A few weeks ago, I wrote about How Leadership Begins with the Self, on the importance of self-care and the impact that it has on leadership. One of the most practical areas where you can begin to make positive changes is by taking care of your physical wellbeing. As a result, following some of my thoughts in my last post, I wanted to take a closer look at the physical self, and give my tips on how to rejuvenate this area of your life.
Some of these you may have heard before in other contexts, but I encourage you to consider them with a fresh perspective, and contemplate how incorporating habits that bolster and uplift you can be a vital step in improving your capacities in all areas of your life: personal, family, and business.
Whether you are struggling with feeling tired and apathetic, or simply want to start something fresh, consider adopting at least one of the following tips to renew your energy and bring a refreshed outlook to your work in the family enterprise:
1. Eat the rainbow. Everyday.
Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors everyday can uplift you from the inside out. Plants contain different pigments, or phytonutrients, which give them their colour. Different-coloured plants are linked to higher levels of specific nutrients and offer a variety of health benefits. (Phytonutrients: Paint your plate with the colors of the rainbow - Harvard Health Blog)
Add more plants to your plate. Keep meat to a fist size amount.
2. Drink half of your “ideal body weight” in ounces. You can make it interesting trying one or all of the following:
Add some fresh fruit to your jug of water: be creative and try a handful of blueberries and slices of orange; cut up some mango or papaya, slice up some cucumber or strawberries. Have fun with it.
Add a little splash of juice to your water: tart cherry juice has resveratrol which helps with sleep and reduces inflammation.
Try coconut water which is very hydrating and refreshing.
Add an herbal tea bag (like peppermint) to your water.
Add a Green tea bag, it has a lot of health benefits. Since it is caffeinated, you should avoid steeping it too long. Otherwise it can become a diuretic and detracts from your hydration.
Stack your water consumption into the morning and afternoon so you avoid trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Keep in mind, if you have 1 serving of a caffeinated or alcoholic beverage, you need 1 glass of water to counteract the dehydrating effect.
3. Make Rest a core part of your Rejuvenation.
Set boundaries by saying no to those things that feel like they push you “a little too much.” Incorporate adequate breaks with dedication. Take a moment to stretch, look out a window and let your eyes focus on something in the distance. A few minutes of rest periodically does wonders for your mind and your stress level.
Try to protect your lunch hour: don’t be the one who books meetings with clients or employees over the noon hour. We all need time to eat, move and re-energize.
You may not need 8 hours of sleep to feel rested, but make sure your room is dark (free of light pollution) and your electronic devices are on silent. The body needs time to gear down at least an hour before bed to signal to the brain it’s time to sleep. Here are some suggestions:
Take a warm shower or bath.
Refrain from watching the news or other tv shows that stir up your adrenalin.
Eliminate blue light which keeps your brain awake and energized (no emails or reading on phones/computers).
4. Move your body.
Movement in your body creates movement in your life!
A stronger body helps create a more resilient mind.
We have to use energy to make energy so get started in whatever way you can. Make goals attainable and enjoyable: 5 to 10 minutes/day is still worthwhile, and little-by-little you will find that you are able to, and want to, increase! Let go of the belief, “no pain, no gain.” The truth is: if the activity is joyless, you will not return to it. Find the fun in the movement.
Think of a buffet table with different types of movement available to you:
Aerobic/Cardio – getting your heart-rate up helps ward off disease, improves memory and thinking, and boosts mood.
Weight-bearing exercise – using weights, walking and jogging helps increase bone density and strength, and minimizes arthritis.
Stretching – lengthens and strengthens muscle, and helps with digestion and constipation.
Resistance training – strengthens muscles using equipment like free weights, exercise bands or using your body weight to exercise muscles (e.g. doing push-ups or squats).
Yoga – benefits are similar to the above.
Schedule it and vary it!
Do not wait for motivation or inspiration to get you started, that is unreliable. Just do it! Listen to your body’s ability and start wherever you are at. Repetition rewires the brain and before long, you will start to crave more of it, and getting started won't feel like an effort.
Research has shown that regular exercise can add years to your life.
Be your own motivator. Think about your reason for wanting to achieve your ultimate desired outcome. The life you want to live tomorrow will help you take action today.
Starting with even one of these healthy habits can have a huge effect on your well-being, and be a positive force in your ability to lead in your family enterprise. Small, incremental, and joy-filled changes can be the key pieces to living, working, and relating to those around you with greater presence, a more positive impact and more fulfillment overall.
Laura Barton is a Family Enterprise consultant and leadership coach with over 20 years experience. She specializes in improving communication, strengthening team dynamics, and building relationships across family enterprise systems. By incorporating holistic wellness with her practice, Laura facilitates the comprehensive personal and professional wellbeing of those that she serves, and fosters leadership efficiency.