Before the age of gadgets, push notifications and mobile communication, when you left the office at 5:30, you left behind the issues and drama of work and settled down to an evening of you-time. Now, armed with mobile, smartwatch, tablet, laptop and maybe even a pair of Google Glass Explorers (yes, they really exist) – you leave the office ready to take on the onslaught of emails, calls and Facebook notifications that will bombard you throughout the night.
‘So what?’ I hear you say – because everyone has to do this, right? Who cares if you’re knackered and a slave to technology – it’s all part of staying on top of the game: after all, you don’t want Susan getting her hands on that shiny promotion you’ve been eyeing up for the last year, do you? Well, you’re wrong.
You don’t expect to drive your car from Cornwall to Scotland with half a tank of petrol and flat tyres do you? No! Your body is the same; it functions in the same way as any other machine and so, for optimum performance, it needs the best equipment and care to keep it running like a Ferrari. Wellness breeds success, and if you compromise your wellness to try and get a few more reports sent in the early hours of the morning, you’ll be hitting the junkyard well before your time.
Nonetheless, there’s no escaping the reality of technology nowadays, and it’d be unrealistic to say ‘don’t check your emails when you finish work’. Instead, the trick is to find the balance between your work-life and wellbeing. Establish ways to keep your body and mind healthy, making it ready to take on the challenges presented to you on a daily basis. While everyone’s needs differ, there are some easy steps that can be taken towards finding your perfect balance.
Yes, this one certainly seems a little obvious, but do not underestimate the power of BREATHING.
Ever wondered why you yawn so much towards the end of a work-day? Because you’re tired? Nope. Yawning is a means of refreshing the oxygen levels in your blood that fuels your brain. When you spend a long day not paying attention to how much breath you take in, you naturally settle into shallow breathing and limit the amount of oxygen your blood can take up.
Oxygen is PIVOTAL for the production of energy – it is quite literally ESSENTIAL! Life begins with your first breath and ends with your last and without it life simply doesn’t exist. So that’s a pretty good indicator that you should get your hands on as much of it as possible. And the best part? – it’s free. SO, if you want to keep yourself productive and energetic throughout the day, pay attention to your breathing.
In an ideal world, everything would go exactly to plan and we’d love everyone on our work-team. That colleague that moans to you non-stop all day about their in-laws would stop bothering you, there’d be no awkward clients insisting you weren’t performing to their expectations and you wouldn’t have been late to work because your boiler decided to give-up the ghost that morning. It’s a hard life… and it’s even harder to keep performance levels high with all these little annoyances taking up so much head-space!
Taking some time out at the weekend to invest in a yoga workshop or – even better – taking a few days out of your manic schedule to go on a yoga retreat can be extremely time-effective for you in the long run. Much of yoga is based on mind-set and meditative techniques that teach you how to block out unimportant ‘mind chatter’ and focus on your own body and emotions. The benefit of this is that once you have become adept at these techniques, you can apply them in the workplace. Spilt coffee on your shirt during your commute? Who cares – if you work harder and get that promotion you’ll be able to buy a nicer one!
FOOD AS FUEL.
This one is a no-brainer but definitely easier said than done when you’re trying to hold down a full-time job. Essentially, it boils down to: would you fill a petrol-car up with diesel? No. So, stop filling your body up with the wrong stuff to keep it functioning properly.
Every day we see new studies and articles about what we should be eating – all contradictory and all as crazy sounding as the last. It’s no wonder we’ve all thrown in the towel and skipped the greens altogether for a quick Subway. But there is a way to keep on top of it all without worrying about the latest fads – just keep it natural where you can.
Realistically, we’re not going to give up chocolate forever, and that’s ok, but refined sugars have recently been found to be EIGHT TIMES more addictive that cocaine (suddenly we don’t blame ourselves for clearing out the whole bag of cookies after we promised ourselves we’d only eat one). Therefore, we’re better cutting the sugary snacks altogether and instead alleviating those hunger pangs completely by eating natural foods that are high in proteins every 3-4 hours. Protein packed foods are particularly important as they increase metabolism and suppress appetite.
Sure, natural foods don’t always seem as appealing – but we eat to live rather than live to eat, right? And if you’re focussed on optimising your body for success then that rocky road from Costa is going to have to step aside.
If you work a full-time job in the city, chances are you’re pretty ambitious and it’s taken a lot of drive and commitment to get where you are today, so why give up on your FULL potential now? It’s time to find your perfect balance.