The Top Five Self-Care Practices That Improve Mental Wellness
An Interview With Maria Angelova
Prioritize good sleep. Get on a consistent, restful schedule and stick to it. A solid night’s sleep allows you to tackle big decisions the next day and is a huge predictor of mood. Everyone is more irritable when they aren’t sleeping well. Getting into a good routine to create a restful night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to fuel your mental health.
Let’s face it. It seems that everyone is under a great deal of stress these days. This takes a toll on our mental wellness. What are some of the best self-care practices that we can use to help improve our mental wellness and mental well-being? In this interview series, we are talking to medical doctors, mental health professionals, health and wellness professionals, and experts about self-care or mental health who can share insights from their experience about How Each Of Us Can Use Self Care To Improve Our Mental Wellness. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Maurice Harary.
Maurice Harary is the co-founder and CEO of The Bid Lab, a consulting company dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses find, manage and build their RFPs and proposals.
His experience building a company that started with just $1,500 into a company that has grown tremendously is a great way to help with stories and pitches outside of just procurement and the RFP process. Furthermore, he has helped countless small and medium-sized businesses win their first multi-million-dollar deals, and helping smaller businesses drives The Bid Lab’s mission!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about you and your personal background. Can you please share your personal story? What has brought you to this point in your life?
When I was in college it was my goal to work for a large tech company. I had my heart set on working for a specific firm, but the only opening they had was on the ‘RFP’ team. Even though I had no idea what that was, I went for it. (I was on spring break in Chile at the time, so of course, I accepted!) Once I started actually responding to RFPs, I found that it was work that was both challenging and rewarding, and I worked my way up to be a top performer on my team. Eventually, with a little encouragement from my Co-Founder and wife, Jordan, I took the leap and went out on my own starting The Bid Lab.
What is your “WHY” behind what you do? What fuels you?
My oldest daughter was born prematurely. I realized if she could fight to survive, and eventually thrive, then I was going to fight for her to have whatever she needed once she was out of that incubator.
I am also passionate about helping small and medium-sized businesses grow and expand. Many clients come to us with no previous experience in the bidding process. Or, they come to us at the eleventh hour, stressed and overwhelmed. Unlike our competitors, we focus on our clients, understanding what makes them unique and walking them through the process with complete transparency.
Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake or failure which you now appreciate has taught you a valuable lesson?
I made some foolish assumptions about who my first clients would be. I learned that it’s not about the size of a client, but about how much you can assist a business. One of our best clients came to us with just over $100,000 in revenue, and we have grown together to be multi-million-dollar businesses!
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
1. Failure is Success — The absolute most important trait to have as a successful leader is the appreciation and expectation of failure. You cannot succeed without failing. The sooner you accept, and plan for this, the sooner you can recover and continue building your business. Remember every failure contains a valuable lesson. These lessons can be effectively utilized to grow your business in a more efficient and smarter way. Anticipating failure as part of the path to ultimate success really takes the fear, and thus the hesitancy, out of trying which lets you get on to bigger and better things.
2. Be Your Own Guide; How to Trust Your Intuition — The first step to getting in touch with your intuition is to learn to slow down and listen to yourself. Once you’re able to clearly hear your own inner voice, something a lot of us have been taught to drown out, you then need to work on trusting that inner voice. Get comfortable asking yourself why you are feeling something — is it just anxiety, an unfamiliar experience, or something deeper? The more you practice listening to your inner voice and comparing what it is telling you to your actual experience the better you will get at understanding what is a gut feeling and what is just a fleeting thought. Once you are truly comfortable listening to and trusting yourself you can rely on your intuition to guide you in making decisions.
3. The Success of Giving — I am a big fan of ‘Go-getter or Go-giver?’ By Assia Riccio. The book The Go-Getter had a huge impact on how I live my life and run my business. Success is about personal connections and social impact so much more than mere financial gain. I designed my business to help small and medium-sized businesses grow to reach their maximum potential through RPFs. I have created deep bonds with my clients and helped their businesses grow which helps local economies. Additionally, I work with companies that help children, and people in the prison system, and increase DE&I goals for other businesses. I like to think that by helping small businesses that are focused on helping society as a whole, I am, in a small way, contributing to the quality of life of hundreds of people. It is the duty of successful businesses to give back where and when they can to fully contribute to the world we all share.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that will help people?
At any given point our firm is working on dozens of projects simultaneously (and we think they’re all exciting!). A current project I am particularly proud of though involves assisting the Colorado Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC) with finding a vendor for their new invoicing system that will enable more families to receive government aid in an effort to keep their families together.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, about the interface between self-care and mental health. From where you stand personally or professionally, why are you so passionate about mental well-being?
Mental wellness is vital both to sustaining yourself personally and sustaining your business. The Bid Lab is remote by design because I wanted access to talent without location barriers and I wanted to create a successful work/life balance for myself and my employees. We all need to be able to take care of ourselves and our physical and mental health before we can function optimally at work. That’s why we intentionally encourage employee self-care with a monthly wellness credit for various wellness activities, and a focus on work/life balance. Everyone needs the time to take care of themselves well.
Based on your research or experience, how exactly does self-care impact our mental wellness?
Simply put when we don’t take care of ourselves, especially as parents and leaders, everything else falls apart. When you are running on empty you are more likely to get sick, make poor decisions, and lose your temper with people you shouldn’t. You can’t give from an empty cup. If you want to sustain the people you care about, you have to start with yourself.
Here is our primary question. Can you please share your “Top Five Selfcare Practices That Each Of Us Can Use To Improve Our Mental Wellness”?
1. Prioritize good sleep. Get on a consistent, restful schedule and stick to it. A solid night’s sleep allows you to tackle big decisions the next day and is a huge predictor of mood. Everyone is more irritable when they aren’t sleeping well. Getting into a good routine to create a restful night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to fuel your mental health.
2. Don’t skip the workout! It’s so easy to let working out fall off of your to-do list but physical health is vital to mental health. Schedule time in your day to work out so you feel your best. It’s proven that working out has serious mental health benefits and even though it can be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down or stressing out, just moving your body is a great way to get out of your head and give yourself a mental break while boosting endorphins.
3. Socialize. It’s important to maintain friendships and focus on relationships outside of work. Good friends are so sustaining. Starting a company is very lonely in the beginning, even if you are constantly pitching potential clients and working with vendors. You lose out on that built-in cohort of people in a traditional work environment that you see day-to-day and makes the work easier. Working alone means you are constantly needing to seek out socialization, which can be challenging especially when you’re working day and night to get your business off the ground. I recommend taking time to network with old college friends or co-workers. There needs to be a time for you to socialize without discussing work. Just like you schedule a meeting, schedule time to grab dinner with your best friend or have a date night with your spouse. This should happen regularly, not once in a while, and will make a world of difference in your mental health. Starting a business allows you to manage your own schedule, so use it accordingly to make plans that work for you!
4. Surround yourself with loved ones. It’s impossible to be successful without support. Know who is in your corner and don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help. Whether it’s business advice or just a kind ear after a long day, you need to feel supported to have the energy to keep pushing and create your business.
5. Write it out. I know it can sound silly but writing out your mental health struggles and frustrations can really help. It’s like a release valve for stress. Give yourself ten minutes to write out everything that you’re struggling with mentally and really give yourself a chance to feel it. When you’re done, you still might not have all the answers, but just the act of writing out your thoughts and feelings can help connect you to solutions or at the very least make you feel a little less stressed out.
Can you please share a few of the main roadblocks that prevent people from making better self-care choices? What would you suggest can be done to overcome those roadblocks?
I think the number one thing is time. It can be hard to prioritize your mental health with all that goes on in daily life. That’s why I say schedule regular self-care and treat it like a can’t-miss appointment. Money is another thing. Unfortunately, we don’t have a healthcare system that prioritizes mental health the way it should. However, there are free or affordable resources in the form of books and online classes. Really, we have to focus on investing in our mental health we think about investing in general, we’re looking to increase our long-term well-being to increase the overall value of our lives.
In one sentence, what would you say to someone who doesn’t prioritize their mental well-being?
Love yourself like you’d love a friend or family member.
Thank you for all that great insight! Let’s start wrapping up. Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does this quote resonate with you so much?
There is an old Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” Throughout the years as we have continued to expand and grow, there have been inevitable hiccups along the way. The key to overcoming these hiccups is that we EXPECTED them to happen. You have to be prepared for and accept bumps in the road when you are trying to do something great. What’s great is that we always get back up, even if the fall was so hard it sometimes takes a second to heal.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? They might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)
I’d love to meet Jeff Dean, the head of AI at Google. We use Google products all the time, and we are currently exploring some cool ways to implement AI through our newly launched software. He is brilliant and has been with Google since 1999.
How can our readers follow you online?
Check out all that we’re doing at The Bid Lab or Bid Banana. From articles in our Learning Center to our extensive list of Case Studies you can find information to grow your business or inspiration on how we’ve helped others grow theirs. You can also check us out on:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
Authority Magazine Article Link: Self-Care & Mental Wellness: Maurice Harary Of The Bid Lab On The Top Five Self-Care Practices That Improve Mental Wellness