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Why Food And Drink Can’t Be The Only Rewards For Hard Work

Juggling the balls is challenging in a small business. There’s a lot to think about and a lot to do in a day. From tax returns to organising the refuse, in a small organisation, there’s usually only one or two people to get all the jobs done. In a way, it’s empowering as it’s your own vision and passion that’s driving the business, so you’re willing to take on all the tasks to make it work. The downside is the temptation to work, work, work to the point of having very little else going on in your life.

Making a small business work takes commitment and consistency, the hours can be long sometimes and it may be difficult to switch off. I think that there may be a tendency in some to reward themselves as a result of the huge effort they’re putting in. How you see reward and what you feel you deserve after a hard day’s work, a difficult customer or a brilliant meeting is very individual. I’d just like to alert you to the danger of oral reward, a mind-set that people get into, believing that food and drink is rewarding.

It’s enjoyable to have a glass of wine or go out for dinner at the end of the week, the danger comes when this becomes habit, as the accumulation of excess rich food and alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your weight and health. When the idea of “I deserve” comes into play there becomes a desire to overdo it. And so, the glass of wine becomes 5 or 6, the simple dinner becomes the 4-course meal, and quickly this type of over indulgence becomes your habitual treat.

Mental health goes hand in hand with physical health so both need to be looked after. Sometimes our natural desire to reward ourselves needs to be reassessed as to how rewarding our go to pleasures really are.

Food is enjoyable but it is there for fuel. When used as a reward, the pleasure will be outweighed by the punishment of overeating. Becoming overweight, losing energy, feeling sluggish, clothes too small… where’s the reward in that?

The ball that’s most important and above everything else is the one that encompasses your energy, stamina and motivation – your health. If you drop it, there’s a domino effect, eventually you, your family and friends, and your business will suffer. This is defined by how well you manage nutrition, physical exercise, relaxation and recovery. These are the rewards that really pay dividends in how you operate.

The food and drink reward is a simple and convenient response to the demands of running a business. The irony is that this behaviour does not deliver on comfort or stress relief. It’s the long-lasting feeling that you’re after and excess of anything can’t give you that. It is the result of treating your mind and body with respect and the right fuel.

Why not reward yourself with real treats after working hard in the business, here are a few ideas that might fit into your evenings or weekends:

Watch a box set

 – Go for a daily 20-minute run

 – Read an inspiring autobiography

– Join a yoga class

– Hire a personal trainer

– Cook great new healthy food

– Watch and listen to an inspirational TED talk

– Have friends over for a healthy dinner

– Join a book club

– Start power walking with a great friend

– Do the 5k park run every Sat

– Get a manicure, pedicure or massage

– Limit yourself to only 30 minutes social media per day

– Connect with good friends for coffee

– Visit a place of natural beauty

 – Extend your playlist and have great music playing constantly

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