Whether you are the CEO, CFO, Chief Information or Chief People Officer running a busy company comes with many challenges including your health. Afterall, if you don’t take care of your health, how can you lead a productive workforce? In fact, more often than not, a company’s employees tend to model the behaviours of their leader. So, for instance, if the boss habitually works 50-60 hours a week, employees will feel compelled to follow this pattern or risk being seen as not working hard enough.
Sue Pridham’s article written for the Globe and Mail titled Seven tips for busy executives to stay healthy is the perfect antidote for busy executives who overwork themselves and, as a result, struggle to find time for selfcare.
Those seven tips are as follows:
1. Get 7 to 8 hours sleep. If you are low on energy, gaining weight and grumpy, chances are you aren’t getting enough sleep. One night without sleep, or several nights with too few hours of sleep, leaves you driving as if you are legally drunk at a blood alcohol content of 0.08.
2. Eat breakfast daily. The purpose of eating breakfast is to give your body some much needed energy after a long night of sleep.
3. Manage stress. Take wellness breaks throughout the day to recharge and encourage your team to do the same. Leave work at a reasonable hour and let others know you have a life beyond work. They will take note and do the same. Take your well-deserved vacation and try to stay unplugged as much as possible.
4. Exercise daily. If your team sees you making fitness a priority, they will follow suit. That could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk or run midday, encouraging your department to take a stretch break. Another way is to walk and talk. Get out of the boardroom and host a walking meeting. This will stimulate blood flow and get the creative juices flowing. Keep a pair of running shoes under your desk and walk after lunch or at break times. Go for a walk with the family after dinner to reduce screen time.
5. Eat 7 to 8 fruits and vegetables each day. People who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have a significantly lower risk for cancer, heart disease, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
6. Practise gratitude. We can get so caught up in the thrill of the next deal and achieving targets that we forget to recognize the efforts of our team along the way. Take time to show thanks. No one has ever faulted their employer for giving too much praise.
7. Stay connected. Social connections can strengthen our immune systems, lower rates of anxiety and depression and improve our self-esteem. Connecting with people makes us happy, which in turn keeps us healthy. Get out from behind your desk and give your employees some face time.
Bottomline: In today’s ‘always on’ digital era, as an executive, you have information coming at you from every angle. And, after a long day of mind consuming tasks, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and exhausted. But you won’t be doing a good job at anything if you are not giving your brain a break, and at the same time, risking your health in the process.
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