Before the introduction of the internet, statistical information and scholarly opinions on maintaining physical and mental health were hidden in text books and encyclopaedias as complicated jargon that to anyone other than a qualified professional would look like gobbledygook. Now, with the popularity of blogging, and the democratisation of publishing content, we have the ability to independently research how to take control of our own physical and mental health, so that we can function to the best of our ability.
This is particularly important for marketers in startups to read, as we are ALWAYS under immense pressure and stress.
Out of all the #cleaneating blogs I’ve read, all the inspirational #fitspiration Instagram pages I have followed and all the scholarly reports I’ve read (which is quite a lot) I believe that the following points are the most important in ensuring you’re in the best physcial and mental condition to achieve your goals.
1. GET MORE SLEEP
The saying “sleep when you’re dead” – is NOT one to be followed. Sleeping allows our bodies the down time we need to process the information we ingest during the day and to store it in memory banks, improving our overall concentration and assisting in our ability to learn.
The Sleep Health Foundation advises that although sleep needs vary from person to person, on average adults need around 7-9 hours of sleep per day (if you’re a napper, this includes your naps). They also suggest that you stick to a sleep routine, condition your body to know when it is time to rest, and when it is time to be active. Although it’s impossible to ensure you stick to the exact same amount and same pattern of sleep every day, you should be able to keep a routine most days.
Sleep is an important factor in helping foster mental resilience and physical health, and therefore is crucial to keep you on track to your success.
2. EAT MORE FRESH FOOD
Fresh food, also referred to as raw food, is food that has not been cooked, or exposed to heat of over 50 degrees celsius; a temperature at which Robert Ross from ‘Raw Food Life’ states “the natural enzymes in food are completely detroyed.” Enzymes are proteins that assist in cellular activity and metabolism in the body, enabling us to digest and assimilate the foods that we eat, so that the body can absorb the nutrients and get rid of the waste. When eaten in the right combination (as explained by nutritionist Lauren Talbot), raw foods quickly nourish and leave the body, without requiring too much energy.”
Processed foods on the other hands, often go through a process whereby nutrients and enzymes are removed, and therefore artificial colourings, flavourings , chemical ingredients and preservatives are added to re-introduce the flavour that was lost during processing.
Now, I’m not saying cut out ALL processed foods altogether, as that is both difficult and expensive, but if you simply eat MORE fresh food and reduce your intake of processed foods, it will increase the nutrient level in your body, which will in turn increase your energy levels and mental focus.
3. EXERCISE DAILY
Whether it be a short brisk walk, or an intense 1 hour cardio sesssion, it is SO important that we perform physical exercise on a daily basis. Not only has it been proven to improve your mood and leave you feeling happier and more relaxed, regular physical activity can also help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer and arthritis.
Exercising daily also increases your energy levels – activity fuels more activity. Starting your day with a run, or a workout at the gym can clear your mind, boost your energy and prepare you both physically and mentally for the day ahead. If you want to ensure you stay focused on your career goals and motivated to succeed – I highly recommend daily exercise – that’s not 3/4 times a week, but 7 days.
Now i’m not saying you need to put in a full hour of intense cardio/weight lifting everyday (especially when you’re feeling a bit shady from the night before) but if you just go for a long walk, a short jog or attend a yoga/pilates class in the afternoon once you have spent the day recovering on the couch watching trash TV – I promise you will feel better for it. Getting into a habit of daily exercise will really change your outlook on life, make you a lot more positive and increase your overall energy levels – and trust me, after you get into the routine you’ll really notice it when you HAVE to miss a day.
4. DRINK MORE WATER
Drinking more water is the easiest (and cheapest) way to drastically improve your physical and mental health.
Physically, as our bodies are 60% water, we need to ensure we are drinking enough to replace what we lose as well as maintain the balance of our bodily fluids. Water is needed for most body functions, including to; keep the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels, help eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism, regulate body temperature through sweating and to carry nutrients and oxygen to cells. Not only is water important for the internal bodily functions, but it also has an important impact on ensuring our skin is kept moisturised, maintaining its texture and appearance.
In terms of improving mental health and wellbeing, drinking more water can dramatically increase your energy levels helping you to concentrate, think clearer and stay focused and alert. Dehydration not only causes headaches and migraines, but also has a significant impact on brain function, including memory, reasoning ability, attention span, decision-making abilities and concentration. As the bran is composed of water, it can actually shrink when you are dehydrated!
If you make these small changes – I personally guarantee you will feel better for it, and that it will help you stay motivated, focused and driven to succeed in your career and to enjoy life to it’s full potential.