A healthy lifestyle is often a casualty of running a small business. But the fact is, one cannot simply separate a healthy mind from a healthy body when the goal is to turn a healthy profit.
You’re wearing many hats in your business, (in addition to being a good father, mother or an exceptional partner). What this usually means is you’ve got very little time to think about your health or general healthy daily habits.
That was certainly where I found myself a few years ago. At the time I was running high on adrenaline, and my eating habits were less than perfect. This less than ideal combination led to a bout of vertigo so bad it was starting to get in the way of me enjoying a normal existence.
Here are some of the simple health and lifestyle changes I made to get things back on track to achieve small business success:
1. I went nuts
Rich in energy, protein, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and much discussed omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds have it all.
Studies suggest that consuming about 30g (a handful) of nuts per day may reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 30-50% and reduce the risk of death from heart disease by around 20%.
So that’s what I did.
2. I got juicy
Cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) are untamed beasts if not controlled and managed. They’re stress hormones to help fight our daily woes.
Cortisol is a stress hormone which, when chronically elevated, can have deleterious effects on weight, immune function, and chronic disease risk. It’s also responsible for controlling our blood insulin and glucose levels.
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Consistently high blood glucose levels along with insulin suppression leads to cells that are starved of glucose. When those cells start crying out for energy this can lead to overeating (with a corresponding increase in body fat).
On the advice of my nutritionist I increased my vitamin C intake via freshly squeezed orange juice. In learning how to control my hormones, I also learned how to control my mood and weight. I never knew it could be that simple.
3. I time it right
I’ve always believed coffee first thing in the morning provides the jolt I need to wake up. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Our cortisol or adrenaline levels naturally start to spike as soon as we wake up. This helps us become alert and get things rolling. Adding coffee and caffeine to the mix before 9am has little to no effect at all to your alertness levels.
These days I aim to have my first coffee after 10am, just when my adrenaline levels start to level out. It gives me a much better nudge.
4. I said no to dairy
Have you ever tried to go a couple of days without dairy? I did. My mind is clearer and I’m not so so bloated anymore.
We have so many different types of milk substitutes these days, like almond milk. I did my body a favour and picked Almond and Coconut milk. Now I get a much better night’s sleep minus the flatulence.
5. If I didn’t pack it, I don’t eat it.
We lead a busy lifestyle, and juggle life responsibilities better than the guys from the Cirque Du Soleil, leaving no time for thoughtful food prep.
That’s why it’s so tempting to reach out for packed nonsense from the supermarket shelves.
The thing is, anything packaged is generally also processed, and anything processed is riddled with sugar and other stuff I can’t even pronounce. These things have all sorts of effects on our hormones.
I’m a lazy cook, but I’ve learned to shop around the edges of the supermarket. I cut all my vegetables as soon as I get home, and I oven the hell out of everything. It’s easier to prepare and healthier.
So there you. I had to make the changes above because I was forced to. But I’m glad I was because it’s impacted positively on all aspects of my life, but especially my business life. These days I have much more energy for work which means I am more productive (and dare I say, successful).
If you feel like you’ve been struggling along for a while why not check in with your doctor about some simple changes you can make and have a crack at doing them for a week. You don’t really have much to lose … and everything to gain!