Healthy mind, healthy body, so the saying goes – but I believe health is truly at the root of success.
Behind every great woman you’re likely to find a healthy lifestyle regime.
There’s been a lot of work over the last few decades in this area, and in this article, I hope to explore some of the reasons why adopting a healthy lifestyle helps us all achieve the success in life we seek.
Broadly speaking, being healthy means being both mentally and emotionally fit. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses.
Feeling good about yourself and taking care of your health are important for your self-esteem and self-image. This much we know.
While there is no special button you can press to become successful in life, there are habits that the most successful people have in common.
A healthy lifestyle improves work habits, decreases absenteeism, and increases productivity that will result in employees having improved job evaluations, better retention, and opportunities for advancement and future employment.
But what counts as a healthy lifestyle? Here’s some points I’ve learned in my life journey, and I’d like to share them
At the heart of a healthy lifestyle is routine. Getting up at the same time, fitting in all the aspects of a good lifestyle – daily meditations or prayer, exercise, reading, preparing and consuming the right food – takes a routine and discipline. Routine breeds habits, and habits help build better people.
Work is fulfilling, and a key part of many roles is that they are peppered with routine tasks. As humans, we are pre-programmed to enjoy routine – whether we admit it or not.
Always look to learn something new each day. I am blessed by being surrounded by intelligent family and friends and I was privileged enough to study what I wanted to at fantastic universities.
I’m acutely aware not everyone has such advantages, but we can all take time out – best locked in to the diary at a certain time each day, to study, to read, to learn.
Whether it’s an in-depth news article, part of a course, or simply story telling with family and friends, learning keeps us on our toes, and allows us to remain open to new ideas and different ways of looking at the world, problems and ourselves.
Your learning could even be picking up a new sport or exercise in the gym – because key to any healthy lifestyle is exercise. We must move, and move often.
Our bodies are not designed to be sedentary, and the all-too-common sitting in an office all day type role is highly injurious to health.
Even a walk around your garden or local park is a good start. Building up your tolerance to exercise – pushing yourself to walk that extra kilometre, push that extra weight or run a little further – builds up your mental resilience.
Fitness equates to stronger emotional resilience. What is most important is that you continue exercising. Allowing just twenty to thirty minutes a day to exercise, at least three times a week will reap noticeable benefits.
As leadership author Robin Sharma said, “If you don’t make time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.”
We’ve heard this one before, so many times. From being a kid and refusing to eat your vegetables to reaching for another slice of pie at dessert, we all know what we should be eating. And we all know that food is fuel, and the right food creates the right mix of fuel to help us power through life.
Above all that, processed foods have long been associated with poor health. And don’t skip a meal because you’re busy at work, or chasing around completing household chores.
Try to eat more natural foods – fruit, vegetables, grains – and your mind and body will thank you. It almost goes without saying that it’s good advice to give up toxins – tobacco, alcohol – and ensure you are well hydrated with lots of fresh water.
Work life balance
The culture of hustling, and being ‘always on’, seems to be subsiding. I believe we are entering a new era where selfcare, and more (respect for) leisure time are coming to the fore.
Yes, we must – and can – work hard, but I believe a healthy life style involves a clear delineation between work hours and leisure time.
Time spent exercising, eating good food, learning, and socialising with family and friends. Learn to turn off from work, turn away from the laptop, and enjoy life outside of work.
Surround yourself with positive thoughts and positive people, and feel the benefits of a life well lived.
This is another key tenet of a healthy lifestyle. Numerous studies suggest we need eight hours’ sleep. Some even suggest ten! However many hours you opt for, sleep should not only be a big part of your routine, but quality sleep. Again, turn off all your digital devices an hour or more before bed.
Go to sleep at a regular, set time each day, and ensure you are doing everything to ensure a deep, restful sleep. You owe it to yourself, your family and your work colleagues to ensure you are well-rested and alert. And never use the snooze button!
Kindness/ empathy/ compassion
As I mentioned above, I think we are moving away from fierce corporate culture into a world of more compassion, empathy and kindness.
Fostering good habits in terms of selfcare and care towards others and the planet reaps incredible positive benefits. Kindness – even witnessing acts of kindness – has been shown to release oxytocin, the happiness hormone, which helps lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health.
Being kind promotes empathy and compassion and an interconnectedness with others. These feelings in turn inspire happiness and reduce negative emotions.
As Bedros Keuilian, CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, said in an Entrepreneur article: “Make your health a priority so you can make better decisions, keep a level head at all times, and scope out new ways to make money and expand your empire’s influence and impact.”