“5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness”, with Damon Nailer
Get Adequate Rest- Some of our mental/emotional issues stem from sleep deprivation. Low concentration, irritability, impulsiveness, and tiredness are just a few things that are caused by lack of sleep. Additionally, inadequate rest contributes to many health problems such as hypertension and diabetes, and it affects the overall function of our immune system. Make sure you consistently get the right amount of sleep that will enable you to feel invigorated, refreshed, and mentally alert.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Damon Nailer. Multifaceted, passionate, and skilled all describe Damon “DaRil” Nailer. Known as a “Renaissance Man”, Inspirational Communicator, Gift Guru, and Authority/Expert, Damon is able to provide direction, inspiration, and education to the masses. He possesses a wealth of knowledge in the following areas: educational, entrepreneurial/business, religious, entertainment, relationships, mindfulness, leadership, and parenting.
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?
My journey to becoming a leadership trainer, career consultant, motivational speaker, parent educator, and author is a rather interesting one. I began my professional career as an elementary teacher. I taught third grade for two years and fifth grade for five years. During the first 4 years of my teaching tenure, I was excited about serving as an educator. By the fifth year, my passion for teaching began to dwindle as my desire for public speaking and music production began to increase. The last two years of my teaching career were extremely difficult. I was frustrated and burnt out. Finally, after completing my seventh year, I decided to launch out and pursue entrepreneurship, specifically motivational speaking, writing, and music production. Once I stepped out, things were going well for a while, and then, I hit a wall. It was at this juncture that I pivoted and started a janitorial business with a partner. I ran the cleaning business while speaking, writing, and performing. Lastly, after 12 years of being a business owner, I was able to release the janitorial company and transition into my current profession as a parent educator while continuing to write books and conduct speaking engagements- leadership trainings, parenting sessions, eschatological seminars, and gift/talent workshops.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I would say the most interesting story of my professional journey would have to be when my former business partner and I split up. It was caused by an uproar that had taken place at the ministry we attended. Never in a million years would I have thought that what took place could ever occur. Yet, it did. I forewarned him that the individuals would attempt to separate us, but he didn’t take heed. So not only did the conflict sever our business ties, but it also destroyed our friendship.
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?
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?
There are two people who have played a vital role in my success- my wife Necole and my cousin David. Both have been there through the thick/thin, the mountaintop/the valley, and the good/the bad. My wife has been my best friend and confidant. She’s always encouraging me to pursue my calling, praying for me, and being supportive in any way possible. As for my cousin, I can vividly recall several times when I was discouraged in need of encouragement or financially strapped in need of some extra cash, and he stepped in to help each time. Every project, program, or book he has supported by purchasing copies, providing positive feedback, and spreading the word.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
My greatest piece of advice for avoiding burnout is to master consistent self-care. This will allow you to release stress, decompress, and remain fresh. Working in any field can become stressful and tedious. Therefore, it’s a must to cater to yourself and care for you.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Ironically, about a month ago at my job I was selected as an achieved leader to facilitate a cultural intuitiveness training. From this experience I learned that creating a fantastic work culture boils down to several factors: having a good listening ear as you interact with your employees/coworkers, allowing others’ voices/concerns to be heard and addressed, providing rewards and recognition on a consistent basis, creating incentives and ways to advance, and making the work culture a family-oriented atmosphere, whereas it’s not only about being concerned with business, but it’s also about acknowledging the importance of people’s personal lives.
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. Feed Your Mind Positivity- Read information that is educational, inspirational, and motivational. Search for and listen to podcasts, talk shows, and videos that provide wholesome, quality content. Try to avoid consuming depressing, sad news, and stories. Each day I practice this concept. I carefully manage my forms of entertainment/educational content. I notice that listening to negative information or aggressive, profane music has a negative impact on how I feel, so I make it a point to stand clear of media that contains these elements.
2. Speak Affirmations- Create a list of scriptures, positive sayings, or uplifting quotes and speak them out loud daily. Words are seeds that contain transformative energy and when they are spoken externally, they generate tremendous power, particularly when done on a continual basis. Ironically, it works for positive words as well as negative. Therefore, we must be mindful of what we speak. I have been practicing this for years. I speak declarations concerning my health, family, destiny, and success. The results have been astounding. I have seen the things I have spoken manifest right before my very eyes.
3. Schedule “Me Time”- This is essential to our sanity. It enables us to decompress, be alone with our thoughts, and just be at peace. Taking a few moments per day to do this can yield great results. One thing it does is gives us time to relax. We are oftentimes so wound up that we need a little time to exhale. Another benefit is that it gives us the opportunity to have an “aha moment” or a “moment of clarity” where the light bulb goes off and we receive some great insight. Living in the fast-paced rat race stops us from doing this often enough, which means our minds are on overdrive, racing all day and all night. When we take a break to isolate, we allow our minds to calm down. This causes us to become clear, open, and attune with ourselves. Last year about this time, I was taking advantage of some “me time” when I was divinely inspired to write my current book- Living, Loving, Leading. I had been pondering the idea of publishing another book, but I didn’t have a concept in mind. However, during one of my “quiet time” sessions, the idea and title came out of nowhere. From that moment on I began working on it, and the rest is history.
4. Find Your Stress Reliever- How do you release stress? I pray, meditate, and visit the gym regularly to let off steam and clear my mind. Some people like to read while others enjoy watching TV, fishing, playing sports, listening to music, taking baths, eating, spending time with friends, etc. Find what works best for you. I can tell when I have not used one of my stress relievers. Just recently I was feeling irritated, bothered, and discouraged. It seemed like this particular day was so off. But then, I realized I hadn’t incorporated any of my stress relief strategies. At that moment, I got off to myself for a few minutes and believe or not, I felt much better.
5. Get Adequate Rest- Some of our mental/emotional issues stem from sleep deprivation. Low concentration, irritability, impulsiveness, and tiredness are just a few things that are caused by lack of sleep. Additionally, inadequate rest contributes to many health problems such as hypertension and diabetes, and it affects the overall function of our immune system. Make sure you consistently get the right amount of sleep that will enable you to feel invigorated, refreshed, and mentally alert. Wow! Aging has really made me aware of how critical the concept of rest is. Years ago, my schedule was so hectic that I used to get by on 6 hours of sleep or even less. Once I became an entrepreneur, my schedule became more flexible, enabling me to sleep more. After increasing my sleep time, I noticed a drastic change in the strength of my immune system. My struggles with allergies, hypertension, and lethargy began to lessen, and my health improved drastically.
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.
1. Find a pastime/hobby- Many people consider retirement as a time to let go of all manner of work and activities. This is something I would strongly discourage. Everyone is created to “do” something while we have the strength and mental capabilities. Sitting around being idle won’t work. Oftentimes, Individuals who do this once they retire end up experiencing health issues and depression due to living an isolated, sedentary life.
2. Network/Interact with Other Retirees or Join a Some Sort of Social Network- Let’s face it- retiring can be a lonely phase for anyone. Yet, this does not have to be the case. There are others who are in the same boat as you. You just have to seek and find other retirees. Also, I would urge anyone who has retired to stay connected and actively involved in any social group with which he/she is affiliated. This will limit or alleviate the feeling of being lonely. I have watched many retirees, even senior citizens, have the greatest time of their lives by being associated with social clubs.
3. Travel- If one can afford it, I would certainly recommend that he/she travels once he/she retires. Visit and explore new places. This, in and of itself, will be refreshing, stimulating, and rewarding.
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?
Live an Active Life- Preteens and teens should be actively involved in extracurricular activities such as band, scouts (boy/girl), ROTC, sports, choir, religious youth groups, scholastic groups, etc.
Find a Trusted Adult to Confide In- The struggles of life do not discriminate. Preteens and teens are no exceptions. Since trials/tribulations are inevitable, it is imperative that they can have at least one trusted adult with whom they can share their thoughts, feelings, and frustrations without being judged or ridiculed.
Find True Friends- In many cases, youth experience mental health issues due to peer pressure. To avoid this, I encourage young people to be selective about who they consider their friends. I always tell them to surround themselves with people who are going to give them respect, appreciation, and unconditional love.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
The Power Of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I read it while I was in my senior year of college, and it revolutionized my perspective and mindset. It made me realize the power and energy of our thoughts. After reading it, I became more cognizant of my thoughts and more deliberate with my meditation. This ultimately transformed my life. There is no doubt in my mind that this book is one of the major contributing factors that galvanized me to become a motivational speaker.
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. :-)
Living, Loving, Leading. What I realize is that we are all doing this whether we are cognizant of it or not. Once we recognize this, it becomes a matter of deciding how we want to live- survive or thrive? Who do we love- God, ourselves, or others? How do we want to lead- positively/negatively, aggressively/assertively, or with empathy/with apathy?
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Never ever allow others to determine your value because in doing so they will always shortchange you. Throughout my various life experiences, I have discovered that nobody will love, care, and value me more than me. As a result, I make it a point to be selfish at times by pampering myself, patting myself on the back, celebrating my personal successes, and throwing my own parties.
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!
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