When it comes to implementing a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to associate large dollar signs to our goal. Organic food, fitness classes, and latest diet trends all come with a pretty hefty price tag, not to mention the time it takes to do all these things. In today’s world, where time is money, you can basically hear the “ka-ching” when you think about health.
This is also the reason that when we start saving or become busy, our health is the first thing to fly out the window. It is one of those things we know we should do, but it just doesn’t fit in right now.
But what if you thought of it more as self-care or self-development as opposed to health. Would you not attend a meeting or networking event that would help you get that new job you’ve been wanting? Would you save your money under your pillow rather than investing it? Of course not! These things you do for your career health and financial health are necessities, and it’s time to start thinking of our physical health in a similar way.Would you do things differently if you thought of self-development instead of health? Click To Tweet
The important thing to remember is that taking care of your physical health is not just about your weight goals or muscle definition. It has a huge impact on your cognitive health, allowing you to think more clearly, solve problems creatively, and work more productively.
This can be translated into your money management. A better brain will help you learn market trends faster, stick to your financial goals, and make more intelligent investments.Your health impacts your bank account Click To Tweet
Here are some easy tricks you can implement into your daily life to keep your brain at its peak performance.
Take active breaks throughout the day
When you have a major deadline approaching you think the best thing to do is to sit down, focus, and grind. Although we have the best intentions when we do this, if we sit for too long, we actually dull our mental sharpness.
When we exercise, we increase our heart rate and flow of oxygen to the brain. This fuels our brain cells and helps them communicate with each other more quickly. The faster we are able to think, the more productive we can be to finish that project on time.
The beauty of it, is that you don’t need to schedule an hour long workout to get these benefits. Researchers published in PLOS One in 2014 found that 20 minutes of moderate exercise activate parts of the brain involved in working memory and what we associate with “clear thinking”.
Try a walk at lunch or split it up into two 10 minute online videos. Research shows that moving even the smallest amount throughout the day can help counteract sedentary burdens. You will not only feel good but also find greater ease in concentrating, goal setting and time management.
Don’t get taken down by thirst
We’ve heard this one a million times, drink more water, yet we generally still grab a soda or coffee when we get thirsty. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue, stopping both your concentration and impairing short-term memory. We lose water from our bodies not only when we exercise but also when we breathe, perspire, and generate waste.
Food covers about 20% of our water intake, but most of us still need to drink 8 glasses a day to stay in tip top performance. Of course, a more active lifestyle requires more hydrating effort, yet nearly half the US reports drinking only 4 cups a day.
Drinking enough water is an easy trick to boost your long-term performance, but just like you wouldn’t think about running 26.2 miles the first day of training for a marathon, breaking up 8 glasses over the course of the day is easier and better for you than drinking 64 oz. in the AM.
During my long hours at the office, I found myself getting a cup of water only a few times a day and even when I had a water bottle next to me, I would forget to drink it until a thirst sensation poured over me around 3PM. The inspiration for the aLign trackers was born and I was able to have reminders and stay accountable while drinking water. From personal experience, you may not feel a boost when you drink enough water, but when you don’t, the lack of focus in the afternoon is definitely apparent.
Try increasing the amount of water you drink each week. Start with 5 cups a day week 1, then 6 week 2, working your way up to 8 a day to find the benefits to your health and productivity.Drinking water boosts your fiscal performance. Keep track with aLign Click To Tweet
Prioritize your snoozes
We did it as kids, why not as adults? Sleep is a tool used to strengthen your mental performance. Importantly, the amount of sleep you need is based on your individual needs and can vary from 4 hours for some to 9 hours for others. This is where step 4 below becomes important in knowing your body’s needs for peak performance.
In either case, sleep has been associated with increased creativity and mental clarity, literally. In the hours that we are in a deep sleep, our brain enters a cleansing process removing waste and allowing our neurons to connect more quickly and with ease. It’s like unclogging a pipe and allowing water to flow more freely.
Try building a routine around sleep so your body trains itself to enter its optimal sleep pattern. Many studies suggest reading a good old fashioned book (no smartphone or kindles) to rid stimulates and induce the sleep cycle.
Find your way to being mindful
Ok seriously, what on earth does it mean to “be mindful?” Many times this is associated with meditation and being introspective. For me personally, every time I try to mediate, I sit there for about a minute and then open just one eye to make sure I’m doing it right. a.k.a. I don’t really know what I’m doing, or rather, “typical” meditation doesn’t resonate with me. I say typical because most of us think of meditation as sitting in an upright position, crisscrossed legs, eyes closed and a small whisper of a mantra. This methodology absolutely works for some people, however, it is not the only way to be mindful.
Mindfulness is as simple as being aware. It is very individualized right down to the way you do it. Want to know how I found my mindfulness, a hot bath. I close the bathroom door, run the hot water and climb in. As the tub fills up I listen to the rush of water from the faucet, take in how it feels warmer on my toes than at my shoulders, focus on which muscles are finding the most relief, and as I slide my ears under the water hear my breath and heartbeat.
I don’t have a mantra or specific posture but I am attentive to each minor event occurring. Mediation of any kind is really just a training of awareness. Taking this mindfulness into the business setting can have huge benefits beyond the physiological decreased stress and improved sleep quality.
Noticing different expressions on coworker’s faces in a meeting and being able to adjust, finding opportunities to help you and the company, these are just some of the ways training your brain in mindfulness can benefit you.
Try just two minutes in the morning. While you’re still lying in bed close your eyes and connect to each muscle in your body from your tiniest toe to the top of your head. Yoga and meditation may work for some, but for others it’s important to find your own unique way to think and observe broadly on a regular basis, unlocking the key to a mindfulness that will take you to your next level at home and at work.
Making health a priority brings ample benefits that go way beyond the gym and kitchen. By taking care of yourself and focusing on self-care you are activating your cognitive power to be better for your personal and professional life and ultimately advance yourself. So the next time you are striving for a promotion, starting a new savings plan, or researching a new investing portfolio, think about boosting your health and self-care as a tool to finding your wealth.Want a promotion? Sleeping might be the key to getting it! Click To Tweet
This guest post was written by Jessica Louw, a health and wellness enthusiast and coach. Jessica is changing the status quo of work-life balance. Integrating health into the daily lives of busy, driven women, to take their personal and professional lives to the next level.