MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!

Nicholas Jenkins on Empowering Mental Fitness through Creativity and Nature

October 25, 2023 Nathaniel Scheer Season 1 Episode 7
MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!
Nicholas Jenkins on Empowering Mental Fitness through Creativity and Nature
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us on a compelling journey as we navigate the often misunderstood realm of mental fitness with the insightful Nicholas Jenkins, host of The Conversation Network. Using his personal experiences from his transition from military to civilian life, Nicholas sheds light on the importance of mental health and the stigma that often surrounds it. As we dive deeper into his narrative, we also explore how open discussions about mental health can help us all become more comfortable with the topic and understand the significance of maintaining mental fitness.

With Nicholas Jenkins at the helm, we steer the conversation beyond mental health and the military lifestyle. We venture into a variety of topics such as money management in the late 30s, the power of creativity, and the resilience as seen through Paris Hilton's story. Nicholas offers a unique perspective on how music influences mental fitness and shares how an unexpected connection with nature can rejuvenate your energy. Listen in as we challenge misconceptions about mental fitness and emphasize the importance of taking breaks and exercising creativity.

Throughout our conversation, we underscore the importance of seeking mental health support and dispel the myth that it equates to insanity. We touch on the role of family and communication in mental health and highlight the necessity of being authentic to foster relationships and trust. Embracing personal growth, we explore how it intertwines with mental fitness. Nicholas leaves us with valuable tips for mental fitness and shares his journey towards being comfortable with seeking mental health support. We promise this episode will leave you feeling inspired and more aware of the role of mental fitness in your life.

Scheerious Positivity!

Nate Scheer:

Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Nate Scheer, and this is Mind Matters, the podcast for love, life and learning, where your mind matters. Today, we have Nicholas Jenkins in the house. Hi, nick, hey, hello. I'm going to give him a chance to walk through his current podcast. Hear a little bit more about the conversation network.

Nick Jenkins:

Well, first off, thank you, Nate, for having me. It's great to see you again and it's great to be in the company of a fellow podcaster. Congratulations on getting yours launched. That's like we were saying earlier it's not easy to do, but really glad to see that you've joined the space. Yeah, I've got my own, my own podcast, the Conversation Network. I've been doing it since August of 2022. I actually released the first episode the day before my birthday. I've had some fun with it. It started out as it's called the Conversation Network now, but it was originally called Learning to Bed on Yourself and it was supposed to be very motivational, inspirational, kind of like the stories of the underdogs, if you will. But as I got was going through it, not everybody has an underdog story or maybe an underdog story they're comfortable sharing. So I kind of transitioned it a little bit more to like look, I just want to talk to my friends, See how they're doing. They're still opportunities to share stories about when they've bet on themselves or when they've overcome the adversity or anything like that. But kind of taking that really pigeonholed piece out of it and kind of just letting it be kind of an open format, round table type situation and I'm actually getting ready to wrap it up here just a little bit. Just a schedule's gotten kind of crazy, work has gotten a little crazy and it's taken a lot of time. As you're learning, it's a lot to do on one's own, but I really hope to bring it back at some point, maybe in a different format, maybe a different kind of subject matter. But yeah, it's been fun. I've learned a lot about myself, had a really great time and been able to connect with some friends on a different level. So, yeah, it's been great.

Nate Scheer:

That's awesome. Yeah, I was kind of joking A few people I've told I got work and what not. I'm like, oh, I started a podcast and some people kind of chuckle and I'm like, really it's a secret way for me to hang out and really talk to people that I love and I've spent a lot of good time with and whatnot, and it just happens to be recorded on the back end. So it's just fun conversations that I happen to hit a red button for. So, yeah, today we'll be talking about some mental fitness aspects. So really just trying to get diverse perspectives from all different ways of life, as highlighted throughout the different episodes, really trying to get after these. You know what can be difficult conversations for people and I believe if we continue having these conversations on how we are raised and how we experience it and tips and tricks for things like that, it'll just get easier and easier. So we'll just keep inviting people on and hearing a little bit about their story. So the first question I got for you was there a pivotal time or a time where mental fitness really became more important for you?

Nick Jenkins:

Probably say really, upon my separation from the military, which was at this. We're going almost six years since I've been out and you know mental when you're in the military and everything like that. Mental fitness is a discussion Like you, like for me, get to your first base. You're going through all the introductory courses and things like that of being a new military member. Here's all the services that are offered on base and then you get into the healthcare portion of it and then they say that you know mental health is something you can take advantage of if you want to, if you need to talk to somebody, if you're struggling with substance abuse, if you know, if you're you know don't want to get too touchy but feeling suicidal or anything like that like here is a resource for you. But even back then, like while I was active duty, you know mental health. I, you know it still has kind of a stigma for it, so around it excuse me not for it, but I did actually pursue mental health services while I was active duty, but I was very, very secretive about it and largely because I didn't want people to think I was crazy or think that I couldn't handle being a military member, because I know that joining the military was a big deal for me, as it is for anybody. But I know there was a lot of people who probably thought that I wouldn't make it past the first 24 hours of boot camp, probably wouldn't make it past my first year, and the first year was really tough. It was. It was a different experience than I thought it was going to be. I was a military dependent for the first 13 years of my life and I got was very fortunate. I lived overseas and lived in Japan, germany, italy and lived on base, off base. Everything's kind of like a compact small town and you really, as a dependent, you have at least for me, I had everything at my fingertips. So I kind of got into this mindset that and it was. It was a great life and I really enjoyed it. I remember begging. My dad retired in the middle of my eighth grade year and I remember begging him to enlist for four more years just so I could finish high school. But where I'm going with that is being a dependent and being active duty. I always say there's a big difference in being in the military and living off of the military like I did, and that was a big curve for me that I don't think I prepared myself for the very first year and things were stressful that first year. And then you know I'd always heard about mental health and everything like that and I'm like I definitely I just needed someone to talk to. But I kind of wanted to be private about it and you know, again, I didn't want anyone to think I was crazy. I definitely don't think anyone who pursues mental, mental health or counseling or anything like that now is crazy by any means. I had to learn that through my own experience. But so that's kind of where, where it started. And then my, my the first year out of separation was really difficult for me. I left all my friends who I'd been spending the last five years cultivating relationships with, moved to a brand new state, didn't know anybody had never been to the state before and it was really was really tough. It was really depressing, really sad. I was not really. You know it was. I was glad to be out of the military. I was glad that I don't regret making the decision to separate, but it was. It was just a shock, very much like going into the military as an active duty member. Getting out of it was just as much of a shock and it was a big adjustment phase. So that's kind of when I started to take it a little bit more seriously and I saw counseling again, again just to kind of talk through my, through my thoughts, my emotions, my feelings, because I had a good job. I did start to get to meet people, I was exploring Colorado a little bit but I still had a whole bunch in my head that I needed to download, needed to process and just get it out of my head. Just talking to somebody else who maybe wasn't my friend, my sister, my family member, something like that, someone who didn't know me, gave me a different perspective and again just allowed me to get it out of my head and make me feel a little bit better, that's kind of brown. God answer oh absolutely.

Nate Scheer:

I mean, I think the two biggest things that I took from that are one ongoing like we had talked about just before the episode started mental fitness ongoing. You start, you always go, you go. If you're having a good day, you go. And you're not having a good day, like it doesn't matter. It's just that ongoing it should be the same, like if you have a schedule at the gym, if you're scheduled the gyms Monday, wednesday, friday, why can't your you know appointment over there be, you know Monday, wednesday and Friday and you just stick to it. And then the other aspect is the spectrum. I really want people to start to understand and really connect with the spectrum. There's a whole list of things that you can get mental health for. So, like you had said, you just wanted someone to talk to. So there's someone to talk to. And then you know there's clinical and you know farther ends of the spectrum. But for some reason mental health has been lumped into one thing and it's, like you said, just crazy and pills, when really there's, you know, a slightly bad day where you have a small inconvenience and stub your toe and you just want to tell somebody because you're frustrated to like major issues. I mean that's the spectrum, but for some reason it's all lumped together and it seems to be lumped to the, you know, the far extreme side, where it's like the worst thing ever when there's a broad spectrum. What could be going on? So those are really good, really good points. So for us to understand you a little bit more, can you give us a brief recap? Tell us your origin story.

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah, well, like I mentioned, I was a mil, my dad was in the military and you know I grew up as a military dependent the first 13 years of my life. I was very fortunate to live overseas. I'm originally from Missouri, and when I say from Missouri, that's just where we retired when my dad got out. But he's he and my mom are both from here Move back to Missouri in the middle of my eighth grade. Here back in, I'm gonna age myself here, back in 01. And you know, I graduated high school here, from here, went to college here on and off for quite a few years. After graduation I graduate. So this Saturday will be 18 years ago that I graduated. So again, I'm continuing to age myself here. I don't know why I'm doing that Very masochistic, but yes, I went to high school, college here, worked here, I joined the military in 2012. Just to give myself something new, give myself a new perspective, do something with my life really, honestly, get a fresh start. Sir, for five years in California, I did contracts when I was in the military and I did contracting for a little bit. After I got out of the military, moved to Colorado, lived there for a few years, lived in Nashville for a few years doing grants management, got out of contracts and moved into like the cousin of contracts still financial assistance and then I moved back to Missouri last year. My sister's keep having kids, so when I got out, when I got out of the military, I had two nieces and a nephew and now I've got four nephews and two nieces and it was always my dream to. It's weird, like being an uncle. I've always looked forward to the idea of spoiling my sister's kids and then giving them back, which I do and I just did the other day and I'm very proud to continue doing that. But yeah, I'm still doing grants management for a branch of under the USDA and then on the side hosting the podcast and I also write resumes as a side hustle. So got my hands on kind of a little bit of everything.

Nate Scheer:

And sounds like you got a lot of creativity flowing.

Nick Jenkins:

Trying to. Anyways, that's a big part of my mental fitness journey is keeping myself engaged and really exercising the creative side of my brain. That's been a really big thing for me to as part of my mental fitness regiment. I guess if you would say.

Nate Scheer:

That's one thing. I guess it's kind of backtracking, but I did kind of want to mention that you said you had jumped into the podcast, you had done it for a little bit and you know you're feeling a little bit tired and there's a lot going on. It's you're going to step away. But I think that's a super important thing as well. I mean, you can take breaks, you can come back, but the ability to use your brain and exercise that creativity. So if anyone's like worried, like oh, I'm not sure I won't have the time, won't have that try, Like maybe you do it for a year and you never do it again, that's cool, but maybe you come back or maybe you don't. But I think trying new things really does help the brain. You know, stretch Like I'm glad you said something.

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah you were talking about. You can always come back because I'm I've already exceeded what I thought was going to be my time, my timeline, with the podcast. I was like, okay, I started in August, I'll take it to the end of the year. You know, we'll do an end of the year wrap up how is 2022. That'll be a organic way to end it. And I'm like, well, I've still got more to say. I've still got people who want to share their stories. We'll keep it going for two months, get through the winter, give something people to listen to when they're stuck at home. And then we got into spring and, you know, still had some stories to share. And now we're getting into summer and work has ramped up a little bit. And my personal life is, you know, I'm going to the gym a little bit more and taking on some more responsibilities in different areas of my life. And I love doing the podcast but cramming a lot in. And I think one thing for me as far as mental fitness, I've had to really recognize when I'm putting too much on my plate and when maybe I wouldn't say doing too much, but I've just got a lot going on and I'm not able to spread myself as thin as I used to be able to, and I want and the other thing about the podcast is I wanted to continue to be good per se, I mean it's not winning awards or anything like that, but I don't want it to just be me spitting words into the microphone just to put an episode out or something like that. I want to keep it fresh, want to keep it engaging. So sometimes the best way for me to do that, I found, is step away and then come back, whether it's writing an email to a colleague at work, whether it's, you know, trying to put a project together, trying to create the podcast, walk away and then come back, and sometimes you got to walk away for a couple months, but yeah, so I was really glad that you mentioned that.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, I think that brings up another like gold nugget. We're just dropping nugget to good knowledge here. I think another thing is identification right.

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah, still learning that I recognize and I need to step away.

Nate Scheer:

Instead of I'm going to press through, I'm just going to keep doing it or whatever. Knowing how to do it is one thing. Knowing when or identifying that it needs to be done is probably a whole nother thing. If you never identify, you're just going to keep pressing on and burn out. So that's good. Yeah, identification is really good. So I got another question. This comes from senior master sergeant Robert Rivers. He's great and this is totally stolen from him. So if he's listening, sorry I stole it, but it's just too good. So it's a three part question.

Nick Jenkins:

I'm really really really feel shamelessly.

Nate Scheer:

Exactly, it's mine, but it's a three part question and I feel like in one question it kind of gets us to understand where you're coming from and kind of set a baseline foundation for the podcast. So it's one app you're using, one book you recommend and what you're listening to, and I can break those down again, but one app you're using.

Nick Jenkins:

Okay well, I've talked about this one on my podcast as well a few times. I didn't really have a handle on money until I was almost 30 years old. Didn't understand how to. I've heard the words budget, I've heard the words put money away, retirement but I really didn't know how to manage money until I was in my late 30s. A friend of mine from the military is really kind of who taught me how and the app that I really like using my brother and I actually told me about it. It's called Every Dollar. I think it's from the Dave Ramsey collection type of situation, but I put in my income how much money I make for my paycheck a month, what all my expenses are. I throw my resume side, hustle money in there as well, and then everything is literally I'm budgeted to the penny. Everything has a category and then I just go and plug my transactions in. I think you can. You can pay for a version that will automatically float your transactions in for you, but I didn't want to pay for it, so I just go in there manually and do it, but it's really. It's really taught me kind of. Even it's helped me continue to learn how to manage money, like if you budget yourself $250 a month for eating out, which is guilty pleasure of mine. I love to eat out, so but if it's May, what it would? May 18th, and out of that 250, you've got $18 left, like I think I probably do. Like, okay, maybe we need to start cooking, maybe we need to figure something else out. It kind of gives it gives me a 24 seven snapshot of what's going on with my finances. That way I know like, hey, maybe I budgeted $500 for miscellaneous but I only spent 200. Maybe that 300 needs to go in savings or to retirement or or to some to somewhere else. So it's like I said, it's a constant tool that I used to like give me a snapshot of my money and kind of for how to use it better, because I'm definitely behind the curve.

Nate Scheer:

That's definitely super important. One thing that I really liked about his model I mean you can choose whatever model, but the idea of the moving right, because he started with the envelopes but the moving I think is super important. You're like, hey, I can move over some in the eating out, but I gotta, you know, take money from gas or you know whatever it is. But I think, with the biggest challenge we have or maybe I'm just speaking for myself, but just the swiping you use to hand money across.

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah, I don't even know. Yeah, and now you got the tap the taps.

Nate Scheer:

Even worse, I don't even put in a pin, that's just flying out there. Yeah, that's crazy. Well, that's a good one. Yeah, I hope people try to look into using some budgeting apps and whatnot. I think awareness like pays itself off. I know some of the ones are paid like I don't want to pay, but usually if you pay attention for one month, like you know, the free ones are good as well, but usually you'll pay it off and like the first month of just being aware of what's going on the door, oh yeah, absolutely that's good stuff. Next one one book you recommend.

Nick Jenkins:

Okay, this one might be I don't know if controversial is the right word or what I love, like celebrity autobiographies, like on the shelf behind me, as you can see. I'm like, as you can see, we have quite a few of them, and that's not even all of them, but the one that I just finished reading. About a month ago, I read Paris Hilton's book I remember more that she just released and you know since it's. The book is very focused on mental health and mental fitness and the things that she went through as a teenager, being in camps that she was sent to for behavioral purposes, and how she like the abuse that she suffered. It's not been diamonds and champagne, her entire life. Actually, like she's probably one of the most misunderstood people just because of how she's been characterized by the media, and I'm guilty of that too. I used to call her an airhead and used to say she was dumb and I'm the simple life generation. So I'm like, I'm just a little bit of a trimmelennial. But she taught, like this story of her resilience, and like how she has overcome and why she has overcome, and you know what she's gone through and how she's created this, this empire. It's fascinating and obviously it's juicy. It's the story of Paris.

Nate Scheer:

Hilton.

Nick Jenkins:

So but like what she's gone through and how she's risen from that, I mean it's kind of. Some of the parts to read in it were a little terrifying because she was a child going through that and I don't want to give too much of it away or scare anybody, but it's fantastic. It's probably out of all the ones that I've read, like I've got Jessica Simpson, I've got Grinkowski, I've got Prince Harry's book. Of course I've got a lot of stories to share. You know, Rob Lowe, like hers, is probably the best out of all the ones that I've read and, like I said, it really tells the true story of who she is very unflinchingly so.

Nate Scheer:

I think I still can't work from the book. You can learn from anybody, right? Yeah, that's awesome. And then last part is what are you listening to? I guess that could be music, or I guess could be audio bugs.

Nick Jenkins:

Well, right now, the Jonas Brothers just released their new album last week, so and I didn't listen to it on release day, so I was listening to that earlier, but I've been. So my Spotify is like categorization and lists and organizing. That helps. That's also part of my mental fitness. That gives me structure. I think it's a military thing, but that gives me structure, that gives me a sense of calm and things like that. So I have playlists for or not, excuse me. Yeah, playlists for everything. I was in high school from August 2001 to May 2005. Again, I'm continuing to age myself here, but I've been listening to my high school playlist and it's got like the really, really old school stuff on it, like it's got Justin Timberlake when he first went solo Usher who else has got three doors down Maroon 5 when they first came out, and then these folks came out like when I was in high school. So I've been listening to that for the last couple days, so that's awesome. I think I'm feeling nostalgic because Saturday is many years since I graduated high school, so I'm trying to, even though high school was a horrible time. I'm not sure why I'm trying to relive it, but the music got me through, yes. That was the only time back to mental fitness and some aspect, absolutely.

Nate Scheer:

It's funny. I was watching Was I watching or did I read an article? But they were saying like one of the number one ways to feel at peace is playing with your interests. The human mind wants things to be organized and cleared out. So make me think of you making the playlist. Like just clearing blocks out brings a level of peace to people like you. Don't play video game, just the organization of things getting cleaned up. It's interesting, sure, sure, okay. I want to move over to the meat of mental fitness. So first question for you what is your go-to self-care activity when you need to boost your mental fitness?

Nick Jenkins:

Lately, probably the last, excuse me, in the last like three months or so, it's been the gym. So I will say my go-to will always be music. Music will always be like what calms me down, what picks me up when I'm sad, what helps me become less angry if I'm really frustrated or if I'm really mad about something. But some music will always be like a safety blanket a security blanket for me. But lately the gym is where. The gym. Going to the gym, I've been going a lot. I go about five, six times a week and that's something I never thought I would ever do. When I got out of the military I hated the gym and honestly, I've never really liked the gym. But I found a community there. I've made friends there where it's kind of like a family there. I'm also going and this is something I learned recently. I'm finally going to the gym and exercising for myself, not obviously to meet the physical standards of the military, which I never had a problem with, or anything like that. So you know, I definitely wanted to be in shape and things like that, but it was something that you, that I had to do because you have to pass your annual fitness assessment or when I got out of the military I didn't want to go, but I was like, well, I don't want to. I've always been really self-conscious about my weight, so I don't want to get out of the military and gain a whole bunch of weight my first year and things like that, which I understand that happens, but it and then. I didn't want people to think I was lazy or anything like that, so I always felt like I was doing it for any other reason but for myself, just to go, find a place to go be active and stay fit. And now that I've changed my mindset on that, I really love going. I look forward to going and I never really looked forward to it before. So and you know, just the encouragement that I get, doing some exercises that I never thought I would ever be able to do again, building some muscle back up, it's been. It's been great for, you know, boosting my confidence as well and proving to myself that I can do something I never thought I would ever be able to do, like certain exercises are lifting a certain weight or anything like that. So the gym has definitely been what I really been relying on the last couple of months, but again, I'm having a lot of fun with it too, and I'm really enjoying it.

Nate Scheer:

Dang, that's awesome. Yeah, that's a really good point. I've never really thought of it that way. I mean we go to check the box and I feel like we do that a lot in the military. There's things they make us do, and so you check it and you move on, but doing it for you, that's that's good stuff.

Nick Jenkins:

Well, that's. It's not a bad thing to check the box. I'm checking the box with a lot of things and probably still and probably will for years. But for me, anytime I, anytime I get to do something because I want to and not because someone else is making me do it, that's the rubble in me, but it's yeah, doing it for myself has been a big change on it. That makes sense.

Nate Scheer:

Do it for yourself For sure. So I heard you got a question for me.

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah, okay, I love any of the whole, like I love favorites. I love, like, if you could switch with any like lives or something or things like that. I love that because I always want to see, I know, what I would want to say to those. So I'm always interested in what other people would say. So I want to know, like, if you could switch brains with anyone for a day to learn their mental, their mental fitness routine, who are you thinking you want to switch, switch minds with?

Nate Scheer:

Who would I switch minds with? I think it would have to be Dwayne the Rock Johnson. Nice, great choice. I follow him on Instagram and I've seen some of his stuff and I feel like I'm a confident person. But I still worry about what people think and what they're going to say, and so I have a lot of inner confidence problems, even though, like outwardly everything looks fine and people don't really see that. But his ability to you know, push through things, be a beast, appear to he could have internal you know things going on as well, but it appears like he does not really care what other people think. He doesn't try for him. He does it's rights for his family. He's made good choices with you know the industry, moving into movies and making successful stuff there and not, you know, just relying on wrestling. So I would love to know kind of what goes through his mind. I'm assuming he's got a 24 seven mantra of I'm a beast. I don't know if that's true, but I think that's why I'd like to jump in that brain and just see like it must be empowering. I would think like he's passed. I'm sure he had moments of you know, worrying about things, but I think at this point. He is just like I am the best. I'm not not unlike that arrogant type way I don't want to sound like that but like he is confident in everything that he's going to do. So I really like to hear what he's got going on inside that brain.

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah, great choice. Who wouldn't want to change, change brains with the change places, with the rock one day? Yeah, he's, he's, yeah, he's awesome.

Nate Scheer:

He's a beast, he's funny and can seem to do it all. Yeah, that's the thing.

Nick Jenkins:

He can. He's got his hands in a little bit of everything, so I mean Triple threat. Yeah, absolutely.

Nate Scheer:

Oh boy. Next question for you what's your favorite song or type of music to help boost your mental health?

Nick Jenkins:

Like I said earlier, I was listening to I've been listening to the high school lately, but I'm obsessed with the 90s, all things 90s TV shows, movies, but especially the music. I'm a boy band guy at heart because living overseas, like you get pop music almost exclusively, living on bass and things like that you get a little bit of alternative. You might get a little bit of rap and you might get a little bit of country, but a majority of what they play Pop bands are very popular in like Europe and Asia, which is where I grew up. So I have a 90s playlist that I listen to all the time and I listen to that on my way to the gym, after the gym If I'm having like a bad day at work or something like that. Find the backstreet boys, find the spice girls. Find, find in sync. Find, find. Find puff daddy music when he was puff daddy or whatever his name is. Yeah, whatever he's going by these days, or notorious BIG. I've been listening to mo money mo problems a lot lately too, so don't know what, don't know why, but I love those songs. So I'm all about the 90s.

Nate Scheer:

It feels like I mean, I know everyone I think probably does it from generation to generation but I just feel like music has not been good in like 20 years. I don't like the bands and the things that you're mentioning. Like you pop those on and it doesn't really matter if you're like 12 or like 40 people, like oh yeah. I can listen to this like they're okay with it, like they might not love it I might not, you know, know every word or whatever, like OK, but now you have like just mumble rap and some of these other ones and like I don't know about, anyway, I don't want to. I don't want to diss anyone's current music choice, but, geez, it just feels like it hasn't been good in a while.

Nick Jenkins:

Well, I was talking to someone at the gym about that the other day and they say it seems it's not that it's bad music these days, it just seems less organic, endless it's. It's more about the technology that which I mean is great, I mean it's awesome what they're able to do, but it's less about the voices, less about the instruments, less about the All the different organic puzzle pieces coming together to make a really good song. The passion, yeah.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, absolutely People. I think now it's like easier with you know the computer is an AI and whatnot, and so I wonder if, since it's easier, you don't have to pour your, your heart or your feelings and that's what people are listening for. They're listening for the feelings, like you'd mention, your, you know, listening to metal or whatever when you're raging and going crazy and then whatever, like we find the things that match what we need at that time. So that's interesting.

Nick Jenkins:

Sure, yeah. My next question that I've got for you is what's the weirdest or the most unconventional thing? You've tried to improve your mental fitness and Did it work?

Nate Scheer:

Um, this is probably gonna be kind of boring for me, being a weird person and me and most people considering me weird, but I think the thing that caught me off guard the most is being in nature. So it wasn't until I was in Guam I really realized like a walk in nature, scuba diving, these things that I do, like I used to joke a little bit because I was a lifeguard and swimmer in high school. I used to joke like, oh, I can't go too long without being in the water, like I'm a fish and but that's like super true. And it wasn't until like I saw more Greenery and more really like precious views and things like that. That is super rejuvenating. And I think it just caught me off guard because I don't really consider myself like a hippie or crunchy or you know Like I grew up in the city, you know I spent some time in Northern California, so there's some like some farms and whatnot. Yeah, I consider myself pretty city and so I would think that would fall into like the unconventional is I really need to to be in nature, hear the sound, see the views play in the water. There's really nothing. I love music, like like you, and that really connects. But the thing that Would pull me the farthest out or will rejuvenate or recharge me the most is is a really nature. So that's what I would say nature being in nature. Do you find that you?

Nick Jenkins:

said something about, you know, being into swimming and like I'm a fish and things like that. Do you find like nature and being in the water and all that? Because isn't it a little like cleansing almost? Yeah, yeah, yeah, it really feels.

Nate Scheer:

I mean, we use like the reference of like a, you know, recharging your battery and recharging your phone, but I, I mean, it really feels like that, like a clean and better and you know, just different than when you went into the water. So so many different principles. Recharge clean yeah, absolutely.

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah, some very like holistic about that and Not holistic was not the right word symbolic about cleansing. Cleansing all the bad energy, negativeness, negative negativity. Like you talked to me, just do the water, so yeah, but I think that goes back to probably, like you know, caveman.

Nate Scheer:

We're from the earth. You know there's probably so many things that go into that we're eating from the earth and so, yeah, I think that's definitely an important thing to bring you full circle. Yeah, next question is can you give me an example of a common misconception or misunderstanding about mental fitness and kind of explain that your your truth?

Nick Jenkins:

Yeah, well, I mean kind of what I said at the very beginning was you know, being at my first base and everything like that you know you'd have people come and talk to you and be like you know we have mental resource, mental health resources for you. You can come talk to somebody. It can be anonymous. You can take advantage of this format. You can take advantage of this format. You know we have this and we want you to take advantage of it. But again, even with people saying like, here it is on a plate, come get it used, I still I remember back then in 2013, I'm like, well, if I go, and some, if I go, take advantage of this because it sounds like something I would really benefit from. But if someone finds out or someone sees me or whatever, they're gonna think I'm crazy. And then, like you mentioned earlier, you know, you know, you know, you know, you know, you know, you know, you know, you know, you know, you know, like you mentioned earlier, I about being worried about what people think of you. That's something I've really learned how to shed and get away from in the last couple years, but that was a really hard lesson for me to learn and I'm still learning that lesson today. Still got some work to do on that. But A common misconception about mental fitness and seeking therapy or seeking help or getting access to resources is only crazy people get them. I think people who just need an extra, an extra outlet, they need, they need something more. Like you know, a lot of people are very self-sufficient and you know, or they have a close inner circle family, friends but I've noticed with me the reason I want, a big reason why I wanted to seek outside mental help Was because I wanted someone who might not agree with me, someone who's gonna be maybe I wouldn't say not in my corner, but doesn't know me, isn't gonna maybe agree with everything I say. Yeah isn't gonna be worried about hurting my feelings, and those are the kinds of things that you can get if you seek mental health or mental resources. And once I Once I started on my own journey with that I realized like no, I'm actually not Crazy, and I want to be careful saying that because I don't want to be disrespectful to anybody who, whatever challenges they might be going through, whatever struggles they have, but Seeking those things doesn't mean that you're certifiable or that you have problems. It just means that you need a little bit extra so you know something, something more to give you a new perspective or a different lens to look through. And again, didn't learn that until I was on my own journey, but that's just that's kind of that's what I want people to realize. It's not you don't have a another problem just because you're seeking resources or seeking help.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, and that's really why in the artwork for the, the show and the title, because it was initially going to be shirrious conversations, which was, oddly, really close to the name of yours, but I really didn't want it to be about me, that was one thing. And then I really wanted to hone in on what was important and so I really liked mind matters, because it's taking care of your mind, and so in the artwork you know there's a brain and there's a heart inside of the, the brain, and I think that's the important part. You're supposed to take care of your whole body and so I know we had talked about this, I think, before we jumped on. But it's really interesting to me that we know you're supposed to work out your heart at the gym and do cardio, and you're supposed to lift weights to stretch out your muscles, and but then for some reason, we get to the brain like, oh, can't do that, let's not talk about that, which is Really bizarre. It's not another problem. Like you said, you're just maintaining the thing that you're supposed to. You maintain all the other aspects, your body, so like 95% of it get taken care of, like no, no, not that the giant thing in your, in your skull. It's that controls only everything.

Nick Jenkins:

The most important part, yeah, so we will keep having conversations on the show and hopefully we can get over this.

Nate Scheer:

But it's definitely interesting, like being here at SOS. It's been interesting because I'm really happy for the future Of like the Air Force and just kind of the generation as a whole, because Our age group seems to understand is working through these things, even though we've had like guest speakers that are older Definitely can't mention any names, but some of them have, you know, said negative things about pill popping and about like Inclusive male facial standards or grooming standards, which I have struggled with for a long time, and so I got my waiver about a week before I came to class and I was actually thinking about just, you know, going against that, my medical, my medical waiver, which isn't the right thing just to appease people and fit in. But the group that's at this age group is really Understanding, supporting, they understand. So I'm really excited for the future. I think once we get through you know a little bit more of the older people and their thoughts and things, things are gonna be a lot better here coming up soon. So I'm excited. Yeah, I get that totally. Last question I've got for you, nate is.

Nick Jenkins:

I'm big into favorites and anytime anyone wants to talk about like favorite song, favorite album, favorite band, like, I'm always down for it. So what is your favorite song to listen to or music genre? Whenever you need a mental health boost or mental fitness boost oh, it's a loaded question because it's like okay, favorite, like we've got this genre, we've got. Okay, can I do a top three? Can I do a top five? Like I had to pick a bar for you? Yeah, this one's tough because I really think it depends on the mood.

Nate Scheer:

That you're trying to counteract? Are you trying to come from a down or a low? Are you trying to pull yourself down from a high? So there's so many different things, but I I I've noticed I don't know if there's actually science behind this. I feel like I see these things on tiktok and Now people can throw things out on the internet and you never know if they're backed by science or anything. But it's interesting because once you hear it I feel like you start to agree with it, whether it's true or not. But I Definitely heard the other day that, like for certain brains, high beats per minute is better and ever since I heard that I feel like I do feel better, like if I am in a rut of some kind, for like EDM mixes of like popular songs mixed up, kind of sped up, so it doesn't quite answer like a direct song, but I feel like that's what's been helping me lately a lot of different things Going on and kind of that faster beat. But I also love like acoustic Slow music depending on what's going on. But I think overall the boost would be like higher EDM and I think I'm apparently the brain that likes the fastest.

Nick Jenkins:

I like the, the EDM and the fast stuff too. Some of it and some of it I'm just like huh, but a lot, like a lot of gyms and things like that. That. I think that's why they use those to like Get the energy up, kind of I'm gonna say it's wrong, like at the end, orphan's up, get, like get, get the serotonin flowing through your, your brain and everything. I get the blood flowing, I guess.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, I think so there's a guy in my class. He recommended this mix on Spotify and I've been just listening to it for like five weeks straight. But it's mixes. These two guys come together and mix a bunch of top 40 songs or just popular songs, and so it's kind of awesome because it's like your favorite 20 to 30 seconds of these songs that everyone knows and then it's all spliced together. So it's weird. It's actually listed under the podcast section, which is odd because it's definitely music, but it's one hour blocks of just these mashes of and you just get to basically like roll a dex Through you know a hundred of your favorite songs. I'm like this is awesome, this is awesome, this is awesome. It's just an hour of a lot of fun. So I've been really enjoying those and they're you know it's sped up and seem to my brain later. Oh yeah, I'll definitely send you the link. It's great, yeah, awesome. So move over, try to hit some more mental fitness questions. Yeah, I Think I'll kind of package two together. Yeah, so did you have conversations about mental health growing up? No not at all.

Nick Jenkins:

So I mean, I every school that I went to, with the exception of my high school, because my high school was very, very small and a lot of people were wearing dual hats there. But we, you know, you always have counselors in school and things like that. But I will say that the the idea of a counselor, especially when I was in junior, high and high school, was like that's who the bad kids go to talk to, that's the kids who get in trouble in class all the time or or who are really just like angry. I guess that's who they go talk to. That's not for If you are just having a bad day and you want to go talk to someone, if that's, if that's the issue, go talk to one of your friends, go talk to one of your parents, go talk to a teacher or things like that. So as far as like what we've talked about with, like Resources and finding just someone else to like share your thoughts with, get it out of your head with, and that that does not exist At all at least not that I can recall, but pretty confident saying was never a conversation. The only time it really was was my parents divorced when I was just about to turn 20, and I remember having a conversation with my dad like well, the company I was working for, they have like an employee health line that you can call anonymously. And I'm like, well, maybe I'll call them. This is really stressful right now and all that, but Outside of that, no conversations about it. The only time the first time that I really had a conversation about mental health was or any like Inklings dipping the toes in the water with that subject was when I was in the military, when I was 25, and you have people coming to you saying, here's these resources on a platter. Take advantage of them if you want to. That was the first time I'd really had any conversations about it.

Nate Scheer:

That's wild, yeah, so I've asked this question I think three or four times now and haven't got a yes quite yet, which is kind of unfortunate. But I think that goes back to, like I said, I think we're in the year group that's gonna make this happen and make this change. So the Extension of that question is you love being an uncle and you're gonna start to influence kids. So what could you do or what would you see as like the ideal of starting to have these conversations so that people can Feel comfortable as they're growing? Obviously they're little, but as they get to teenagers and whatnot, what do you, how do you see yourself playing into that?

Nick Jenkins:

Well, I mean, I would never want to like overrule any of like anything that my sisters are, my brother-in-law is like obviously, like how, what is their approach to it as well? Because you, I personally, wouldn't want to overstep or cause like a I don't know if wedge is the right word, but I don't want my, my nieces or nephews to think that you know, their parents aren't a resource for them as well, like Obviously, because they're gonna be more direct. They're in the same house with them and you know things like that. I live 45 minutes away from both of my sisters the two that live here in Missouri in each direction, and then I have another one who lives in Mississippi. So I'm always not going to, I'm not going to always be able to be there directly. So, just reminding them that, like, if you have, like if there's something you want to talk about, you know your parents are probably your first resource and I will always be here for you. But take advantage of everything that might be right at your fingertips and you know I'm always gonna be here too. But you don't have to wait if you will, and you know, lean on, lean on the family that you have immediately, because sometimes, like if you're in the moment and you're in your head and things like that, you just got to talk to somebody, you want to talk to somebody, right then, or you want to get something out, right then. If you hold off with it, then you kind of forget the core of what you wanted to talk about and then you forget it's an issue and then it lingers and you just never get that. That was, that's speaking from my own experience, and so I just I don't want any of any. Anybody my niece is, my nephew's, my sister's, my friend's anybody to go to, to go through kind of what I did when I was in high school, where I just didn't talk about it at all or didn't Like, obviously we didn't have the conversations growing up, but maybe if I had gone to my parents or gone to one of my sisters it's actually a conversation that we had, I had with one of my sisters a couple years ago. It was like if I took advantage of those things that were in my household directly there, maybe that would have probably might not have solved everything, but it might have made things a little bit easier to digest and a little easier to get from Wednesday to Thursday to Friday to Saturday and just Go on the days. So, if you're feeling it, find a way to talk about it as as quickly as you can. So and In creating a safe space for them as well, for the kids, just that you know I'm, I'm their uncle and you can always come to me. Obviously, they're little right now, but as they get older and as this, as the world continues to get more, it's more crazy. Yeah, I'm a crazy, just making sure that it's that they know that it's there and so.

Nate Scheer:

So let me rephrase it just out of curiosity. So hypothetically, what would you have wanted to see? Action, word building, a In environment of trust? Or how do you think you would have been able to, you know, had a more successful Up bringing, not that it's not successful, but if you could like play it back, how would you re kind of reframe your, your family environment?

Nick Jenkins:

Well, I think for me and this is something I thought a lot about too was I've always been worried about Judgment or what people are gonna think, or assumptions that people are gonna draw, and I've been pretty transparent about that on my own podcast, like people have been saying things To me or about me since I was nine years old not gonna stop anytime soon. So I think and I'm not saying that my, I Don't want to like put my parents down or anything like that or say that they didn't do this, but I Don't know if the lines were always clear that it's a A Judgment-free zone, and I don't think that's of any error of their part. It was just we're talking about nearly like almost 20, 25 years ago. So things were different back to her back then and I don't know that Like something that I could have gone to them with all the things that I was stressing about, like not having friends at school, feeling like I don't belong, feeling like I don't fit in, those were, those were the things that were really, really bothering me. When I was a kid, like I said, moved to back to the States. Brand new environment in the middle of a three-year Teenagers are already Confusing and already difficult enough. I was scrawny and I had these awful glasses, I had bad hair, I had clothes that didn't fit and I was just like, well, I'm already going in under an underdog here, but I and I think I would have just been told to Get over it or find a way around it or Toughen up type of situation, which I'm very careful that I don't say that to any of Any of the kids or anything like that, because I was doing the best that I could and again going back to Maybe a judgment-free zone. If I, if I had known that that was gonna be available. And again, no, no fault of anybody, but I don't feel like that's how it was, and if I had had that, maybe I would have spoke up a little bit more and not just like Great, great teeth and bear at a situation.

Nate Scheer:

So yeah, and absolutely not brought up to just diminish anyone or anything like that. The whole point behind that question is like, how do we do it better? So people that have kids, that you know, whatever, like how would you? And so I think that's a good point and trying to make sure that everyone's on the same page, or being able to express themselves, and I think we're doing a better job. I'm sure it'll still take some time, but I think we are doing better. The. You know, be a man about it, toughen up, pull yourself up by your boot strings you know those like huge, long list of cliche things to like. You know, just push through and don't worry about. I think we're getting better, but I think you're right. The the core of the whole thing is being able to express yourself. So, yeah, if anyone is listening and is wondering, we could definitely chat more about it, but I think that probably is the core. You're not gonna have a silver bowl. It's gonna fix everything. Oh, yeah, a level or trust I think is really important. Yeah, absolutely. Got another question for you. What's one lesson you think everyone Should learn in their life?

Nick Jenkins:

So it's one that I'm still learning myself, but I think the most important thing is being yourself. It's hard to do and it's scary to do, for sure, but embracing. I've always felt kind of until recently held back, just like by what people are going to say about the kind of music that I listen to, the clothes that I wear, how I wear my hair and just my personality, the things that I like, the things that make me Nicholas and the things that make me unique, the things that make me different than the person sitting next to me. And really what I've kind of learned is all of that, all that shenanigans and all those little pieces. That's what makes people feel comfortable to maybe talk to me, share secrets with me, ask me for advice or, you know, ask me for help or just kind of talk to me in general.

Nate Scheer:

And not that I'm trying to talk to me.

Nick Jenkins:

But again, it's a lesson. I'm still learning and I'm still very self-conscious about many things, but embracing who I am and what I feel, I put out to the world and the example that I set for the kids, especially now that there's a lot of them but being yourself and being authentic. And again, it's a lesson, and there's a teenage, there's a adolescent version of it, a teenage version of it, a college version, a 20s, late 20s, 30s. So you continue to learn that lesson as you get older, but always being yourself, because that's really where your bread and butter is going to be.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, it's definitely tough and I think anytime you go through any changes. I remember when I went from E to O, I'm the you know, jokey fun, whatever crazy guy, and so I remember when I crossed I had this thought I had to be like hardcore and follow every rule and, you know, not smile and just be goofy not goofy, actually the lack of goofy. So I just had this weird thought for like the first year and then, you know, slowly the real Nate comes back and so it's something I think that's a good reminder. You said like learning. I think that's a good thing to just check in from time to time. Just make sure that you are. It's easier said than done. It's, you know, I'm sure it's on bumper stickers and sure it's like, but it's like it's harder than it's marketing tool. Oh, that's, that's a good one. I like that. So, yeah, everyone, try to be yourself and, I think, check in every once in a while and just make sure that's holding true. Last question I got for you. I want to make sure we're wrapping this up with some mental fitness, so can you share any tips or strategies that listeners could take home today and start implementing in their lives?

Nick Jenkins:

Well, I think for me, like I said, the big part of my mental fitness journey was just getting it out of my head. It's when it all lives up here. It just compounds and compounds and compounds and then it just gets so big like you explode, or it just it all spills out and then you just really don't know what to do with it. So download it out of your head in some way, get right it on a piece of paper, write it on a Word document. My, my notes up on my phone is full of stuff. It's full of lists, full of ideas, full of thoughts, full of observations, just to get it out of my head and not to lose it, to always have something to come back to. Like you said, like we said earlier, you can, you can get it out and then you can come back and then you can revisit and all those different things. And then, once it's out of your head, you can kind of like okay, I want to take action on that. Maybe I want to talk to this friend about this. Maybe I want to call the, the, the hot, the employee assistance hotline, to talk about my parents, divorce or something like that. Maybe I want to talk to my, my primary care physician about, okay, I like to maybe see a professional counselor as part of my health routine and, yeah, just getting it out and, you know, figure, mapping out your journey and mapping out your steps on your own time as well. There's no, I mean, it's not a race by any means and it's definitely not a sprint. It's a marathon, a very, very long and hard one. But so, and also finding for me the last couple years, a big part of my mental fitness is being kinetic. I was doing New York Times Crossword puzzles at one point. I was, you know, I got some adult coloring books. I still haven't colored in very many of them, but it's just to to do something with my hands to keep. To keep sitting there stewing over things I'm a really bad stew, or if that's a good word. So anything just to get get the get the thoughts out of my head and into into another format, or to keep myself moving to where I don't overthink things and just blow them up bigger than they need to be. So that's what I, that's what I would recommend to folks.

Nate Scheer:

Absolutely. That's some good stuff. I want to try to summarize a few things we talked about today. So a few of the things to highlight Mental fitness is a spectrum we talked about just having an ability to vent and have a small conversation up to needing, you know, more clinical. You know mental health professional type care we talked about really trying to take care of your brain is another part of your body. So you're checking in and you're having that therapy, you're having someone to talk to and it's reoccurring. You go on the good days and you know you go on the bad days. You go, you know, reoccurringly, the same way you go to the gym. So those are kind of some of the things we talked about. I'd really like to encourage the listeners to share their thoughts or any questions or anything on social media or send me an email. I can get over to Nicholas if he needs it. And then I want to wrap up, give you one final takeaway for the listeners out there. Sure.

Nick Jenkins:

One final one, final piece there Like I said, being yourself, embracing, embracing your authenticity and give, give things a try, try it. Like I said, if you want it, if you want to write a book, get get a few pages written. If you want to do a podcast, write it out, record yourself, see how it goes. If you want to get into the gym, take a walk around the neighborhood, do some pushups, like whatever you want to do with your, with your life, with your free time or as part of your mental, mental fitness journey. You know, it's never too late to to be the person who you want to be, or be the person who you thought you could be, or try something that you've always wanted to. Like I said I doing the podcast and writing and things like that didn't start doing I've wanted to be. I wanted to be an author when I was kid, or I wanted to be someone who created sort of created a format for story sharing or shared stories, wanted to do that when I was a kid. People told me I wouldn't make money with it, so then I was like, okay, I guess I'll be an accountant which I'm still not an accountant either, but creating content, I guess, or writing things out and writing stories, sharing stories. It's always been something I've I've wanted to do, and here I am, mid 30s, doing it. It's I mean, it's not a moneymaker or anything like. That's not, it's not supposed to be. It's just something for myself to get the creative creativity out of my head and, you know, get my hands dirty with it a little bit and if you don't like it, find something else. So yeah, so be yourself and give things a try. So don't, don't, don't hold, don't. Stand in your own way, don't, let don't be the reason that you're not putting yourself over the starting line.

Nate Scheer:

Good stuff. Well, thanks, nick, for coming on the show. Thank you for having me. I think the last part I just want to touch on is I didn't touch on it already, but mental fitness shouldn't be cookie cutter, right, like I think that's really what you were trying to get at. You know, I talked about being in nature, we talked about songs, we talked about a long list of different things going to the gym, coloring books so I think that's another issue we probably have. We probably need to work on over the next you know however many years, but it's not trying to. Oh, this one thing works for everybody. It kind of is whatever it is for each person. And I want to wrap up here Just say, as always, if you need help, make sure you're getting help from military one source, chaplains, wingman, mental health professionals and in the United States, you can call or text the National Suicide Hotline at 988 at any time. It can also reach out to me. You could probably find Nick to. We're always down to chat. So please make sure you get some help and have a good day, see you.

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