In a world where the demands of leadership can often overshadow personal well-being, Mini Nair, the Chief Financial Officer at Geojit Financial Services, stands out as a beacon of balance and mindfulness.

With decades of experience in leadership roles, Nair emphasises the importance of mental and physical fitness in maintaining a steady course amid the challenges of professional life.

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In an exclusive interview, she shares insights into her daily routine, the sources of stress in the workplace, and the crucial role of mental health in effective leadership.

Edited excerpts:

Q) Thanks for being part of the segment. With decades of experience in leadership roles, how do you keep yourself mentally fit?

A) I believe that mental and physical fitness go hand-in-hand. Hence, I try to invest around three hours of my morning time in meditation, prayers and yoga.

This has become a routine for me and helps me start every day with fresh and positive energy. On weekends, I try to unplug from office work except for emergency situations and attempt to spend quality time with family and friends.

My morning routine helps me be more disciplined and spiritual. I believe that these qualities aided me in gaining control over my mind and in being calm during difficult situations.It is extremely important for the team leader to be calm and lead the team effectively during tough situations.

Q) You start your day pretty early — take us through your routine.

A) Yes, I get up at 4.15 in the morning and I need around three hours for meditation, prayers and yoga. This I believe is an investment for mental and physical fitness. Meditation and yoga help us maintain control over the mind and body.

Q) What is the main source of stress according to you?

A) Stress at work can be usually due to work overload, fear of meeting tight timelines, unrealistic expectations, interpersonal conflicts etc.

Most of the time, stress is self-created, and one gets stressed majorly due to a lack of planning and too much attachment to the outcome.

Once you are stressed, the performance level drops and the stress levels enhance. Instead, if we can plan the task well, set realistic deadlines, delegate among the team members in line with their capabilities, and give 100% effort as an individual and as a team, any difficult tasks can be completed successfully.

Successful completion of tasks boosts the confidence and energy of the workforce and will enhance their performance levels.

Q) Why is mental health important especially when someone is in a leadership role?

A) Traditionally, we used to worry only about employees’ physical health and safety, hence speaking about mental health in offices is an extremely welcome change.

A leader has to manage multiple minds and if he/she can’t manage their own mind, how to manage others? A weak leader will have a weak team as the leader’s insecurity will spread to the team.

Only an emotionally strong leader with empathy and conviction in himself/herself can build an efficient and confident team which can deliver results.

A good leader can convert a stressful situation into a positive challenge, which can motivate the team to be more productive.

Q) Was there any turning point that highlighted the importance of mental health or was it something that you have been doing since childhood?

A) Awareness about the importance of investing my time into mental health came to me over the years. Usually, we focus more on keeping our physical body healthy.

A few highly stressful events in my life taught me that even if you are physically fit, stress and strain can create havoc both to the mental and physical well-being.

I started putting more conscious efforts into becoming emotionally strong and the result is awesome.

Q) What are your hobbies?

A) I like plants, hence I enjoy gardening. I also like travelling to explore new places.

Q) People say that it is difficult to manage their personal life along with a job. What are your views?

A) It is not difficult to manage personal and professional life if we are clear about our priorities in life. Each individual will have different levels of aspirations in life, and it is important to understand and establish boundaries.

To be productive both at work and home, we must set realistic limits on what can be done and must communicate the same with the office colleagues/boss and the family members.

I believe that it is extremely important to keep time for personal development — emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth contributes to a happy and successful life.

It is also pertinent to give back to society and being part of some selfless service activities can give great joy and mental peace.

(Disclaimer: Recommendations, suggestions, views, and opinions given by the experts are their own. These do not represent the views of the Economic Times)

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