Often, when we want to be mentally tough, we adopt a “tough it out” approach. That is we try to endure through hard-hitting times, and emerge as a stronger person as a result.
That’s all well and good, but new scientific research has revealed that recharging is just as, if not more important, for mental strength. As Shawn Achor put it in Harvard Business Review, “Resilience is how you recharge, not how you endure.”
So as a busy, productive person, how can you recharge daily? If you can’t move to a tropical beach, there are still ways to avoid burnout and unlock mental strength in your normal routine:
Actually leave the office
How often do you actually leave the office? We’re going to bet that while you probably physically exit you workplace daily, you don’t check out mentally nearly as much.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in your bed or in a cubicle; if your mind is still focused on work, you’re not truly recharging. That’s why the experts recommend making a conscious effort to focus your mind on recharging outside of the workplace.
Science calls this “external recovery.” It involves making a conscious effort to do something mentally relaxing outside of your work zone. This doesn’t mean you have to schedule in time for mindless TV – it can involve anything from an educational podcast to reading a great book.
Although your iPhone might seem like part of your body at this point, unplugging digitally is another key to mental strength. Not only does being on your phone constantly deplete your precious mental resources,
HBR recommends using the technology on your phone to keep yourself off your phone. Apps like Offtime can help you digitally detox by turning off distracting features while you work, and the app Instant will show you how many times a day you turn on your phone.
Creating this kind of awareness can help you curtail time spent on your phone. You can also set alarms on your phone that will remind you to take mental breaks, and apps like Headspace offer 10-minute, guided meditation sessions that can help you recharge and be more productive at work.
Everyone from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey utilizes walking meetings daily, because they foster new insights and allow their teams to mentally recharge in a new environment.
Even if you can’t force the whole office outside, you can reap those same benefits yourself. Consider spending 5 minutes or more outdoors when you’re facing a tough time at work. The work will still be there when you get back, and you’ll be mentally tougher when you come back to face it.
Get enough sleep
In her book The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington revealed:
“We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity, but ironically our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we spend at work, adds up to 11 days of lost productivity per year per worker, or about $2,280.”
It might seem that burning the midnight oil and toughing through your work is being mentally strong, but it’s really the opposite. When you sacrifice sleep, you sacrifice your mental sharpness, productivity, and much more. Combining these steps with a healthy 7-8 hours of sleep will ensure you wake up mentally strong and productive daily.
Do you have any tips for developing mental strength? The Love The Hustle Tribe would love to hear from you—reach out to us today!