Is today’s corporate environment conducive to good health and happiness? It doesn’t appear that way.
Approximately 80% of companies with 1000+ employees offer wellness solutions for their teams, and another 33% of companies with 50-100 employees offer the same.
Yet, medical claims are on the rise, employees are experiencing grave amounts of stress, and younger people are getting sicker faster. Something needs to shift, and it needs to begin with a fresh perspective.
As an accomplished wellness coach, it’s been been an honor for me to serve clients for the past nine years, helping them to achieve health as they excel in business. They’ve increased energy, rid the body of pain, shed pounds, achieved happiness, and more.
If you asked me what the secret was to their success, I would tell you it was largely due to one key practice, taking ownership of personal choice. It seems quite simple, yet people struggle with it every day. Education, inspiration and simple strategies will support you in your journey, but until you decide to shift your mindset and take ownership of your choices, you’ll remain in the same space you are today.
Every choice you make matters, each contributing to your long-term health and happiness.
Here are my five simple strategies to help you achieve good health as you excel in business. Best of all, there’s no need to sacrifice one for the other!
5 steps to good health
- Build Awareness: Demands are great, time is limited and competition is fierce. As a result, we run at a fast pace and rarely stop to consider the needs of the body. The body speaks to us every day, and the beautiful thing is that it never over-exaggerates or lies; it just tells it like it is. One morning you might have the sniffles, another a sore neck and maybe in the afternoon you feel like you could use a nap. These are all situations where the body is speaking. If we take time to stop and listen to the body, we’ll be more aware of its needs and be able to respond accordingly. This however takes practice! Pause in the morning and do a little scan of the body, check in to see how it’s feeling, and decide how you’d like to navigate to best support its needs. We call on the body to care for us every day and perform at its best; we need to care for it in return.
- Create supportive, healthy boundaries. We must create a supportive environment in order to achieve health and fulfillment. Take inventory of your daily activities and decide if adjustments are needed to alleviate stress in your life and achieve your goals. Create buffers in the day so you can move in a fluid way without the anxiousness and stress of being over-scheduled. Carve out blocks of time to focus solely on a project and to answer emails and voicemails. In the evening allow space for the activities you enjoy such as light exercise, connection with friends and quiet time to read. Once you identify your healthy boundaries be sure to communicate them with your family, friends and colleagues. Share that you’ll answer voicemails at a certain time in the day, let the family know you’ll take 30 minutes for yourself before arriving home for dinner or that you’d like to schedule a family date night to increase fulfillment in this area. Once you become the example for creating healthy boundaries, your family, friends and colleagues will feel empowered to do the same.
- Say no. This can be a challenging but necessary assignment if you want to increase health and happiness. Before making any decision, ask yourself “What will this provide me?” This one simple question will help you decide whether your participation will cause you angst or move you in a supportive, healthy direction. By pausing and asking yourself this question, you will be able to make a conscious choice instead of one out of convenience, haste or guilt. Kindly express thanks and gratitude for the opportunity and say no. It really is as easy as that. Sometimes, clients will say that this feels very selfish, saying no to others so that they can focus on their own needs. I’m here to tell you that this is not about selfishness, but rather it has you check your level of selflessness. Picking up extra work to cover a need, volunteering for your community or coaching another of your child’s sports teams can all feel rewarding in the moment. But if it’s pulling you from the necessary activities that will help you achieve your desired level of health and happiness, you have to say no to something. Every choice matters.
- Focus on Fulfillment: Instead of trying to achieve work/life balance, focus on fulfillment. Balance is difficult to achieve and leaves us feeling unsettled and dissatisfied. It’s simply not possible to work 8 to 10 hours a day, and then spend the same amount of time with your loved ones. However, when we are present in our communication with others and focus on the people, activities and the things we’re most passionate about in life, we will experience fulfillment which then creates a feeling of balance. Fulfillment can be defined as a feeling of satisfaction at having achieved your desires. This is very different from success, which is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. A young child will feel fulfilled by having your sole attention for 10 minutes versus having an hour of your time while you multitask, answering emails, getting dinner prepped and cleaning the kitchen. Consciously choose to be present with the people in your life, focus solely on yourself while enjoying an activity and get quiet as you offer gratitude for your many blessings. It is in the consistent practice of conscious choice that allows us to experience fulfillment and provide it to others too!
- Fuel the Body: Fill up on plant-based foods that are rich in phytonutrients! These naturally occurring chemical compounds that are only found in plant-based foods help heal the body and protect from illness and disease. Plant-based foods include leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. No need to start restricting your not-so-nourishing food choices; instead, let’s focus on inserting nourishment into the diet and in time your choices will naturally crowd out the not-so-nourishing food. Start by incorporating one cup of leafy greens into your daily diet for the next two weeks; you’ll feel an increase in your energy from this one choice. From there, add an additional cup in the next two weeks that follow, then moving into the same for vegetables, fruit, etc. Ultimately, you’ll want to consume 2 cups of leafy greens, 4 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of fruit, 1 cup of whole grains, ½ cup of beans and 1-2 oz of nuts or seeds per day. No need to feel overwhelmed about this news, just start small and work your way up one cup at a time every two weeks and build on your success!
Health is not about perfection, it is all about progression. Take ownership of your choices, make sure these choices you’re making feed the outcome you desire and adjust when needed. We’re all human, we’re going to make a choice here and there that doesn’t serve us so well. When this happens, do not fret over it, or beat yourself up because of the choice you made. Instead, explore why you went this route, learn from the situation and know that every choice you make is a new opportunity on the journey to healthy, vibrant living.
It is possible to achieve health as you excel in business. It takes consistent practice of conscious choice, and in time you’ll look back and smile in disbelief of the life transformation that has taken place, one little choice at a time. You have all you need to make it happen and I’m here to support you along the way.