“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.” ― Augusten Burroughs, Dry
How often have you heard this quote? Perhaps you even said it to others. Why is it that we take our health for granted until something goes wrong? It would be a lot easier if we sought to support our health each day through our habits and choices so we can avoid the “something wrong,”
In any business or organization today, the COVID 19 pandemic has certainly stressed the leadership and employees. Stress, if not handled well, can build up internally and lead to “something wrong”. And, in this physical state, we are apt to make poorer decisions, feel too overwhelmed and not guide our business/organization appropriately.
So how does one counter act the daily, harmful stress? Well, first and foremost, you won’t be able to avoid this stress, unless you go off the grid and hunker down in the hills. Of course, that would create another level of stress.
To make good decisions, to demonstrate the best leadership and to support good health, there are four main actions you can take every day.
1– Hydrate – drink water each and every day. Depending upon your stature, 7-10 8 oz cups a day. Dehydration in adults can cause confusion, headaches fatigue and dizziness. And, as we age, our bodies don’t retain as much fluid as we did when younger. Making decisions and leading others while silently being dehydrated can lead to poor decisions.
2 – Purposeful movement – this means undertaking some physical exertion beyond normal walking. Our bodies, especially our lymph system, need movement to work well. Sitting has become aligned with smoking as far as a health hazard. You may think that you don’t have time to fit in a 30 minute walk or work out; however, you need to. And, don’t just “fit in” this activity – make it a part of your daily routine. It will help to clear your head as well as keep your body limber.
3 – Choose nutritious foods – those empty calories in candy, cookies, soda and chips will not do you any favors in the long run…in fact they will help to clog your system eventually, e.g. add to fat. Look for chemical-free and process –free foods…whole foods, local and when available, organic. This “fuel” will help to keep your body functioning and mind clear on a high level.
4 – Get a good night’s sleep – every night, about the same time. Set your circadian rhythm to allow for 7-8 hours, 7 days a week. Our brains need time to reboot, dwell on situations, defrag and repair. Those that claim they really don’t need to sleep more than 5 hours as they function fine, will do so on a short term basis. Longer periods of sleep deprivation will impair decision making. Would you want a bus driver or surgeon working on you that was sleep deprived? Your staff certainly don’t need a leader that is making incorrect decisions because of not enough sleep.
When you hit a stressful situation or can’t fall asleep because your head won’t turn off, start practicing the art of deep breathing – breathe in deeply, expand lower abdomen, to a count of 5, hold breathe to a count of 7 and exhale to a count of 10. You will be amazed at how quickly you will be able to calm yourself and work through a difficult situation more clearly.
According to a Chinese adage – “if you know the art of deep breathing, you have the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers.”
(photo taken by Mike Marrah on unsplash)