Previously we shared about adopting the right mindset in order to climb the corporate ladder.
Today, Lets talk about the importance of eating well, having enough rest and adopting positive thinking.
In 2007, a middle-aged woman had collapsed after staying up late working and broke her cheekbone as she went down on her desk. She had been working 18 hours a day, as her successful company was growing at an incredible pace. But after the end of a week-long tour of colleges with her eldest daughter, her body just couldn’t take it anymore. And what was the diagnosis? An acute case of burnout.
Since that incident, she started to learn more and more about the connection between well-being, resilience, and productivity. She realized that this idea that burnout is the price we have to pay for success – is a complete myth. This led her to write two books – Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. She toured around the world speaking about the issues of stress, burnout, sleep deprivation, and founded Thrive Global in 2016. This lady was Arianna Huffington.
Let’s get real here.
We know the idea of ‘eat well, rest well and think well’ amid a pandemic (with so much uncertainty and no definitive end in sight) is probably not on your priority list right now. For some of us who have or are still grappling with income losses, mid-career changes, homebound schooling or work, and lifestyle adjustments – the idea of ‘surviving’ and ‘getting through the pandemic’ is top-most in mind. But taking care of our physical and mental health with proper nutrition, ample rest and exercise are not any less important.
Is Wellness Inextricably-Linked to Productivity?
In Asia, the idea of productivity is traditionally linked to how many hours we’ve spent working in the office. Those who leave the office earlier than their colleagues will be frowned upon. The busier we are and the long hours we clock in, the more we’re deemed as being productive. Research conducted on 26,000 employees in the Asia-Pacific region on health and wellbeing, found that Asia countries top the longest working hours globally.
Ironically, a survey done by OECD in 2019, has shown that a longer working week does not necessarily result in higher levels of productivity. The top three most productive countries – Ireland, Norway, and Germany have substantially fewer annual working hours on average, globally. Data suggests that the idea of a four-day working week could boost productivity and match current economic output. Other positive side effects include improvement in work-life balance, heightened commitment, and lower stress levels.
Poor diet has also contributed to Asia worker’s nutrition deficiency – we’re eating fewer than five portions of fruits and vegetables daily, with the highest proportion of physically inactive employees. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that Asia could suffer the consequences of an unhealthy workforce in the long run.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIET, SLEEP, AND THINKING WELL
Getting good sleep and following a healthy diet is essential for overall health. What’s often overlooked, is the important relationship between sleep and nutrition. Insufficient sleep increases overeating and unhealthy food choices. Additionally, it’s not just how much or what you eat, the timing of when you eat matters too. A late dinner can negatively affect metabolism, increase body fat, and heighten the risk of obesity.
Having enough hours of high-quality sleep fosters attention and concentration, which are prerequisites for retaining memory, problem-solving, creativity, emotional processing, and judgement. A lack of sleep, insomnia, and sleep apnoea has been linked with longer-term cognitive decline, including the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Our brain works hard 24/7, even while we’re sleeping. This means that our brain requires a constant supply of ‘fuel’. This ‘fuel’ comes from the food we eat and to put it simply – what we eat, directly affects the structure and function of our brain and mood. Eating high-quality food that contains lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish the brain and protect it from oxidative stress – the free radicals produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.
SELF-CARE TIPS FOR YOUR PERSONAL WELLBEING
Albert Einstein once said ‘in the midst of every crisis, lie a great opportunity’. Granted, the situation that we are in is not in the least bit easy but we can take this opportunity to adopt better habits for our overall wellness. Motivation is temporary; habits sustain your results for all time. Here are 3 simple tips that can give you a head start on your wellness journey:
- Add Structure to Your Day
Create a separation between day and evening, especially if you’re working and/or studying from home. This routine may include working in a separate room from your family members, scheduling your exercise, and taking frequent breaks in-between – like outdoor walking with your pets or meeting up with friends for lunch or dinner. While having too much structure is suffocating, planning your day-to-day routines can help you feel more in control.
- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
One of the biggest self-care priorities should be sleep – insufficient sleep duration and changes in sleep schedules are very common now. Sticking to a sleep routine can help lower stress and keep you feeling energized throughout the day, bolstering resilience. Practise healthy sleep hygiene by optimizing your bedroom environment, set a regular bedtime schedule, avoid alcohol and caffeine in the evening, and minimize electronics in the bedroom.
- Eat Beautifully
Adopting a healthy eating habit should not be a form of drudgery – like an ambitious, calorie-counting albeit unsustainable diet. We’ve all been there, right? Learn simple, time-effective but delicious recipes that are well-balanced with vitamins, protein, carbs, and fats – in the appropriate quantities. Best brain food includes green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, berries, and walnuts. You may feel ‘peckish’ for a few days as you adjust to not overeating. As you permanently shift your style of eating, you’ll build the blueprint for long-term success and staying healthy.
Aspiring to eat, rest and ultimately, think well is not just some far-fetched ideology. If we incorporate pragmatic micro-steps into our daily habits, it is achievable. Stay healthy!