The Importance Good Health Plays In Your Work/Life Balance

When you survey the average person asking them what work/life balance means to them, you may receive a variety of responses.  While it quite obviously means that one is able to balance their career with having free time to do the things that they enjoy doing or need to tend to in other aspects of their life, what defines “work/life balance” differs from person to person.    The working mother of 4 children may have a different idea of work/life balance than the 22 year old single recent college graduate in his first career job might have.  For the working mom, being able to find the time attend the important events in her child’s life and cook a nutritious meal each night might be of the utmost importance to her.   For the 22 year old graduate, spending time with his friends and balancing fun with success might be the work life balance determination factor.    Regardless of age, gender, or status, there is one factor that should be equally important to any working individual as part of a balanced life.   That factor is paying attention to both your physical and mental health.

When a successful, driven professional attempts to find balance success with doing the things that he or she loves to do and spend time with people important to them, it’s easy to let health fall to the wayside,   Whether you’re traveling constantly or working long hours, it’s often easy to grab food on the go or spend your free time with family and friends rather than logging time at the gym or taking the time for healthy meal preparation.   After all, after a 12 hour workday, would you rather relax on the couch with a glass of wine or spend an hour at the gym working off that Wendy’s takeout you grabbed on the way to your last meeting of the day?   When you’re traveling, it becomes even more difficult to eat healthily and fit in that workout just out of sheer inconvenience.  After a long day, pizza takeout is going to trump searching all over a city you might not know well for a decent salad.

After awhile, what many professionals discover is that their unhealthy habits catch up with them.   Yes, not getting enough sleep and making poor food choices will eventually affect your business!  That being said, health and fitness should be a top priority when you’re considering work/life balance.   If you’re tired all the time and uncomfortable with the way you look, it’s going to start to take a toll on your self confidence.   In the name of “working harder” maybe you miss an opportunity to show your best work because you’re tired from not sleeping for days.  Perhaps you aren’t as prepared or focused in a business meeting as you’d like to be.   Maybe you even find that you’re late to work from oversleeping due to pulling long hours in the days prior.    The ultimate result?  By pushing your body to its limits to achieve success, you end up running yourself into a hole, having to take more time off due to an exhausted immune system.  Kind of beats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Making small realistic adjustments to your routine can help you keep your healthy in check while still being a top performing professional.  Not everyone is a gym rat or a health food fanatic, so you don’t necessarily need to spend hours pumping iron at the gym or spend your evenings pouring over tofu recipes to make adjustments that will help you to focus.  Deciding to take a 30 minute walk on your lunch breaks instead of lounging in the break room or prepping a salad on a Sunday night to take to work for your lunches to keep you from falling into the takeout pitfall can make a huge difference.  Keep a supply of healthy snacks, such as bananas and nuts in your working space to snack on when the mid-day slump hits. (Also a good idea for when you’re traveling) This will keep you away from the office vending machines. Always remember that everyone needs a break too.   You might think that working through your lunch every day is going to be the key to success, but taking 15 minutes to sit outdoors on a beautiful day to relax will give your batteries the recharging that they need. Similarly, spending an hour on Sunday to organize yourself for the week ahead can give you that extra 15 minutes of sleep you need in the mornings.   On the topic of sleep, your work should never interfere with it.   Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each morning, turning off any notifications that might come up on your phone during the hours you are typically asleep.   If you can only change one habit to benefit your health, let getting enough sleep be it!  You can integrate other habits in later.   If you’re overtired, you’re not going to be on your “A-game”, which will lead to you being frazzled and unorganized.  Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health!

In conclusion, it’s important for every professional to put his or her health first.   By taking care of your body and mind, you’ll be the successful professional you strive to be.   Self confidence will exude from you, and you’ll bring  positive energy to your business and be a role model for work/life balance for your colleagues in the years to come.

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