How your Body Affects your Bottom Line
By Dr. Sarah Wild
We all know that we are supposed take care of our health, but where exactly are you supposed to fit in the ever elusive “time for yourself?” As an entrepreneur, the details of growing a business can consume your mind and your time. But do you realize that the function of your body directly translates into dollars and cents, and that you could make a huge jump in the growth of your business by actually taking some time away from it?
You are what you eat…even at work!
Eating well consistently can be difficult as meals often become an afterthought in our busy lives. However, it is important to think about your nutrition habits as the fuel your brain and body will be using to complete your daily business tasks. Poor diet habits can increase fatigue and irritability; and decrease mental effectiveness; your ability to think clearly; and perform your job effectively. They are also linked with higher levels of stress and depression.
By changing your choices, you can significantly improve your concentration, alertness, problem-solving skills, and productivity. A study found that people who make healthy nutrition choices all day long were 25% more likely to have higher job performance, while those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week were 20 % more likely to be productive.
- Eat a healthy breakfast: Start your day with fruits, vegetables and protein to boost your energy level.
- Don’t skip meals: Your brain needs a consistent level of energy to continue producing quality results.
- Pack your lunch: Be prepared and don’t be tempted by high-sugar, pre-packaged, processed “food.”
Your body was built to move…so move it well and move it regularly
Research is showing that physical inactivity is currently considered a pandemic. Sitting has become the “new smoking” and actually leads to a premature death. Sitting for prolonged periods raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and other diseases. Sitting in your typical slouched posture can affect your breathing and blood flow to the brain.
Sixty to seventy-five minutes of medium to intense activity daily, like brisk walking or cycling, seems to offset the association; and even half of the recommended time is showing significant reductions in the risks to your health. Simply taking five minute breaks every hour has been shown to significantly lower your waist circumference.
- Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes: stand up and move around.
- Make your regular activities more active: walk/bike to and from work; stretch during TV time; walk the rink during the kids’ hockey practice.
Invest in your business by finding ways to be mobile during your work day. People who exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, are 15% more likely to have higher job performance.
I challenge you to write down the time you spend sitting this week — at your desk, in the car, at the dinner table, watching TV, etc. Calculate how much awake time you actually spend standing and moving. The results can be scary!
Find a good chiropractor. There is no other professional better at helping you protect your spine and offset the degenerative effect on your joints from sitting. As well as being the leading experts in treating back pain, neck pain, and headaches, chiropractors are trained to treat all of the nerves and joints in the body, which often cause problems from prolonged sitting.
Be mindful of your mental health
Did you realize that anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications are currently the most prescribed pharmaceuticals? Mental health concerns related to job stress is on the rise, and as women, we are twice as likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder. Our brains are constantly multi-tasking, jumping from work to home to family, and we are more emotionally invested in all of our daily tasks compared to men. (Take a moment to watch it this, it’s funny! Men’s vs Women’s Brains https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XjUFYxSxDk).
While some stress can challenge our brains to a level of optimal arousal and performance, unproductive stress impairs your performance because of strong anxiety. The “crisis mentality” which perpetuates most workplaces has become toxic to attention and quality of work, which your customers will observe and your business will suffer.
- Spend 10 minutes of quiet, restful, reflective time each day: learning to manage the constant barrage of thoughts can be calming and empowering. Try the free app, Headspace which takes you through 10 minutes of guided meditation/quiet time each day. You CAN find 10 minutes!
Learn to breathe
Yes, you all know how to respirate, but do you know how to breathe effectively? Sedentary postures and chronic high levels of stress result in the “fight or flight” part of your nervous system staying “on” at times when it should be “off.” This means that muscles on the top of the shoulders, side of the neck, and chest are constantly overused and get tight and sore. And your diaphragm, which is supposed to do all of the day-to-day breathing work, gets lazy. Your regular respirations get shallow, which makes you feel fatigued and ineffective.
Learning to breathe with your belly uses your diaphragm, deepens your breathe, and shuts off your tired and overworked muscles. This raises your energy, improves your concentration, and reduces your level of stress.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ua9bOsZTYg
I encourage you to think of your health in terms of human capital and INVEST in it. Your health is your most valuable resource and it affects the quality and success of everything else you are currently working towards. Try it for a business quarter, and then look back at the numbers. And get in touch; let me help you take care of your most valuable asset.