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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel Adu-Awuku

More balance, less anxiety - How I’ve nurtured my mental health for everyday joy in 2023


Autumn


During a conversation with my Team Lead in early May, he expressed his excitement for this time of year, his love for autumn. I chuckled at his remark and replied, "Boss, I don’t share the same sentiment. May has consistently been the most challenging period in my life." While this is more of a perception than fact, my experiences over the past 28 Mays backed up this feeling.


If I rewind back 12 months, my life was a rush with minimal moderation. I was immersed in demanding client work, a buzzing social life, and pouring my energy into Championship Mode Collective. The result was a rapid drain on my mental and physical wellbeing.


This year feels different. While the same themes colour my life, I have regained a sense of control and am more present in my life. I attribute this shift to my past experience [of struggling in May] and my intent to maintain a championship mindset - nurturing my mind, body, and soul.


Now, let me share the strategies I employed - which you can also apply - to reduce anxiety and find more balance in my life, all while embracing the joy in my daily routine:

 

1. Giving an exact measure of diligence at work


In practice, if I don't complete my tasks between 8 am and 6 pm, I move them to the following day. If they remain unfinished by the end of the week, I prioritise them for the next week. I make the most of my working hours by minimising unnecessary interruptions and meetings, focusing on work flow.


I achieve this by allocating the first hour of the day and the last 30 minutes of the day specifically for responding to emails. The remaining time is dedicated to deep work, allowing myself regular breaks to maintain productivity. When a matter is urgent, I respond promptly while still ensuring I stay focused on my tasks.


This approach requires a lot of focus, especially when managing multiple projects, collaborating with colleagues who have diverse work styles, or working under a hands-on manager. Regardless of the situation, the underlying principle remains unchanged: establish healthy boundaries to minimise distractions and remain in flow for extended periods.


Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries helps manage anxiety and transition smoothly between work and personal life. It's essential to learn to say "no" or "maybe later" when you can’t effectively communicate your needs. By establishing boundaries, you create space for creative thinking, reflection, and regular wellbeing. This allows you to remain focused for longer while conserving energy for self-care, mental and emotional recharge, and fostering healthier relationships.

 

2. Spending time with my family


Soul food! Spending time with my family is a significant mental health booster for me. Because I don’t see them often, I seize every little chance to visit them. Family has a remarkable effect on me - being in their company introduces a fresh environment, new perspectives, and different priorities. This manifests as a wave of renewed energy that I can't help but embrace and ride.


It's important to remember that you don't have to navigate your mental health journey alone. Simply being in the presence of your family can foster open dialogue, empathy, and understanding. Sharing your thoughts and emotions with them can alleviate anxiety and provide a sense of belonging. And if that feels like a big step, just enjoy being in their company - that alone can be all the support you need.

 

3. Prioritising my physical health


My main challenge this year has been maintaining a routine for my physical health, primarily due to frequent client travels. It's been difficult to establish consistency in my workouts when my schedule is disrupted every other week. After returning from work trips, my body often craves rest and recovery, making it hard to stay motivated. However, workouts are just one aspect of maintaining physical wellbeing. My diet and sleep habits were also poor during client travels.


In February, I decided to find a solution and started bringing my workout mat along when traveling for client visits. You may have noticed it in my adventures - a black, rolled-up workout mat. It was the best I could do - I felt accomplished in taking control of the situation. Focusing on exercising while at the client allowed me to maintain consistency and carry that momentum when I returned home. This approach also positively affected my sleep pattern since exercising made me need more rest, resulting in an earlier bedtime.


Although I still struggle with achieving peak physical condition, I take pride in consistently showing up for myself, regardless of the difficulties. With continued effort, I believe I will achieve my goal by October.


Our mental and physical wellbeing are deeply interconnected. By prioritising regular exercise, nourishing foods, and quality sleep, we can enhance our mood, reduce stress, and establish a solid foundation for both our mental and physical wellbeing.

 

4. Disconnecting from my art


I find that taking a forced break after a long period of intense focus can be the perfect recipe for creativity and fresh perspectives. When I've been deeply immersed in content creation for a week or two, I intentionally leave it all behind. Whether it's gallivanting with friends, hosting get-togethers, or enjoying a solo movie outing, these activities help me de-stress and recharge my mental energies. In turn, this break in flow provides me with a creative edge when I return to my work.


Disconnecting from your art can be a temporary fix, but creates the space for new ideas and inspiration to flow in - keeping you inspired for your next adventure.


Small steps, consistent practice


Cultivating your mental health is a continuous journey that requires conscious effort and self-compassion. By being accurately diligent, spending time with your family, prioritising your physical health, and disconnecting from your art, you can create a life filled with more balance, less anxiety, and everyday joy. Remember, small steps and consistent practice can lead to significant improvement in your mental and physical wellbeing.


Note: It's important to personalise the article to your own experiences and strengths. My experience only serves as a starting point, which you can expand and modify to your preferences and expertise. If you ever seek a more intense form of inspiration, don’t hesitate to tap into Championship Mode Collective.


Follow Championship Mode Collective on Instagram and YouTube. This article title was inspired by Wizkid’s 2022 album, Move Love, Less Ego.


This article is a follow up to Find me if you can - How I recharged for the second half of 2022. The views in this article are solely the author’s. All accompanying material is owned by the author except where referenced to another source


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