Whether you’re setting up a business or are involved in the running of a small business you need to stay on top of your game as far as your health and well-being is concerned. Being able to work long hours as well as enjoy a life outside of work has a lot to do with how well you eat, drink and exercise.
There are many things you can do to ensure good health but here’s a list of 5 work habits that are vital to power up your energy, stamina and productivity. Keep repeating these 5 work habits for 21 days after which time they will become more automatic. You will soon notice the difference in how you feel, from a change in energy levels to dropping a few pounds, but most importantly giving your mind and body the best fuel to keep all the functions working as they should.
LEMON WATER – Start every day with hot water infused with lemon. Slice a lemon on Sunday and refrigerate in a Tupperware container. Alternatively juice a few lemons into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop a couple of cubes into hot water to have fresh lemon juice ready to go each morning.
Every morning just drop a slice into a large mug of hot water and take 10 minutes to sip it. Do this about thirty minutes before breakfast as the lemon juice will help your body absorb breakfast nutrients better. Not only that, but lemon water flushes out toxins, prevents bloating, indigestion and upset stomach. It is loaded with vitamin C which helps your skin look fresh and clear while boosting immunity to colds and flus.
BREAKFAST – Skipping breakfast causes irritability and brain fog. People who eat breakfast report less stress and tiredness.
Investigators have found that breakfast is the most filling meal and this satiating effect can impact food consumption for the rest of the day. This is because it creates blood sugar control reducing cravings later on. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity shows that eating protein at breakfast can help you eat 400 less calories throughout the day. This is due to the secretion of gut hormones that control appetite. By the early hours our liver glycogen stores start to dwindle and blood glucose, insulin and growth hormone levels decline. As a result the stress hormone cortisol is released from the adrenal glands and needs nutrient intervention to bring it down. Elevated cortisol promotes fat storage in the abdominal area, cortisol stimulates the appetite and is linked to obesity.
For good mood and energy aim to combine protein with whole-wheat carbohydrate or fruit. Egg on toast, Greek yoghurt with berries, porridge oats with seeds, there are many options. Blood sugars will decline slowly and you’ll be satisfied for 2-3 hours instead of feeling famished in an hour or less.
The amount of protein consumed at breakfast should be at least 20 grams. How you eat in the first half of the day dictates the second half, so regardless of how busy you are take 4/5 minutes to eat a mid-morning snack. Yoghurt, nuts and fruit are good on the go snacks. Low sugar fruits are blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, plums and oranges.
WATER – The power of water is underestimated by many who opt for caffeinated drinks to boost energy on long days.
Caffeine may give you an immediate pick-me-up but soon you’ll crash and feel even more drained. Often it is dehydration that causes slumps in energy as muscles fatigue, so for consistent energy aim to drink at least 2 litres of water throughout the day. Hydration helps prevent backache, headaches and migraines. Approximately 60% of the human body is made up of water so maintaining this balance helps transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature and digest food. All cells and organs crave water to keep them running smoothly.
Water promotes a healthy weight as it removes the by-products of fat, raises the metabolism and is a natural appetite suppressant. Drinking water half an hour before meals is the most effective for helping to reduce calorie intake.
BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL – Hypoglycaemia needs to be avoided at all costs. Working long hours requires mental alertness and the ability to think on your feet. If your blood sugars get too low by overeating on carbohydrates (sugars), not eating enough protein or going too long between meals then you’ll run into trouble.
The symptoms of hypoglycaemia include fatigue, irritability, shaking, sweating, and feeling faint, agitated and low in energy. They often hit around 10-11 am and around 3pm. People suffering from this tend to overload on calories late in the evening, usually craving sweet foods, and find it difficult to get satisfied. 60% of sufferers develop diabetes.
The solution is very simple, eat every 3-4 hours and include a source of protein at every meal. Reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates like white bread, scones, and sugary cereals and snacks. When blood sugars are managed you will feel more stable, sleep better, control moods and lower your appetite for unhealthy processed food. Carry snacks at all times and have something mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
KEEP MOVING – Exercise is the only method proven to provide stress relief and release feel good chemicals to boost mood and improve outlook. It is the way to get motivated, energised and feel in control.
Working long hours is no excuse not to prioritize your health, no matter how busy you are. The energy boost you get from even 20-30 minutes physical exercise will give you more time in terms of productivity and get up and go so it’s vital in the success of your business. Make the time to train/run/walk for a minimum of 2.5 hours per week. Your body was designed to move, your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems need to be worked to stay strong. Walking for 18 minutes at lunch time 3 times per week can quickly lower stress hormones by 15%.
Exercise with a friend or trainer for extra discipline and stronger motivation.