Get Sleep. I mentioned earlier when I was drifting into cranky land or planning a pity party that lack of sleep was part of what I was missing to get my mental wellness back on track. There is so much good information and research as to why the proper amount of sleep is so important to your overall wellness. Get some zzzz’z you’ll be glad you did.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things, Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness I had the pleasure of interviewing Terrie Nathan. Terrie Nathan is an International Best-selling Author, Confidence Strategist, Speaker and CEO of Strong Girl Enterprises. She coaches and educates organizations, teachers, moms and young girls in middle school/high school to cultivate confidence by teaching them strategies on positive self-talk, self-worth, body image, and overall mental wellness.
Terrie is a former HR director of a Fortune 200 company and has 25+ years of experience empowering leaders to strategize change within their personal teams. Additionally, she has facilitated workshops for 20,000+ audience members supporting them in behavioral transformations.
Terrie has now made it her life’s mission to teach these transformational strategies of empowerment on large stages and partnerships for women, young girls, and their mentors.
Terrie draws her strength, energy, and desire to help girls & women from her amazing adult children Monica, Dean, Mary, teenage granddaughters Rylee & Desi and her biggest fan and husband Eric.
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?
I’m sure you have all heard the Chinese Proverb…”The Journey of a Thousand miles begins with a single step”. My most recent journey lasted over a span of 18 plus years. Staring at an entry-level position and working my way up to a director position with a Fortune 200 company, I thought this is where I would retire.
However, we never know where life’s journey is going to take us. Just under a year ago I was given the news that I would have to relocate to another state. Being newly married and loving where I currently lived, I had to make a decision. For a few years, I had always felt a nudge, if you will, to do more and to impact in a different kind of way. So I decided not to relocate and to leave an 18-year secure career that I loved. Or maybe, just maybe, I had gotten comfortable inside my box? I decided to embark on the climb of entrepreneurship, new terrain, new views, with many potential cliffs. Along my climb into new territory, Strong Girl Spirit was born. They say the best view always comes after the hardest climb, however, I have been in some tough climbs before and I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Having this mindset has kept me successful all my career, especially now. Protecting your mental wellness is critical especially in times of change. No one can do it for you, you are in control of the success you so desire and the perspective you take along the way. While this journey is somewhat new, I know my previous life/business experiences will be the rope I need to stay in the climb. The success we are seeing now is starting to pay off and flourish. Are there ups and downs, of course, but I do the things necessary to ensure my mental wellness while staying on the climb.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Whenever we start something new, rather it be a new job, new marriage, new school, whatever it is, we tend to go all in and that’s important, however, we often forget about the importance of maintaining our mental health through it all. When I first jumped into the entrepreneurial world, I did just that, I stopped taking care of me. I thought I had to go all-in for the business. I was very busy getting things up and running but in the meantime, I was becoming sluggish and cranky. It didn’t take long for me to self-assess my situation. I realized I had stopped my daily meditation, I had stopped working out, I had stopped eating right and getting enough rest. Once I took a moment to step back and look at the big picture I could see that I wasn’t really getting a lot done either (business-wise). I was just busy being busy. How we treat ourselves is critical to our success. At some point, you will run yourself into the ground unless you schedule you first and foremost. I started back with my daily meditation, exercise, eating better and 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Guess what, soon I was back on track, clear-headed and focused on the “right” things, not squirreling from here to there.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting?
It wasn’t necessarily humorous at that moment, but I’m grateful I can now look back on it with a smile and a lesson. Social media is a big part of our following. When I first starting blogging I just jumped in and by jumping in I mean I didn’t check much for grammar or spelling (in a hurry to launch). I posted a few things without double-checking and was quickly corrected by my audience….ouch. Now I could have run and hide, but instead, I made fun of myself, humor is part of protecting your mental wellness. The take-away was a valuable lesson in slowing down to go fast and that meant double-checking everything and thinking before you post. Posting anything is kind of like thinking before you speak. Slow down…while it’s valuable to have humor as part of your daily life, you don’t always want it to be humor in your mistakes. Take a breath!
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?
Gary Waschow is in the true sense a leader, a mentor, and a friend.
New in my role, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and when Gary came in for my first visit, I was stressed, to say the least. However, instead of getting angry because I hadn’t done something correctly, which is what I was used to with a prior leader, Gary helped me to understand the “WHY” behind what we did. I will never forget that he took the time to listen, coach, teach and provide feedback in a way that continues to help me today. People are either happy to see you coming or happy to see you going and I was always happy to see him coming. Even though Gary hasn’t been my leader in many years, he still calls to check in, say hi and see how I’m doing. When I was making the big break from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, he was one of the first people to call me and tell me that I had this and that if anyone could make this happen it would be me. Gary Waschow continues to be a “Class Act!” Thanks, Gary!
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Schedule in me-time, self-care time.
There’s a very good reason why flight attendants tell you that in case of an emergency, you should always put your own oxygen mask on first before you help anyone else. If you’re too busy tending to those around you, you miss the critical opportunity to take care of your own needs. And in this case, you could end up dead.
I know that’s extreme, but so is stress and lack of self-care. Once you have your oxygen mask secure, so to speak, then you can help others around you. It’s the same with Self-care and planned me-time. When you tend to you first you can then be the best version of being a Mom, Business Professional, Entrepreneur, Partner, Wife, and Friend. It’s tough to be of support when we are falling apart.
Get you on your calendar now.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture? Keep people your focus. We can’t grow, we can’t succeed, we can’t accomplish anything without our people. Hire “right”, train “right”, instill and role model the mission and values of your company. Allow people to have a voice, some of the best ideas come from your front line folks. When your people are happy your business will see better performance, thrive, and you will keep turnover at a minimum. Would you work for you?
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.
1. Get moving
When you are moving, rather it be a walk, run, or whatever gets you out of your chair, you release endorphins that improve your mood and make you feel good. A 15-minute walk can make all the difference in your mental wellness.
2. Get journaling
The process of journaling allows you to get the feelings out of your head and onto paper, it can give you some mental distance from what’s going on at the time. I journal almost daily and it is therapeutic especially if you need to get something off your mind. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just start writing.
3. Get positive
You control the thoughts and the words you say to yourself. Why not plant positive seeds? Building this muscle so to speak helps to keep your head out of the negative sand. This doesn’t happen overnight, but rather with a daily practice of kindness to self. You don’t get abs of steel laying on the couch and you don’t get positive practices with negative behaviors, actions, and words. I put positive sticky notes all over my mirrors, in my kitchen and in books to remind me that at any time I can turn the way I am feeling into a positive message vs a negative one. Try it!
4. Get Sleep
I mentioned earlier when I was drifting into cranky land or planning a pity party that lack of sleep was part of what I was missing to get my mental wellness back on track. There is so much good information and research as to why the proper amount of sleep is so important to your overall wellness. Get some zzzz’z you’ll be glad you did.
Optimizing your Mental Wellness influences how we feel, how we think, how we act and behave. Align your day with the 4 tips above and you will definitely be on the path to overall wellness.
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.
Optimizing Mental Wellness has a lot of the same components for teens/pre-teen/adults/retirees. That being said, the following tips can also be helpful for retirement.
- Embrace a new season. Every new season in life presents new opportunities for enjoying life. What can you find that excites you? Retirement doesn’t mean you can’t get out and do. So embrace the new season you are in and spread your well-seasoned wings.
- Socialize….stay connected with a positive, supportive friend. It’s as easy as joining a book club you have been meaning to join, volunteering, spending more time with the people who make you the happiest.
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?
- Journaling, journaling, journaling is such a great outlet for teens. I mentioned it earlier, however, it is worth mentioning again as teen years can have a lot of self-doubt and questions. By writing it down it can oftentimes make it easier to talk to someone about how you are feeling.
- You never need to feel alone. There is always someone you can talk it out with, perhaps a parent, a trusted friend, a coach, a teacher, whoever it is, it is important to share how you are feeling.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Yes, one of my go-to books year after year…“The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield.
The very first principle in the book is to take 100% responsibility for your life. Jack says most of us are conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we don’t like. However, to be successful you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life, the good the bad the ugly. I have had MANY occasions in my life where I have wanted to blame others and complain to anyone who would listen to me about my circumstances and or situation. I am thankful that because of this book and this principle I am able to stop and realize that I am 100% responsible for my life. This book has had an impact on my view of life for over 10 years. I can see that the first chapter in my head every time I try to go sideways. So I stop and course-correct or take a different perspective, but I own it. I honestly use this book as a go-to workbook of sorts, year after year it keeps me centered and 100% responsible.
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. 🙂
Women supporting Women, Girls supporting Girls…
A positive movement to empower, encourage and support each other in a space where we can all thrive together, not apart. #stronggirlspirit
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
It’s not so much what we have in this life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have. Mr. Rogers
Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Often times we are trying to chase what we want out of life, when all the while it may be right in front of us. I remind myself of this quote when I catch myself complaining or having a pity party. Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you. When you can keep this front of mind it will help you get through life’s ups and downs.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!