“5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness”, with Taylor Elyse Morrison and Beau Henderson

Define success for yourself. So many of our mental health struggles are related to us thinking that we should be someplace other than where we are. Get really clear on how you’re defining success and then release the need to measure yourself against any other standard. As a part of my series about the “5 […]

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Define success for yourself. So many of our mental health struggles are related to us thinking that we should be someplace other than where we are. Get really clear on how you’re defining success and then release the need to measure yourself against any other standard.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor Elyse Morrison. Taylor Elyse Morrison is the Founder & CEO of Inner Workout. Taylor started her career in a Leadership Development Program at a Fortune 100, became the first full-time employee at a health and wellness startup, and is currently helping people practice self-care through Inner Workout.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Thanks for having me! I’m still pretty young, but I feel like my career path has already been a winding road. I studied Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt because it was one of the broadest majors, and I wanted to keep my career options open. During my senior year, I launched my brand strategy firm as a side hustle. I’d been dreaming up businesses since I was a kid, and I realized that what I actually enjoyed doing was building brands.

After college, I joined Allstate’s Leadership Development Program. It’s a rotational program where you get to work in different parts of the organization, and, again, it was an opportunity for me to keep my career options open.

Over time, I realized that I didn’t thrive in a corporate environment and eventually chose to join an incredible health and wellness startup. In both roles, I had branding clients on the side. The hustle and bustle of a full-time job, a side hustle, and planning a wedding was a recipe for burnout.

I started to craft intentional self-care practices of my own. Then I shared some of that journey online on my personal channels and through a self-care shop. Once I started to build Inner Workout, it became pretty clear that helping people build sustainable self-care practices was part of my life’s work.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I had the chance to speak to a group of young professionals at a conference in London. I’d applied thinking that I wasn’t likely to get the opportunity, and it ended up being one of my favorite speaking engagements to date. I wish that I’d thought more about self-care at the start of my career, so it was really special to get to share some of what I’d learned the hard way so the participants wouldn’t have to make the same mistakes I did. I also brought my husband along, and it was his first trip to Europe! I made some wonderful personal and professional memories on that trip.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

One time, I got a text from my boss asking me to meet her right away. I thought that I’d done something wrong, or that there was a terrible emergency. In reality, it was March Madness, and she didn’t want me to miss out on the end of a particularly exciting Loyola game. She’s a Loyola alum, as is my husband, and she knew I’d want to make that memory. I learned that making assumptions never serves me. Jumping to the worst conclusion takes away from the joy of the present moment.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ll always be grateful to Colleen Werner, the Founder & CEO of LulaFit. She took a chance on me when I was early on in my career, and I hope that one day I can do the same for another woman. Working for Colleen was the best full-time job I’ve had. She taught me a lot about what it means to be a leader.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

My biggest advice is to cultivate the practice of listening within. Take a moment at least once a day to ask yourself what you need. Then give that to yourself. Some days the answer may be that you need a drink of water. Other days the answer may be that you need to schedule a mental health day within the next month. When you get into a rhythm of asking what you need and responding by meeting that need, you’ll naturally keep burnout at bay.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Lead by example in creating healthy work norms. If your employees are getting emails from you at 3 am, they may start to think that’s expected of them as well. (Tip: If you’ve got a little one or a hectic travel itinerary that has you up late, consider scheduling your emails.) Take your vacation days. Praise results rather than hours spent at a desk. You set the tone for what is normal at your company.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.

Listen within. We would all be a lot more mentally well if we just listened to what our bodies and our minds were trying to tell us. Get into the habit of checking in with yourself regularly. Don’t allow caring for yourself to fall to the bottom of your to-do list.

Build a self-care toolkit. I encourage people to build a list of at least five self-care practices that they can use both proactively and reactively. These can include stretching, an artistic pursuit, time in nature, or a conversation with a loved one, just to name a few.

Be intentional about your screen time. Between our phones and our laptops, we spend a lot of time in front of our screens. At the very minimum, try not to make a screen the first thing you look at when you wake up or the last thing you look at before you go to bed.

Define success for yourself. So many of our mental health struggles are related to us thinking that we should be someplace other than where we are. Get really clear on how you’re defining success and then release the need to measure yourself against any other standard.

Breathe. Your breath is a powerful tool that can send signals to your nervous system and help reduce the presence of stress hormones from your body. When in doubt, make your exhales longer than your inhales to encourage your body to relax.

Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.

During any time of transition, it’s important to revisit your priorities. Take this opportunity to redefine your definition of success for your new season of life and to reevaluate your self-care needs.

How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?

Teens and pre-teens should try to be more inwardly focused. During puberty, we’re all so concerned about what others think of us and what we need to do to be “cool.” I think that if teens spent more time getting to know their own needs, likes, and dislikes, they’d have increased confidence and self-awareness for years to come.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

I love the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a beautiful exploration of the creative process that teaches me something new every time I return to it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to see the end of burnout. It’s going to require organizations and people both to reimagine what work looks like, but I totally think it’s possible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Growing up, my aunt always told me, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” That quote continually reminds me that I don’t have to be the “best” to be successful if I just keep at it.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can connect with me on Instagram @taylorelysemorrison. You can connect with Inner Workout on Instagram @innerworkout.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you for the opportunity to share!

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About the author:

Beau Henderson, editor of Rich Retirement Letter and CEO of RichLife Advisors LLC, is a best-selling author, national tv/radio resource, and retirement coach/advisor, with over 17 years’ experience. Beau is a pioneer in the strategy based new model of holistic retirement planning. He can be followed on Facebook here or on Instagram here

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