Take care of yourself

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EXERCISE: A great outlet for relieving stress.

LET’S own up. We don’t always take care of ourselves as well as we should. We have three basic needs: food, sleep and exercise, and we can’t ignore any of them.

But this time of year, as we head into the season in Mallorca it’s easy to let things slip into bad routines, eating poorly, sleeping erratically and not exercising, and these three things are vital to getting through a tough and demanding time.

It’s hard, because life gets in the way, doubly so if we have a busy and productive work life. And when faced with the choice between hard work and convenience, guess which one wins out most of the time?

But whether it’s convenient or not, maintaining our health should come first, before our daily to-do’s, before our work. Why? Because if we aren’t healthy, we can’t be successful, either at home or at work.

Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Ron Friedman laid out the facts about how different foods affect work performance. He cited a study where participants reported “food consumption, mood and behaviours over a period of 13 days.” The participants who ate less high-fat meals and more fruits and vegetables were “happier, more engaged and more creative” than those who opted for high-fat, high-calorie lunches.

When your work life is demanding, you keep weird hours. You get to work early, before the sun’s up, and you leave late, after dark. At home, you take out your laptop to “finish up a few things.” Three hours later, you crawl into bed. And then you wake up before the sun does to do it all again.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to higher levels of stress, higher blood pressure levels and lower brain function. It’s safe to say your performance will suffer if you don’t get your beauty sleep. You have to stick to a regular schedule. If you work primarily from home, create definitive work hours, making sure you give yourself enough time to unwind after finishing work. When your alarm clock goes off in the morning, get up no matter what. Resist the temptation to oversleep and screw up your sleep cycle.

Stress can get the best of us at times. Exercise is a great outlet for relieving stress, to distract you from daily pressures and get fit at the same time. Regular exercise wards off depression and a host of other mental blocks that make success hard to achieve.

The important thing is that we actually go and do it. Treat exercise as an essential aspect of your success. It’s not just something that you should do, it’s something you must do. Taking good care of yourself is critical to your success because it allows you to go further, get more done and most importantly, be happy doing it.

Now just let me read and re-read this until I can repeat it word for word and act on it… Good luck!

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