How your nutrition and lifestyle impact the way you think at work
I need to start with a bold statement: You can't afford to eat and live in a less than optimal way.
You are busy and your job requires that you work long hours. You are under pressure and short on time. You probably don’t sleep well, are stressed, and still, you need to be on top of your game every day.
They all count on you: your company, your shareholders, your teams, and last but not least, your family. They expect you to be focused, make smart decisions, develop business strategies, and be an inspiring leader and a devoted mum or dad.
Obviously, you can perform successfully for some time if you smoke, drink too much, and eat a bad diet, and don’t exercise – but over time it comes at a cost.
There’s a lot at stake.
Looking after your body is essential if you want to think clearly, increase your mental agility and lateral thinking. What affects your performance, decision making, thought processes, how well you do your job? We obviously don’t need to focus on primary skills: Andy Murray knows how to swing a tennis racket; you know how to read a balance sheet or how to negotiate a contract.
But what about secondary competencies? Can things like resilience, physical and mental strength, and inner calm impact the way you think? After working with corporate clients for years I can safely say that sustained high brain capacity requires supportive capacities.
We tend to deal with humans only from the neck up. But is that it? Rather quickly it has become evident that body and mind need to work together to achieve great things every day.
Looking at these supportive capacities, they are clearly impacted by nutrition, hydration, sleep, mental and physical activity, and recovery. Constant pressure on our brain without the best fuels combined with decent recovery eventually will deplete your energy reserves and ultimately undermines performance.
The busier you are the better you should eat and live. Look after yourself: eat well, keep active, throw in some lifestyle changes and you are on your way! Your body and brain hold the key to performing at your intellectual peak, vitality, energy, and contentment.
The three pillars of how to achieve clear thinking and optimal living:
a. Stop snacking and don’t skip meals. Eat 3 meals, healthy, balanced, and fresh.
b. Your brain runs on carbohydrates, choose wisely: whole grains, vegetables, pulses.
c. Add in Magnesium, Omega 3, Vitamin D, Iron: oily fish, almonds, mushrooms, Brazil nuts, lean meats, spinach.
d. Reduce sugar and alcohol, both play havoc with your energy levels, mood, and weight.
e. Forget meal deals, sandwich platters and pastries. Bah.
a. Move your body: early in the morning is best. Add your workout to your calendar like a meeting.
b. Break a sweat. Weight bearing exercises are better than cardio.
c. Get outside, no matter the weather. Extend your lunch break by 20min and get away from your screen.
d. Get yourself a standing desk!
a. Sleep – you need 7-8hrs. No discussion. Catching up on sleep at the weekends doesn’t work. To reset your sleep pattern, go to bed and get up at the same time for three weeks (including the weekends).
b. Stop smoking
c. Take time for yourself, your partner, your family. Turn your phone (or at least your social media) off at 19:00.