Article published in Brainz Magazine 12/29/2020
Making healthy habits a priority will increase your daily business wins. Taking time for self-care saves time, enables greater success, and ensures //better results.
This is the one aspect of personal excellence that leaders seem to struggle with. As the work piles up, self-care is often the big loser causing it to take a back seat to the business issues at
hand. If we are consistently making achievement more important than our health, it is not sustainable. Ignoring our health is only effective in the short run. Long term unhealthy habits begin to drag on our body, our approach, our relationships, our leadership, and our results.
We get so focused on our business goals and projects; we forget how important our health is. We start to ignore our bodies and how we are feeling. Those of us who are “A” personalities are driven to accomplish great things, and as a result, we sometimes fail to take care of ourselves. What we are missing is that making time for health promotes success, improved results, brainpower, resilience, and productivity. It does not take as much time as we might think.
What are the advantages of great health for a leader?
Improved cognitive function
Better decision making
Better response to challenges
Better problem solving
Better energy to accomplish results
Greater skill navigating complex situations
Better relationships with your team, your partners, your customers, and your suppliers
Why do I want to share this? This is personal to me.
I was a solopreneur for 20 years. I was passionate about my business and was working 24/7. My body was trying to tell me that I was not well and that my toxic load was building, but I was so tunnel focused on the tasks at hand I failed to pay attention to the signs.
My mood was fractured, which impacted my ability to lead. I knew I was struggling with stress, but I thought it was helping me produce more. I have come to learn it was interrupting my productivity. My brain was fatigued, and my business clarity was impacted. My creativity was interrupted. (And I was designing bridge jewelry for major retailers, so creativity was essential.)
Worst of all, when I woke up with severe chronic pain from autoimmune disease, it took me a couple of years to recapture my health and to feel good again. I lost ½ my business during this period even though I had well-trained responsible employees doing their best to keep my business up and running while I was looking for health solutions to my chronic pain.
As a leader, being in tune with your body, practicing gratitude, eating real organic food, getting 7 hours of continuous sleep, doing daily stress releasing 3-minute exercises, utilizing breathing exercises and setting aside a couple of minutes for mindfulness is crucial. Making time for movement at the beginning or end of every day are also important to our business success, and these things must take top priority in our daily routine.
It is not as time-consuming or hard to feel great as you might think. Change your mindset and get it done. It needs to be non-negotiable.
New routine #1-Every day when you rise-
Look in the mirror and ask your body “How do you feel?”. Then get quiet enough for a moment and listen to it. Long before your toxic load topples over the top into chronic illness, your body will talk to you. Listen to it. Your body is incredibly wise and will let you know what you need to adjust. This awareness only takes a few minutes every day.
Keep a gratitude and victory journal-
This starts off your day on a positive mindset. Writing down what your accomplishments are from the day before, big, and small, and then 3 things that you are grateful for at that moment frames your new day in a positive light. This allows you to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished, and genuine gratitude focuses on what is good in your life and business. If you then thank the people that you are grateful for, your family, your business partner, your employees, your customers, and your suppliers, that gratitude is the precursor of many more things to be grateful for. You feel good and those around you feel good which promotes new things to be grateful for and drives business successes.
Eating real food-
Plan to have plenty of organic fruits and vegetables on hand, washed and at eye level in your refrigerator so that eating the rainbow and real food is easily accessible. 75% of what you eat should be plant food, so start off eating healthy breakfast food, organic eggs with veggies, organic oatmeal with organic berries. For lunch, you make Ball jar salads twice a week to grab on your way out the door for lunch. You make your dinner meals on Sunday and freeze them so that healthy food preparation is quick and easy when you walk in the door.
Before I got sick, I was walking in the door at night over hungry and still on fast speed, putting everything in sight into my mouth and eating fake, cheap, easy, and fast food that was not giving my body any nutrition. With a little planning, this is avoidable and great health is within reach and takes no more time than eating the fake food.
It is rumored that even Monsanto serves organic food in their employee cafeteria. Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, which makes the Glyposate herbicide that is sprayed on conventional crops and created engineered GMO crops with BT Toxin grown in them, apparently realizes that toxins in our food does not support health. Organic healthy food helps employees feel healthier and as a result perform better in their workplace. Eating real organic fruits and vegetables makes us better leaders.
Drink more water–
Put a filter on your kitchen sink and fill up stainless bottles to keep your water clean. The stainless bottles replace plastic bottles that leach toxic chemicals into your body. You should be drinking 60-80 ounces of filtered water a day. Fill up a 25-ounce bottle and a jug for refills to take to work with you every day. To refill, fill up a 64 oz stainless steel jug. These will go back and forth with you every day. This way you always have quality water close at hand.
Let the steam off your stress before it becomes chronic or toxic. Do stress-busting 3-minute exercises throughout the day-
Stress is hard on every organ in your body and chronic or toxic stress accumulates. Eventually, it slows you down, lowers your productivity, mucks with your mood, makes you anxious and is bad for business.
You lower your stress by doing any one of a variety of stress-busting 3-minutes exercises twice a day. Doing a 3-minute exercise twice a day revitalizes your brain and improves your productivity. It brings you mental clarity and improves your mood. They restore your energy. They improve your digestion and lower inflammation.
Stress releasing exercises-
Find a few that work easily for you and do one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon.
It could be as simple as standing next to your desk and bouncing for 3 minutes
It could be sitting as you tap every inch of your body from your toes to the top of your head for 3 minutes. Feel the tingling of doing this all over your body.
It could be as simple as going into the bathroom and laughing at yourself while you are looking in the mirror. Laughter improves your mood and releases all your accumulating stress.
You could use a “belly button wand” which you would insert into your belly button and jiggle it in all directions, starting at the west and then continuing for several seconds around to the north, around for several seconds to the east around for several seconds to the south. This should take 2 minutes. The belly button is where our life began and from our belly button, we can reach our entire network of nerves and reset our parasympathetic nervous system. This will revitalize you.
It could be doing Andrew Weil, MD’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise which takes 3 minutes to do 4 rounds.
It could be as simple as doing the “perfect breath” which is 5.5 seconds in and 5.5 seconds out for 3 minutes. This calms and balances the body.
You can find YouTube videos on both breathing exercises. The Belly Button Wand is available on Amazon.
Getting 7 hours of quality continuous sleep
Sleep matters to your mental, physical, and emotional health. It is as important to your health and your business success as managing your stress is.
Quality sleep improves concentration and improves cognitive functions like memory, decision making, creativity, and communication during the day. It allows a leader to respond better to challenges. Quality sleep improves problem-solving. Quality sleep improves attention. It dramatically improves energy levels to accomplish the tasks at hand. Sleep improves innovation. It allows for more self-awareness. Well-rested leaders are more attentive to other team member´s views, and the ability to accomplish complex tasks as a team. Sleep fosters more empathy towards others.
Take a few moments to practice mindfulness sometime during the day-
Mindfulness improves creativity and makes you aware of what others in your environment are feeling.
Taking a break during the day for a few quiet moments of mindfulness or meditation is also a crucial habit for success. Centering oneself and becoming mindful of your emotions and environment promotes creativity and new solutions to the problems of the day. It allows a leader to be more empathetic to their team and helps them navigate more effectively. Being mindful centers a leader to be less rattled by the constant change that is occurring in their business activities. It allows them to be aware of alternate solutions. It centers mood and effectiveness.
And Finally, Examine your posture during the day-
Sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, your skeleton is like a tree and your internal organs hang off it. Bad posture places these organs in unnatural positions, causing stress, which then leads to chronic illness. Good posture also enhances your authority in the workplace.