Reframe our relationship to technology — Computers and phones are ever present in our lives, but it often exacerbates anxiety, stress, and mental exhaustion. However, we have a choice to create boundaries with our devices, and take control of its role in our lives. Some effective ways to integrate this in daily life: No-tech time during meals or quality time with friends/loved ones, keeping your phone on airplane mode overnight, not checking your phone in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, disabling all non-essential alerts on your phone or computer (ie, social media), and setting screen time limits.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Hana Jung, Founder and Chief Connector of Re:Boot Experiences, which hosts group accelerators and destination summits for multi-hyphenate conscious leaders to rapidly uplevel their mindset to charge into their next big chapter.
Through a 360 multi-disciplinary approach to leadership development, Hana consistently delivers radical clarity and focus to help her members channel their natural talents to reach maximum impact, abundance and joy.
Re:Boot inner expeditions focus on deepening connection in 3 key areas: to inner power and intuition, to the higher purpose in life, and to a global community of compassionate seekers.
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 certainly didn’t aim to be a transformative leadership coach, it happened very organically. My career path started off fairly conventional. I worked at a big marketing agency, climbed up the corporate ladder, took an in-house position at a luxury skincare company, and eventually left that job to become the first director of marketing at Classpass. I had known for years that something was missing from my life, but since I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, I continued to ignore my inner voice. No amount of career moves or pivots could shake the feeling that I wasn’t truly doing what I was meant to do. It caused a lot of anxiety, stress, and turbulence in my mind. It wasn’t until I was hospitalized from stress-induced ulcers that I stopped to ask myself if I was even happy. In all honesty, I was not.
That moment of burnout kicked off a series of adventures. I quit my fast-paced NYC life, bought a one-way ticket to Florida to work on a superyacht, started a tech company for luxury yacht staffing, sold the company, felt lost and confused, then found my way back to myself. Now I help other conscious leaders unleash their entrepreneurial potential through clarity and courage.
It definitely wasn’t an easy path, but there was strength in learning how to intentionally destroy, build, and evolve my life through the years. In all the many iterations of my life, I can confidently say that I no longer fear change, but feel excited for whatever may come. I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach others how to evolve with more grace, courage, and excitement as well.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Before my current venture, I was going through a really tough time in my business and life. After painstakingly building a tech platform for luxury yacht staffing, I felt that I was once again at a crossroads. I no longer felt passionate about what I built, and deep down I knew that it still wasn’t my true calling. I felt like a failure despite building a successful business. The moment I decided to release and let go of my first company, I was able to find several interested buyers. Within months, I sold my company for a healthy profit and I was able to move forward with a venture that deeply resonated with my true purpose — Re:Boot Experiences. It’s interesting how the moment you’re ready to release something, a more aligned opportunity enters your life. I’ll never forget that moment. I remind myself that every shedding is a new opportunity for growth…for life and business.
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?
Re:Boot Experiences started off as a destination summit for leaders to meet, grow, and collaborate. I modeled my first experience in Nicaragua after other similar events I’ve hosted and created a schedule, printed out programs, and had everything planned to the minute.
From day one, we were running behind, food was late, workshops were delayed, and there was no hope for sticking to the schedule. Despite hours of planning, I had to laugh at my own ambition in trying to orchestrate a group of people who wanted to relax in paradise. I immediately threw away the programs, and decided to make changes in real time. I slowed things down, I added in break times, I adapted.
The biggest lesson from that experience was to remember to create a plan, but be willing to adapt and go with the flow. Structure and flexibility. I had to remember that this experience was in service of my members, and not about how many things I can pack into a day. Knowing that helped me relax and enjoy the experience as well.
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?
This is a difficult question because I’ve had some amazing mentors and leaders in my life. However, the most impactful mentors were the ones that ruthlessly challenged my assumptions about success. I used to think that my work had to be “perfect” in order for it to be successful.
When I used to work on yachts, my captain caught me in the middle of a tearful breakdown because things were not as perfect as I had intended. I distinctly remember him telling me “Hana, perfection is a myth. We are going for good-enough.” I immediately burst into laughter (and maybe more tears), because I was so relieved to hear that I had permission to be “good enough” and didn’t have to be so obsessed with perfection. The trip was a success, and nobody seemed to notice the imperfections.
That lesson in embracing imperfection led me to take bigger risks, releasing expectations, and aiming for audacious goals knowing that achieving 90% was better than 0%. Perfection is not a requirement for acceptance, and I was more than “good enough” to create my own type of success.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
The most important lesson I learned from my own burnout is to honor and trust my intuition. Deep down, we all know when we are living in an unsustainable way. We intuitively know when we’re working too hard, not getting enough rest, and feeling off balance. However, due to “grind culture”, we are encouraged to ignore our own intuition in favor of achievement. Given our fast-paced corporate culture and output-obsessed society, we feel guilty when we actually rest or slow down. How often do we check our emails in bed or answer messages off-hours? We never turn off, and that’s deeply unsustainable for our mental health.
The most important thing to remember is that rest is something you always deserve, not something you have to earn or “make up” for. Becoming aware of your own energy fluctuations, honoring your intuitive voice, and integrating regular rest will help you thrive instead of burning out.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
To create an inviting and healthy work culture, it’s important to remember the human side of human capital.
- Trust — Companies that trust and give agency to their team have more motivated employees. When leadership treat their employees like wayward children needing to be over managed and controlled, it creates an unfavorable dynamic between leadership and team members.
- Compassion — Treat your team members like you would you best friend, and remain compassionate if they are struggling personally or professionally.
- Authenticity — Everyone should be able to show up with their full selves at work. Flexible work hours, playing to natural strengths, and rotating work responsibilities to follow natural curiosity will inspire team members to remain creative and motivated to evolve with the company.
- Vulnerability — Having a safe space to own up to mistakes can have long term positive effects. When the leadership team can equally be open about their own mistakes or say “I don’t know”, it gives the team permission to be honest about their concerns, fears, and mistakes. More honesty and vulnerability upfront can help identify issues sooner and remedy them faster.
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.
- Gratitude conditioning — From the moment you wake up, think of as many things you’re grateful for (I like to think of at least 10 while my coffee is brewing). This morning ritual creates a mindset towards gratitude, and immediately wires your brain to pay attention to all the blessings you have received and will receive.
- Daily release of negative mind baggage — Throughout any given day, we may experience negative interactions and thought patterns that can create a sort of inner “mind baggage”. If we allow these seemingly minor negative thoughts to accumulate over time, without intentionally clearing it away, it begins to wear away at our mental health and energy. At the end of each day, I create a written list of everything that I was bothered, upset, triggered by that day. Then, I create a “resolution plan” for each item. If I was bothered by something someone said, my resolution plan would be to either commit to having a conversation or reframing the experience to release the thought immediately. Or, if I was disappointed that I didn’t get everything I wanted to get done, my resolution plan would be to forgive myself, writing reassuring words that I can try again tomorrow, and releasing any guilt. Having a nightly practice of intentionally letting go of mental baggage not only helps with sleep, but allows us to clear away negativity immediately without allowing it to fester and harm our mental health.
- Intentional boredom — Modern life gets so overscheduled, from personal and work obligations, we rarely create space to listen to our inner voice. It’s no accident most people do their best thinking in the shower or on long drives, there’s nothing to do but be silent with their thoughts. I’ve integrated 1–2 full days of intentional “boredom” a week. Usually on a Sunday, I block off the entire day, make no plans or obligations with anyone, and release myself of any work obligations. It’s in this quiet blank space, I’ve found the most peace and creativity. Intentionally creating time to be bored, gives our minds a break from “doing” and we can just focus on “being”.
- Reframe our relationship to technology — Computers and phones are ever present in our lives, but it often exacerbates anxiety, stress, and mental exhaustion. However, we have a choice to create boundaries with our devices, and take control of its role in our lives. Some effective ways to integrate this in daily life: No-tech time during meals or quality time with friends/loved ones, keeping your phone on airplane mode overnight, not checking your phone in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, disabling all non-essential alerts on your phone or computer (ie, social media), and setting screen time limits.
- Movement as therapy — it’s no secret that there’s a strong connection between the mind and body. Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do for our mental health isn’t mind-related at all, but to use our physical body as a mechanism to process emotions and disrupt thought patterns. Dancing, running, exercising, or any other form of body movement can help us move away from overthinking, and use our bodies to boost endorphins, get into flow states, and invite more joy into our lives.
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.
I’m lucky that I have a model for how to experience a fulfilling retirement. My grandfather lived until he was 103 years old, and remained active and curious until the day he passed. In observing his well-lived retirement, he remained mentally strong and healthy because of the following practices:
Having a sense of purpose — When he was younger, his sense of purpose came from his family and watching his grandchildren (and great grandchildren) thrive. Later in life, he found his purpose in his faith. He wanted to serve his community and was very active in the church. I’m not saying one needs to find faith, but connecting to a sense of purpose can be nourishing to the soul.
Remaining playful — My grandfather loved to go fishing. Each year, he would make it a point to take a cruise to Alaska to go salmon fishing. He’d also spend time with his friends and went on many hiking adventures. He kept his inner child alive, and integrated play and joy in his daily life.
Staying curious and open minded — Despite being 103, he was always curious. He figured out how to brew his own blackberry moonshine, he grew his own vegetables in the garden to give to his neighbors, he learned calligraphy, he read a lot of books. Nurturing his curiosity kept him mentally sharp and active.
Connecting to community — My grandfather felt supported by his family, a large church congregation, and a retirement community with lots of friends. Since humans are not solitary creatures, having a network of friends and family for emotional support can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
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?
I know it’s difficult for teens, but limiting time on social media is the #1 thing I’d recommend to optimize mental wellness. Studies have shown the negative consequences of social media, everything from low self-esteem to higher anxiety and stress. If social media cannot be avoided, I recommend that teens/preteens are super selective about who they follow. If a particular person or account causes them to feel bad about themselves, more anxious, or feel depressed, they should immediately unfollow. It’s important to remember that they have full control over their own feed.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I can’t think of any one particular book, but I recently reread the Alchemist. It’s a book I reread every few years, and each time it deepens in texture and meaning. This year, it served as a reminder to surrender and trust that everything is unfolding exactly as it should be.
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’m lucky that I’ve already started on that journey through Re:Boot Experiences. I want to create a movement for more people to remember who they are, embrace their full potential, and intentionally choose a life they actually want…and not something they’ve been conditioned to accept. If everyone is living to their greatest fulfillment and joy, there will be no need to control or harm others.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
One quote I’ve been leaning into during COVID is from Rumi “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
Earlier this year, I lost my aunt to cancer and my grandfather to a stroke in the same week. I felt completely helpless and devastated. Months later, I’m welcoming my first nephew and our family has never been closer. Life really is an endless cycle, and it’s been a nice reminder to remain open and hopeful through a tough year knowing that there’s more gifts around the corner.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!