My previous guest blog for Pro-Recruitment focused on mental well-being. There is a lot of focus on this area and rightly so. The physical side is just as important, but messages about that get lost in a sea of: “exercise more”, “eat less”, “walk 10,000 steps a day”.
There is a lot more to physical wellbeing. Last month I ran a workshop at Work Life, a co-working space for entrepreneurs in Farringdon, on the links between mental and physical wellbeing. Just some of the areas we covered were sleep, blue-zone diets and finding meaning in a crazy world.
So a little more about all those:
Most of us don’t get enough sleep, when life gets busy we carve time out of our sleeping hours and force ourselves to stay awake longer than is good for us. And there are those who get very little sleep and wear it as a badge of honour.
The problem with not getting enough sleep is that it impacts our mood and performance – all kinds of performance, not just at work. It’s hard to focus on learning goals or fitness goals if you’re exhausted. And it even impacts our relationships – it’s hard to get along with people if you’re under-slept.
So how can you check if you’re over-tired? Answer these questions devised by Dr Chatterjee (2017), and score yourself
0 – if your answer is rarely/never
1 – if your answer is sometimes
2 – if your answer is most of the time/always
- Do you wake up feeling refreshed?
- Do you wake up at the same time every day without an alarm?
- Do you fall asleep within 30 minutes every night?
If you get 6 out of 6 then you’re doing great! If you’ve got less than 6 then all that means is there are changes you can make. And those changes might make a significant difference to how you feel during the day.
- Go to sleep in total darkness
- Get morning light before you settle down to work
- Set a bedtime routine to relax you before bed
- Reduce emotional tension before bed – from the programmes you watch to the conversations you have
- No caffeine after lunch
- Stop monitoring your sleep with apps and smartwatch – there are increasing numbers of people driving themselves to anxiety by monitoring their sleep using devices that aren’t medical-grade. Trust your own sense of self and levels of tiredness rather than relying on apps.
There is so much conflicting information about diets. What works. What doesn’t? The reality is all our bodies are different and will respond in different ways.
There are 6 areas on the planet where the proportion of people who live past 100 years old is 10x higher than the average. And in good health too, with lower levels of degenerative disease. None of them are following a fad, all the areas exhibit different diets. Some eat more fish than others. Some eat more carbs than others. These are the blue-zone diets.
But there are some broad principles which are consistent between them all.
- Eat with family or friends where possible
- Less consumption of meat
- Less smoking
- Eating a high proportion of legumes
- Constant and moderate physical activity
- Social engagement
What can you do try to improve the quality of the food your eat and how your body processes it?
- Denormalise sugar & change your taste-buds – sugar is addictive
- Eat 5 portions of vegetables, restrict fruit and fruit juice (think of all the sugar!)
- Micro-fasts to make your body work harder at using fat stores and to give your engine a rest from always having to digest food.
Finding meaning in a crazy world
Action For Happiness is a fantastic organisation – its aim is to bring more happiness into everyone’s lives. And to do that sometimes we can make a big difference by taking small steps. Every month they release a calendar with little tips on what you can do that day to carve out a moment or two of joy. Find out what you can do today by checking out their calendar for June! http://www.actionforhappiness.org/joyful-june
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these changes. Send me a tweet to let me know how you get along! @teamconvergent