Work can be exhausting, draining, and get boring. When you’re at the point of burnout you may feel yourself drowning not knowing what to do because you’re still expected to show up and give 100% as you’ve always done.
It’s not always possible to show up and be fully present at work which is a normal occurrence. You will not conquer your to-do list every day neither be productive all days of the week. Sometimes life will get in the way of your work and you’ll have to manage both.
We’re still figuring many things out in this pandemic like working locations, dealing with new variants, and vaccines. It can be mentally grueling trying to find balance and perform both at work and in your personal life.
To be mentally strong means you’re cultivating your capacity to efficiently deal with stressors, pressures, and challenges and perform to the best of your ability despite the circumstances you may find yourself in. For this to happen, you need to develop daily habits that build your mental muscle.
Here are 15 ways to stay mentally strong:
- Spend some time alone regularly. Enjoy your own company and seek more of it. There are a lot of things you can learn when other people are not around. You can expand your self-awareness and develop an intimate and confidant relationship with yourself. When you know who you are, you approach life with the awareness of your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth.
- Create structure around your work. Make systems that make it easy for you to get things done. This could mean automating repetitive tasks or delegating them to someone else. Free up your time by figuring out how to spend the least time doing tasks. Prioritize what work matters to you most, defer what can wait a little longer, and drop what you don’t need to do.
- Consume information that grows you. Read, listen and watch things that contribute to your mental growth. Don’t spend all your time aimlessly scrolling through social media for hours on end just for entertainment purposes. Challenge your mind by learning a new skill, course or language, and completing mentally stimulating tests and puzzles.
- Name at least 5 things you’re grateful for each day. Gratitude reminds you that there is so much to be grateful for especially on days where everything is grey. Practice gratitude every day to teach your mind to stay positive and always look for the good in every situation. Stay thankful for everyday blessings like having a job, completing tasks, family, and friends, and making it through a day.
- Cultivate self-compassion and self-forgiveness. Hold yourself in grace and love every day. Extend safe spaces for you to process your emotions without judgment or shame. If and when you miss the mark, quickly forgive yourself and try again until you get it right. Don’t aim for perfection, only progress.
- Know your limits. Set healthy boundaries at work and at home for you to effectively and easily manage your life. Know how much you’re willing to take on at work and communicate it to your colleagues. If you can’t do something, let it be known. Don’t overcommit nor overpromise yourself.
- Affirm yourself regularly. Tell yourself positive things you love about yourself – there’s so much! Do this when you wake up, before presentations and anytime you feel like you need your own tap on the back. Don’t use unkind or harsh words on yourself that might trigger anxiety, fear, shame, or judgment. Always hold yourself in high regard.
- Celebrate your small and big wins. Be the first to raise your own glass. Don’t wait for people to acknowledge your wins. Celebrate them no matter how small – even if it’s just making it through a hard mental health day. Buy yourself gifts and go to nice places every once in a while, to appreciate how far you’ve come.
- Avoid unnecessary arguments. If it’s not your fight, don’t take it on. If you can avoid the fight, please do. If there are other ways to fight fairly, use them. Always look for the easiest way out of a fight or argument – call a truce and seek to quietly rationalize issues instead of raising your voice and wasting your energy.
- Stay mindful. Learn how to stay in the present moment by drawing all your attention to what you’re doing at a given time. Be intentional with what you give your attention to. Sit in stillness listening to yourself or sounds around you and eliminate distractions.
- Learn from failure and don’t dwell on it. Failure is temporary and it doesn’t define you. Look at it as a learning opportunity and move on quickly to implement it. You just learned one more way not to do something so now try another one. Failure is a teacher of life – take the lessons and go.
- Make self-care a habit. Don’t diminish self-care to an event of extravagance. Make it your duty to purposely take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, drink lots of water, go into nature, spend time with people you love, make time for your hobbies. Wellness is a lifelong journey.
- Build a support system. Have people you can fall back on when you’re defeated. People you can be vulnerable and authentic with – family and friends. Seek professionals who have gone before you in your field – mentors. And invest in therapy – not because there’s something wrong with you but to find someone who can walk with you and equip you with the right tools to grow your mental resilience.
- Expend your mental energy wisely. Don’t spend too much time with your negative thoughts. Acknowledge them then release them to make room for more positive thoughts. You really are a sum total of your thoughts so make them count.
- Define success on your own terms. Only you can decide what success looks like. Don’t measure it against the scale of how well other people are doing. Avoid comparison at all costs because you understand that this is your life and you’re on your own lane with personal goals you need to achieve. The only person you should aim at being better than is the you from yesterday.
“The strength of your mind determines the quality of your life.” – A.R Bernard