For years we have been poked and prodded to make sure we have the strongest “Sales Stack,” “Marketing Stack,” and “Customer Success” stack — which is all a good thing.
We need these tools to be better at our jobs, to be more efficient and more effective.
We also need tools to help us be our best selves.
Yet when it comes to the single greatest factory we live in 24/7, we don’t always do the things necessary to keep the machine running.
I am talking about your body and your mind.
- Want to be better at sales? You better educate yourself and practice your pitch, get the right tools, get quality data.
- Want to be better at marketing? You better educate yourself and learn how to run multiple projects, get the right tools, talk to more customers.
- Want to be a better you? You better STOP ignoring the voices in your head that tell us “you know better.”
Of course, for the last many, many years, we’ve been preached the value of physical health. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
And on top of that, we’ve been “dieted to death.” Gluten-Free. South Beach. Adkins. Intermittent Fasting. The list goes on…
Everyone seems to say, “And if you do this, then it helps you mentally too!”
And then it stops. Cold.
What’s left for some is the inspiration to do those things.
However, for many of us (myself included), I feel like I’ve been beaten down, degraded, shunned, shamed, and misunderstood.
Where everyone stops the conversation around mental health, I think it’s important to not only continue the conversation but actually turn the whole thing upside down and talk about mental health before physical health!
I can hear the HR department and lawyers saying, “We can’t do that! We put ourselves at risk!”
My answer to them is, “Bullshit.”
You cannot claim to support your employees and ignore mental health.
You cannot claim to support a work/life balance and ignore mental health.
If you are chasing the revenue dragon, you are ignoring mental health for your employees — and in some cases yourself.
It gets worse for sales. There are very few roles in an organization where taking “mental health day(s)” has a direct and immediate impact on income and potentially your job.
So what’s the answer. Well, it’s multi-pronged.
First, understand the difference between mental health and mental illness. While not an expert, general thoughts in defining the difference are:
- Stop thinking of mental health as mental illness. They are different things.
- Mental health is around the general well-being (internal).
- Mental illness is often associated with negative actions based on mental health (external).
Second, we need to start treating the mind as importantly as we treat the body. We need to understand the process of health, just like we understand the process of sales or marketing.
Introducing “The Health Stack”
Not everything is for everyone, and perhaps you have something you do differently that helps. But if you need some quick ideas for your personal health stack, this will get you started.
Here they are: 9 things we can (actually) control when things get out of control.
3 Deep Breaths. You’d be surprised how fast your mind clears when you sit still and take 3 deep breaths. It takes about 10–15 seconds.
Support. Family, friends, clergy, co-worker.
Meditation. I’ve personally done 3,500 minutes of meditation in 9-minute increments. That’s 59 hours, which is 9 days of vacation I’ve created for myself in 15 months.
Therapists. Yup, it works. And you may have to spend time finding the right one. It can be frustrating, but even finding the wrong one is a positive step because it shows your grit to want to change something.
Adult Coloring Books. A friend recommended these to me and, while not my forte, I can definitely see the value.
Weighted Blankets. As my 9-year old said, “Wow, it’s like someone cuddling with me all night long.” Who doesn’t want that feeling?
12-Step Programs. Yes, if you are struggling with something, these are a great place to spend time — even if you just show up and listen. I specifically separate this from other types of support, as it feels different in my mind.
Exercise. Yes, this matters, but it’s not always about the high-intensity cardio. Sometimes we just need to go for a walk. Yes, a quick 5-minute walk around the block really does help clear the mind.
Diet. Again, yes this important. I recently found a new app called “Eat Right Now.” It combines meditation and a compassionate understanding of how some of us struggle with our relationship with food. It’s done in small daily exercises. And the results and impacts are felt immediately. It teaches you to understand your relationship with food, how to address and change it if you want, and how to ride out “cravings.”
How Does Your Mental Health Stack Up?
As we work to focus on our overall health, I encourage everyone to take inventory of their own mental health and see if there is something you want to change. If so, I hope this article has given you some ideas to take a step forward.
And remember, it’s not a question of which step you take first. What’s important is that you find one that feels like the right first step for you.
Big thanks to Sales Hacker and Uncrushed.org for supporting this important topic.
Maybe simply reading this was the right first step.
So, what’s in your health stack?