Don’t worry- I’m not going to try and talk you into throwing your entire vegetable drawer into a blender and drinking it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, I am here to talk to you about the importance of taking care of your body and your mind while tackling your day to day workload (this is for the sake of you and your fellow employees)!
Jaime Marie here again. I’m super excited to give all the who’s what’s when’s where’s and why’s about these game changers: eating your veggies, drinking lots of H2O and moving those muscles.
Breakin’ a Sweat
Yeah, yeah, “there are two types of people”: the ones who crave the five AM runs and the others who suffer through their 25 minutes on the elliptical after work. Oh, hold on…there’s a third type too- the people who just don’t exercise. If that’s you, have you considered all the benefits that exercising would have on your career?
Exercise is anything that increases the heart rate and brings on a sweat. Business News Daily did a study that provided all kinds of evidence that exercising helps for a more successful work experience.
“According to new research, workers who participated in some form of physical activity experienced significantly lower instances of depression and burnout at work.”
The best results came from workers who exercised for four hours a week- they were half as likely to experience mental health deteriorations, such as depression and burnout.
Many of us think about getting in shape because we want that summer-ready “beach bod”. However, there are so many other benefits to getting fit and staying healthy that can actually improve your efficiency and productivity in your workplace:
- Improved concentration
- Sharper memory
- Faster learning
- Prolonged mental stamina
- Enhanced creativity
- Lower stress
Instead of considering exercise optional, consider it to be part of your job. It shouldn’t be something you do if there’s time left over, it should be something you have to make time for. Here are a few tips on making a daily workout a personal priority:
- Pick an activity you like
Something you’ll look forward to
How we feel about exercising can influence how much we benefit from it
- Invest in improving your performance
Instead of “getting some exercise”, try mastering an activity or specific skill
- Become part of a group
You’re more likely to stick with an exercise regimen when others are dependent on your participation
It’s more fun to suffer through it with friends: old or new!
Fuel Your Bod
Whenever your gas tank drops below a quarter of a tank, you’re on alert for a gas station. It doesn’t matter what kind, there aren’t different flavors and your car doesn’t have a preference. You feed your gas tank, and it’s happy. FOOD IS DIFFERENT!
The Harvard Business Review did a study on how the food we put in our stomachs affect our performance in the workplace. They concluded that the more fruits and veggies people consumed, the happier, more engaged, and more creative they tended to be.
“Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.”
Pretty much everything we eat turns into glucose, which gives our brains energy. Why can’t we just live off of chocolate bars and cheeseburgers, you may ask? Here’s the trick: not all foods process at the same rate. Carbohydrates process fast, so you get the energy from them very quickly. However, the same way the energy came, it goes away in a speedy fashion as well. Fatty foods such as chips and hotdogs provide more sustained energy, however they require your digestive system to work harder, which in turn can make you drowsy.
It’s true, unhealthy lunches and snack options are faster and cheaper. That’s hard to turn down, but if you do, the results will be worth it. Here’s a few ways to stay on top of eating right:
- Make your eating decisions before you’re hungry
- Instead of letting your glucose hit rock bottom at lunch time, have sustaining snacks throughout the morning – cheese sticks, yogurt, apple or carrots
- Make healthy snacking easier to access than junk food
Stop right now and think about how many hours of sleep you got last night.
Yeah. That’s what I thought. – NOT ENOUGH.
The Chicago Tribune conducted a detailed study involving employers and the importance of adequate sleep for their employees across America. It was found that more than half of business leaders in the country would like to see their companies transition to sleep pods and nap rooms within the next year. These were several of the data points discovered in the study:
- 43% of employees say they don’t get enough sleep at least four nights a week
- Almost ½ said their companies expect them to be too responsive to emails and calls
- 66% said they were dissatisfied with how much sleep they get
- 36% said their companies don’t allow them to make sleep a priority
Lack of sleep inhibits creativity, learning, problem solving, and a person’s ability to trust others. The results from the study led to a recommendation through several business management associations that companies launch sleep training programs and give courses on sleep management. This should be given the same amount of attention as time management and health and wellness issues.
“Research has shown that a short nap of ten to thirty minutes improves alertness and performance for up to two and a half hours.”
While the amount of sleep a person needs varies, the target is between seven and eight hours. Getting too little sleep can lead to the following consequences:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
If you’re someone who unfortunately suffers from too-little sleep, there are a few ways to help yourself jump back on track. It’s recommended that you put yourself on a schedule with a regular bedtime and somewhat regular wake-up time. Also, avoiding heavy or large meals within a few hours before bed can help you go to sleep easier, as well as create a restful environment for you to sleep in. Incorporating physical activities into your afternoon, managing stress levels, and keeping daytime naps under 45 minutes are also ways to improve your nighttime sleep experience.
What Time? YOU Time!
All of us have our own home-grown version of job-related stress. Chronic stress takes its toll on our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and avoid injury. All pretty yucky stuff.
SOOO wait a second… if work causes me stress… what do I do?
Vacations have potential to break the stress cycle. You emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again, that ultimate superman feeling. Sounds awesome, right guys? Twice a year, take a week off of work to hang with your family? Apparently not everyone sees it that way.
Less than 40% of United States workers who receive paid time off did not take all of their allotted time last year according to Oxford Economics. American’s left an average of 3.2 paid time off days unused in 2013, totaling 429 million unused days for US workers. Taking time off has excellent benefits for employees, such as:
- Higher productivity
- Stronger workplace morale
- Greater employee retention
- Significant health benefits
Why don’t people use their leave?
- 34% of employees surveyed indicated that their employer neither encouraged nor discouraged leave.
- 17% of managers considered employees who take all of their leave to be less dedicated
- Four out of ten US workers said their employer supported time off, but their heavy workload kept them from using their earned days
Vacations help you relax, get away from work, and have awesome family benefits. Perdue University concluded that family vacations contribute positively to family bonding, communication, and solidarity.
In addition, taking time off work is good for your health! GoGirl magazine notes that men who don’t take vacations from work are more likely to suffer from heart disease, whereas women who don’t take time off are more likely to suffer from depression.
If all of those other reasons STILL weren’t convincing enough for you to take a break from work, here’s the ultimate motivator- time off work can stimulate creativity. That may not sound too exciting just yet, but what about when I tell you that Kevin Systrom came up with the idea for Instagram while on vacation in Mexico? Or that Drew Houston thought of Dropbox while traveling Europe? Even Bill Gates is known for his famous “think weeks”, where he takes time off to relax and drop his worries. If they can take breaks, why can’t you? Believe it or not, vacations are crucial to your mental health and sanity while juggling a social/ home life with a career.
Careers are hard to juggle amongst the business of everyday life. It’s probably near impossible to picture yourself squeezing all these extra things into your head- exercise daily, watch what you’re eating, going to bed around the same time each night. My older brother always gave me this tip- when you’re overwhelmed, think and focus on your goals. Then the road to get there is all for a good purpose. Last night I had a glorious night’s sleep, and woke up to make my uncle a healthy breakfast and enjoy the beautiful August breeze. I’m off to relax and enjoy some “me time”…you should too 🙂
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