oftentimes our own worst judges. “As a teacher, I constantly feel the need to study more, to take another course, to get another certificate,” Risa shares. “Before, I did it as part of continuing my education to improve my skills; but now it’s like I need to collect more proof that I am competent.”

“We have become consumed by this need to have more, to produce more, to be more. And if we choose to do the opposite, which is taking it slow or easy, we are negatively judged,” she adds.

How it came about

The rise of hustle culture can be attributed to advances in technology — everything is so accessible now that the line between yourself and your job has blurred. “Before the advent of email and instant messaging, we had to wait until the next day to get the memo for the tasks that needed to be done. Now, we get emails at two o’ clock in the morning,” Ria points out.

Ironically, while the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified hustle culture, it has also shed light on its negative effects.

“On one hand, because the lines between work and home are blurred, companies expect that employees can produce more output because they’re ‘just at home,’” Ria explains. “And if you’re an employee in a company that’s struggling to make it, of course you’re going to hustle to keep your job.”

But to some degree, the lockdowns have also caused people to start becoming more aware of the negative effects of hustle culture — burnout, stress, anxiety, and poor physical health. “Because life is harder now, there is a growing number of people who are starting to say ‘No, I can’t do this,’” Ria shares. “More and more groups now are also highlighting the importance of mental health and well-being, which was not really talked about pre-pandemic.”

How to cancel hustle culture

If you want to stop toxic productivity and take care of yourself better, here are some things you can do:

  1. Ask yourself — “What is my ‘rest narrative?’” “If your mindset towards rest is that it’s bad and it’s laziness, then you will continue to overwork because you don’t want to be called ‘bad’ or ‘lazy,’” Ria says. “But if you believe that rest is a healthy way for you to care for your well-being and a space to connect with what is important, then your attitude will change.”
  2. The second question to ask yourself — “Is hustling really worth it?” Refusing to hustle when everyone else in your organization is doing it can be scary — it can cost you goodwill with team members, a promotion, or even your job. “But as much as we want to go with the flow, there’s also a lot of value in going against the flow,” Ria advises. “You cannot keep going with a system that will cost you your physical and mental health, your relationships with loved ones, or even your life. So maybe it’s time you stand up for what’s important to you — money, prestige, or your health?”
  3. Set and enforce boundaries. France recently passed a law making it illegal to send work messages after office hours. If you live in a country that does not have this law, take it upon yourself to decide when to stop working, and don’t be afraid to communicate this to others. “We also have to give people the benefit of the doubt — sometimes they’re not even aware that they are causing you to overwork,” Ria explains. “So we need to take it upon ourselves to advocate for change.”

A tactful way would be to reply to an after-work email with “Thank you for this email, I’ll respond to it in the morning/on Monday.” After a few times, your colleagues will know not to do it again. 

However, do know that not everything you ask for will be granted. There will be times when you will need to work longer or harder — to meet a deadline or take care of a work emergency, for example — so you should also be flexible when needed. Just be sure these are exceptions, and not the norm. 

  1. Make rest and self-care a lifestyle. “Rest should be a part of your everyday experience, not a special occasion,” Ria says. “So don’t wait until you’re sick or burned out to rest, which is what the hustle culture emphasizes. Slowing down is good because in that little place of pause, you actually become more productive because you’ve cleared the clutter from your mind.”
  2. Specifically, take a nap. If there is one thing that Ria advises people who want to stop overworking, it’s to take an afternoon snooze. “Naps have been proven to boost brain health, reduce fatigue, and improve our well-being,” she says.
  1. Know your “flow.” Note that resting is not the same as being unwilling to push yourself further. “We all want to be the best versions of ourselves; but part of that is knowing our capacities and when we’re starting to lose that capacity,” Ria explains. 

Psychologists call this the “flow,” a state of mind in which you become fully immersed in an activity, your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost. It is also a dynamic and ever-changing state. “Sometimes you’re at your peak and you’re challenged, other times you need to recover,” she says.  “So go ahead and challenge yourself, but be aware of signs when you need to take a break.”

  1. Follow the rhythms of nature. “Two forces exist in the universe. Yin is a passive, negative force, while yang is an active, positive force,” Ria teaches. “And these forces exist everywhere in the world, even inside us. So there will be times when we are more active, which is yang; and there will also be times when we need to slow down, which is yin.” Both need to be balanced so we achieve better well-being. 

Another way to look at our energy is to compare it to the cycles of the moon. “You can be at a phase when you’re creating something new, when you’re working hard, and you’re producing a lot,” she says. “But there’s also that phase of emptying out and recovering, so that you have something to draw from again.”

“Rest is not the enemy, and slowing down is not wrong,” Ria concludes. “You need to change the attitude that not producing any output means we are not worthy. Hustle culture can be changed, and the change has to start with you.” 

If you are experiencing burnout, stress, or anxiety as a result of hustle culture, MindNation’s psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now https://bit.ly/mindnationchat

Do you feel that your organization exhibits toxic productivity? Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Message us at [email protected] to know more about our services. 

Categories
Employee Wellness

4 Steps To Beating Burnout

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, 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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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: 

  1. Am I feeling cynical or negative about work, and are these feelings escalating?
  2. Is my motivation decreasing?
  3. Is it becoming difficult to perform work-related problem solving?
  4. Do I feel myself getting more agitated or angry at work?
  5. Are interpersonal difficulties at work spilling over into my home life?
  6. Do I feel depressed as a result of work-related stress?
  7. 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/mindnationchat 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. Don’t zoom forward to this. As Mahatma Gandhi said: there is more to life than simply increasing speed. 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.themindnation.com or email [email protected] to know more. 

Categories
Featured Men's Mental Health

6 Strategies To Encourage Men To See A Doctor

A 2019 study from leading medical and research center Cleveland Clinic found that 72% of men would rather do housework (such as cleaning the bathroom) than go to the doctor. 

Additionally, only half (50%) of men surveyed said that they consider getting their annual check-up a regular part of taking care of themselves.

So what makes men so hesitant to walk into a doctor’s office? According to the same Cleveland Clinic survey, the top reasons include:

  • They were embarrassed (46%).
  • They didn’t want to hear that they needed to change their diet/lifestyle (36%).
  • They knew something was wrong but weren’t ready to face the diagnosis and/or would rather not know if they have any health issues (37%).
  • They were told as children that men don’t complain about health issues (41%).

“More often than not, men don’t like seeing a doctor because they have a ‘macho ego complex’ and do not want to be perceived as sick or weak.”

Dr. Rainier Lutanco, a general, head and neck, cancer, and minimally invasive surgeon

“More often than not, men don’t like seeing a doctor because they have a ‘macho ego complex’ and do not want to be perceived as sick or weak,” says Dr. Rainier Lutanco, a general, head and neck, cancer, and minimally invasive surgeon based in Manila. “On the other hand, others view health care as a waste of time and money.”

If a man is unwilling to go to the doctor, it puts him at risk for missing preventive screenings — check-ups, immunizations, teletherapy, and other tests — which can help prevent physical or mental problems or detect them before they become major. This is especially important now as the Cleveland Clinic survey also showed that 77% percent of men reported an increase in stress levels as a result of COVID-19, 59% have felt isolated during the pandemic, and nearly half (45%) say their emotional/mental health has worsened during the pandemic.


How to motivate men to get medical attention

If you know someone that needs some convincing to put his health first, here are six approaches you can try:

  1. Don’t nag. Nagging is defined as the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, and the other person repeatedly ignores it, and both become increasingly annoyed. Constant nagging can make the other party feel resentful, personally attacked, and inadequate.
  2. Don’t guilt-trip. Guilt-tripping is making someone feel guilty in order to induce them to do something. An example would be telling your husband or father “Who will take care of us if you get sick?” But this statement will only further shame the man and perpetuate the culture of toxic masculinity that says men should be the ones taking care of the family.
  3. Instead, come from a place of caring. Instead of positioning the doctor’s visit as another thing that he is expected to do, tell him that you want him to get checked because you truly care about his health and you want him to be around for a long time because you love him (and not because of other expectations).
  4. Gather as many examples as you can. This tactic works best if you know of a friend or relative who caught a serious medical condition early, i.e. someone found a lump that turned out to be cancer but he is now, thankfully, okay. Stories like these might motivate a man to get his health checked as well.
  5. Use a common-sense approach. Let him know that putting off a doctor’s visit until he is in pain or at an advanced stage of a disease may make treating his condition more difficult or costly.
  6. Make it easy. This approach works well for someone who always claims he’s too busy. Be the one to set the appointment (make sure it’s at a time that’s convenient for him) and offer to go with him. For teletherapy sessions, assure him that all conversations will be kept secure and confidential and that even you will not be privy to what was discussed. 

It is common for men to avoid going to the doctor, but patience, understanding, and talking about it rationally will increase his chances of getting himself the check-up that he needs.  MindNation’s psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions if you know someone who needs to talk to a mental health expert. Book a session now through FB Messenger http://m.me/themindnation or email [email protected].

Categories
Self Help

7 Reasons To Invest In Therapy

Cost and time are two of the common barriers to therapy. You probably consider it an added (maybe even unnecessary) cost, and you wonder if you even have the time to squeeze in a session every two weeks on top of all the things you need to do. But just like you have no qualms visiting and paying for a doctor to treat a physical ailment, neither should you hesitate seeing a mental health professional for your mental health concerns. Below are the five reasons therapy is a worthy investment: 

“Therapists are trained to listen to you and help you out of your situation; and because they are essentially strangers, they can provide a safe and unbiased environment where you can be honest. “

Kevin Quibranza, MindNation People & Operations Head
  1. Therapy can help you organize your feelings, thoughts, and experiences so you can get a better understanding of yourself. 

When you spend enough time with a therapist, you will be able to know yourself better and ultimately control some aspects of your life which you thought were not possible. A good example of this are people who have anger management issues. By talking to a therapist, they are able to understand the past traumas that shaped their present condition, allowing them to finally manage that condition.

  1. Therapy can help you have more fulfilling relationships. This includes with family, partners, and colleagues.

Your mental health defines how you view life. If you are in a state of depression for example, and leave it untreated, you may start believing that life is bleak and relationships are useless so you start pushing people away. But if you have a healthy state of mind, good relationships will always follow.

  1. Therapy can help you achieve your goals, stay focused, and hold yourself accountable. 

The ultimate goal of therapy is to remove roadblocks — whether innate or situational — so you can achieve your life goals. This is why we advise people to see a psychologist or Wellbeing Coach even if they do not have problems yet, so they can take preventative measures and arm themselves with certain life skills (i.e. communication skills) to make them cope with unexpected situations better.

  1. Therapy can help improve your mood and quality of life.

Therapy can give you opportunities which you never thought possible due to limiting beliefs such as self-esteem issues and faulty thinking. These are normal and are experienced by everyone, so it always helps to have a third party expert who can help us get rid of our own perceived limits and provide us with a different perspective.

  1. You are more likely to have better health and wellbeing.

We all have days when we are burnt out or struggling, and on those days, our bodies do not feel as well as they should — we have problems sleeping, feel extra tired, or even experience headaches or back pains. There is a direct correlation with how your mind is at the moment and how your body feels. This is why at MindNation, we always advocate holistic health — take care of BOTH your mind and body, as well as the other dimensions of well-being (i.e. emotional, cultural, and spiritual).

  1. Therapy provides emotional relief that you might otherwise not be able to find.

There’s nothing wrong with talking to friends or family — if you just need quick advice or a listening ear, that’s okay. But sometimes, we need more than a shoulder to cry on. There are situations that our family members or friends may not be equipped to handle, or they aren’t willing to handle it since they also have their own problems.

Therapists are trained to listen to you and help you out of your situation; and because they are essentially strangers, they can provide a safe and unbiased environment where you can be honest with your thoughts and feelings and not worry about being judged or shamed.

  1. Therapy is the “mental and emotional health education” that you never got at school.

Mental health education in our country still has a long way to go, as evidenced by the stigma towards those mental health concerns. By going to therapy and asking questions, you learn about your condition, ease your anxieties, and receive treatment that is rooted in facts and science instead of myths or conjecture.

I have personally seen what happens to people who do not take care of their mental health because they do not want to spend additional time or money to address their concerns — their conditions worsen and they end up spending even more time and money to treat them.
Therapy is a valuable tool that can help you to solve problems, set and achieve goals, improve your communication skills, teach you new ways to track your emotions, and keep your stress levels in check. It can help you to build the life, career, and relationship that you want. By looking at therapy as an investment, you ensure a better future for yourself and those around you. 

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. For those in the Philippines, book a session through the @goodwork.ph app, the country’s largest app for home and wellness services, and get as much as PHP1,000 off on your first session! Use the voucher code GWMIND1 (PHP500 off for WellBeing Coach) GWPSYCH1 (P1,000 off for Psychologist). Promo runs until October 15, 2021 only.

Download the GoodWork app through Google Play or App Store now!

-Written by Kevin Quibranza, MindNation People & Operations Head