If you’re a hardworking business owner, chances are, you skip meals, forgo sleep and never fully disconnect from work. You may think it’s the key to achieving success, but as the heart and soul of your business, you’re not doing it — or yourself — any favor.
A small business is only as healthy as its leader. You have an obligation to your employees, stakeholders and loved ones to take care of your mind, body and spirit. Here’s a dozen doable ways to work some healthy moves into your long, hectic workday, without losing your edge.
• Surround yourself with good people, then delegate to them. Hire employees with positive, can-do attitudes; steer clear of naysayers who drag down workplace morale.
• Go to bed at a reasonable hour, get up relatively early and stick to this routine. Lack of sleep creates lack of focus. If you get drowsy every day at 3 p.m., your body is telling you something. Side note: some studies correlate waking up early with success.
• Give yourself a few minutes each morning to reflect, get centered and plan your day. Time spent planning and problem solving is never wasted.
• Nourish your body. Brown bag it, so you won’t skip lunch every time something comes up. Stock the office pantry with nutritious grab-and-go staples like granola bars, nuts, fruit, etc. Stay fueled, stay focused.
• Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated, your body has to work harder, which drains mental productivity. Keep bottled water in your office or invest in a water cooler.
• Work some activity into your day. Every few hours, get up, stretch, walk around the office, climb stairs. Blood circulation stimulates brain function; even 10 minutes will make a difference. Bonus: you may do your best thinking when you’re on the move.
• If you have a chronic medical condition, don’t put off getting care “until things slow down.” See your doctor when you’re due, get tested on schedule and set up a medication reminder system that works. No deal is worth a medical emergency.
• When you’re getting stressed, don’t feed it — shut it down. Step outside (fresh air clears the head). Shut your office door for a few and do some deep breathing or listen to calming music. Find a positive way to defuse.
• Similarly, learn not to sweat the small stuff. Don’t let a small disappointment or annoyance derail your whole day. It doesn’t benefit you or your business.
• Practice disconnecting each evening. Set a time when you’ll shut down your devices (really!) and simply be present with those around you or just yourself.
• Make a date every month with someone who inspires you. Seek out people and settings you find uplifting, creating opportunities to recharge.
• Be kinder to everyone, especially yourself. Yes, it matters.
• Teri Dreher, is an award-winning RN patient advocate and a pioneer in the growing field of private patient advocacy. A critical care nurse for more than 30 years, today she is owner/founder of NShore Patient Advocates. She was awarded her industry’s highest honor, The APHA H. Kenneth Schueler Patient Advocacy Compass Award, in 2015. She is also active in social causes, participating in and leading medical missions to Africa for more than a decade. Recently, she co-founded the task force, No Little Girl, which combats child sex trafficking in the Chicago area. She recently published her first book, “Patient Advocacy Matters.”
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