Technology often drives innovation, but a long walk along the Potomac can, too!
I’m a big believer that well-being creates a major boost to creativity and performance, and frankly to my own peace of mind! I’ve seen it with my team, and I’ve noticed it with myself—some of my best ideas come during a power walk.
Every day, I’m asked how I’m able to fit well-being into my crazy busy work schedule that includes leading a large team and traveling almost every week. It takes a little creativity, but it’s not as hard as you may think.
I’ve learned that the key to building some well-being rituals into your demanding schedule is to keep them simple and easy to incorporate. Add a little discipline to make them stick, and you’re well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Here are a few rituals that have worked for me.
Walking meetings. The benefits of physical exercise are obvious, but sometimes it’s about getting a change of scenery and some fresh air. For me, walking every day isn’t a nice to have, it’s a must have to cope with the stress. Just 30 minutes allows me to work through challenges and clear my head. When the weather isn’t ideal, I walk through the halls of my office or on my home treadmill. One of my Deloitte colleagues who works from home told me that her team has weekly walking conference calls to get away from their desks and devices. Great idea!
At a recent executive leadership meeting, I made a point to include a wellness hike in the agenda. In place of a traditional coffee break, we all took a 45-minute nature walk on a nearby trail. While some were skeptical at first, the feedback was positive. It led to several one-on-one conversations about strategic business matters but also personal catch-ups as well. Everyone returned to the meeting refreshed and recharged (skeptics included).
Clean eating. The food you eat can directly impact your energy levels. And the more energy you have, the more you can get done. The result? A greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s tempting to gorge on leftover cookies from that catered lunch meeting, or to grab that extra bag of chips, but it will sap your energy later. I try to pay attention to how my diet affects my energy and I plan my meals and snacks strategically.
One of the perks of being the boss is to be able to choose our breakfast and lunch menus at team meetings. My team already knows to opt for healthy and natural food, like lean protein, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-sugar desserts and plenty of water. Sometimes this requires a little creative prodding with the caterer, but most food service providers are more than willing to accommodate their customers’ requests.
Clean eating is now a lifestyle choice I would never change. I feel healthier, more alert and more energetic. And more productive.
Take a break. I love what I do, but it comes with a lot of stress and pressure. On some level, I thrive on it. But when it gets to be too much, I take a break. It could be just a day or two, but even a short time away to focus on things outside of work rejuvenates me.
When I step away, I ask my leadership team to avoid sending anything for review unless it’s urgent, and I designate a person to answer for me. Taking a proactive approach to time away is the key. When I have peace of mind that issues will be handled, I’m able to truly unplug.
Improving your overall well-being may require a bit of a mind shift, but a few simple steps can lead to great strides. As a leader, I try to be a role model who encourages, creates and promotes a well-being culture for my teams. I’ve found that having a healthy mind, body, and soul helps get us to our peak performance level and sets us up for success.
The first step to enhancing your wellness in a busy life is the hardest. Try an activity or two for a week, and it’ll quickly become a habit. Pay attention to differences in your energy level, mood and performance. If you’re like me, you’ll see a big improvement.
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