We all have BUSY lives. it’s a real struggle to be mentally strong as we race around pursuing our dreams.
Americans on average get less sleep.
Work in America typically is more connected: you have email and slack connected to work.
This all results in us, on average, being far busier than we have ever been before.
So, I want to teach you some tricks on how I deal with it and how I became mentally strong.
1: Ignore the Mountain, Focus on the Next Thing
When you have too much to do or feel stressed, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by just thinking about it! But there is a way around it.
I picked up this skill when I had to work really long shifts and had homework I had to do after them. I found that when I stopped focusing on thinking about how overwhelming the task was, it became easier.
So instead of thinking of how tired I was or how much I had left to do, I focused my mind on figuring out what was next and doing that.
And it seemed less imposing. Instead of spending all my energy worrying about how much I had to do, I just did it!
By ignoring the mountain, you get more done and you strengthen your will to finish.
2: Remember Who You Want To Be
When you are stressed out, this can be really hard.
But it’s the difference between burning out from a job that requires all of your attention and playing the long game and finding peace and balance in your life.
When I’m feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted, I typically do 2 things:
First, I’ll focus on who I want to be and ask myself: Am I headed towards the person I want to be or am I getting distracted? Remembering why you are doing all this work in the first place can help center your tiredness and either re-affirm if the work is worth the stress it is putting on your body.
Second, I would take time for a little play.
3: Take Some Time for Play
This one was game-changing for me: Sometimes my work has been play, but, for me, this is usually in spurts. There are parts of my job that I really enjoy and are my passion and other parts that are just things I need to do. The two are intermixed with each other.
I usually only did things for myself when ALL my work was done. So, after I finished my big analysis for work, I would go play a video game for 4 hours or read a book in my comfy reading chair. And my experience is not unique: many people do this.
But what I’ve learned is if I just give myself a break from work with something I purely enjoy, then I’m much more productive at doing my work. This is because it relaxes my mind and I don’t feel as strung-up about the work I need to do.
I’m, by my nature, a very serious person: I tend to focus on a thing until it’s done. But giving time for play. Lightens my nature and makes the whole process enjoyable.
Did you know sleeping for six hours a night for 10 days in a row is like pulling an all-nighter to your body?
If you are chronically starving your body, sleep debt will acrue. This has the long term effect of weakening your body’s defenses. And if you’re like me, sometimes you might crash on the weekends and try to catch up!
But the way sleep debt works, your body can never regain that lost NREM and REM sleep.
Sleep will restore your body and mind and you can even have your brain work on problems while you sleep: it won’t solve them alone, but often I find when I wake up in the morning, the problem I was really struggling with the night before was suddenly clear.
Working hard DOES NOT EQUAL Not Sleeping!
The importance of sleep is not overrated, so please be kind to your body and sleep 7-9 hours a night.
5: Eat Protein
But what if you can’t sleep and you HAVE to get something done?
Eat a little protein snack.
I’ve done this with beef jerky or almonds or pistachios. I actually got this trick from my doctor: a little protein will give you a boost that enables you to keep going when your energy is flagging.
By all means, please sleep when you can! But if sleep is not possible, a little protein can help.
The benefits of exercise have been throughly documents here, here, and here.
If you’re not doing, make some time for it: you will be pleasantly surprised: