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Fall Mental Fitness Tips for You and Your Team

Focus on everyday actions that deepen relationships and restore balance.

Feeling weary? Ready for a recharge? You’re not alone. Summer holidays have receded in the rear-view mirror and winter vacations are months away. Waiting for a big break can dampen your spirits.

To recharge your energy, focus on everyday actions that deepen relationships and restore balance. Here are 10 ways to reconnect and remotivate:

1. Make coming to the office worth the commute. It’s not just about where you work, but who you are working with. We are biologically wired to connect—our brains light up in the presence of others. Establish clear meeting times and places for colleagues to brainstorm and collaborate. Plan in-person meetings to kick off projects, assess progress, celebrate achievements, and debrief completed initiatives. Remember to walk around! Check in with colleagues to see what obstacles can be cleared and what processes sped up, simply by taking a look together.

2. Build in time for unscripted interactions. Small talk generates big returns as you build a foundation of shared understanding. The more information you have about people the better you can understand what’s important to them and what motivates them. Sharing a bit about yourselves builds trust. Take a few minutes at the start of your meetings to connect first, as humans.

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3. Take a break from being on screen. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, being on video calls all day adds an extra layer of exhaustion. Be purposeful about when cameras need to be on (and then make sure everyone complies); otherwise let yourself, and your colleagues, walk and talk—on the phone, and whenever possible, in person!

4. Establish clear expectations. Especially if working in a hybrid setting, separate out the "what" from the "where." Be sure everyone knows what needs to be done. All team members should know what “A” quality looks like. This will help overachievers relax, and motivate some potential slackers. Once the what is clear, determine where it has to be done.

5. Set and respect boundaries. Take the time to review and reset expected response times. Agree what’s urgent and how to communicate high or immediate priorities. Whether in the office or working remotely, establish a clear start and end of the day for you and your co-workers. For extra impact, if you are a manager, signal the start of the day with a quick "Good Morning” email, and mark the end of business hours (and expectations) with a note saying “Thanks and see you tomorrow."

6. Solve problems together. While you may feel comfy grinding out answers alone at your desk, science shows that the quality of your mood—and the innovativeness of your answers—improves when working with others. Discovering solutions, and using our talents, are sources of happiness and fulfillment. Remember to ask for and offer help.

7. Help others grow. We learn by watching others. Even when we’re not consciously aware of it, we’re observing and modeling the behavior of people around us. Your teammates thrive off your energy, experience, and (hopefully) humor. Contributing to your co-workers’ growth leads to greater fulfillment because it validates your unique talents. Ask, “How can I help you shine?” Whatever your position or level of seniority, contribute to building a positive culture by supporting your colleagues’ success. Generosity is contagious.

8. Seek out the why. Remind yourself why your work matters… to you and to others. Ask your colleagues about their “why.” Articulating and connecting around shared purpose grounds our everyday activities, generates energy, and infuses even mundane tasks with meaning.

9. Have the tough conversation. If you feel it, it's likely your colleague feels it, too. Rather than simmering in a negative psychological space, say something. Test your hypothesis—start a conversation by saying, “I am wondering if you are also feeling X because I am and I want to clear the air.”

10. Celebrate. End the week with a review of what went well. Drop a quick note of thanks to the people who supported your success. Appreciation is institutional rocket fuel. Expressing and receiving gratitude improves everyone’s mood.

More from Melanie A. Katzman Ph.D.
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