Today is World Health Day and this year’s theme focuses on building a fairer and healthier world for everyone.
While those of us with busy work schedules are usually fortunate to have access to healthcare services, today provides an opportunity for us to check in on ourselves.
A fast-paced work environment is often seen as a good thing – after all, it symbolizes growth and progress. But not at the expense of your own health.
If you’re feeling burned out, stressed, or just concerned about how you’ll juggle work and wellbeing, read on. We’ve got 10 tips for staying healthy while you’re in the fast lane.
1. Make time for movement
Ever read an interview with a CEO about their schedule, and marveled at how they’re able to spring out of bed at 4 a.m?
Wherever you look and whoever you ask, you’ll always be told that exercise is important for health. It’ll do amazing things to your productivity levels, too.
The World Health Organization notes that regular physical activity improves your cognitive health and your sleep, among other things.
So you might not want (or need) to wake up at 4 a.m, but act like a CEO and make exercise a daily habit, no matter what that looks like:
- Carve a workout into your day, whether early in the morning or in your lunch break.
- Purchase an adjustable desk, so that you can sit and stand with ease.
- Break up every task with a walk, even if it’s a tiny circuit around your desk space.
2. Draw a line between work and home
Working from home has become the norm for a lot of people in the last year, from small business owners to corporate employees.
It’s so tempting to roll out of bed and into a meeting, or eat every meal at your desk now that nobody else can see you – or silently judge you.
But don’t let the lines get blurred: as soon as work and home become one, you’ll never feel fully rested after a day at your computer.
From changing into work attire to clocking off at dinner time, make a clear, separate space for your personal life.
3. Embrace saying ‘no’
Setting boundaries in business is one of the most important things you can do for your mental and physical health.
While we wouldn’t recommend rejecting every task that crosses your desk, your coworkers or customers should know your limits when it comes to availability.
Rather than giving a flat-out ‘no’ when you’ve reached your workload limit, use proactive ways to push back on projects that are compromising your productivity levels.
Advise when you will be able to pick up a task, swap it for another item on your to-do list, or – if you lead a team – start delegating.
4. Prepare for important events
When everything in your working life is fast-paced, it can be tricky to stop and think about the milestone business moments you experience.
That could be pitching to new clients, delivering an exciting new project, or entering a new quarter in the calendar year.
Although you should be taking care of your health at all times, make sure that you take whatever extra steps you need to be able to glide through an important event.
These are the moments that require your focus the most, so prioritize your wellbeing and make sure that you can reach your business goals:
- Clear your schedule of unnecessary meetings in the run-up to a milestone event.
- Get plenty of rest – working overtime might actually slow you down.
- Feed your body with good, nutritious, and filling foods.
5. Break your day into chunks
Staring at a long day of meetings and tasks can make you want to curl up in bed, or do the opposite and sit at your laptop for 12 straight hours with no breaks.
Instead, find ways to maximize your productivity by dividing your day into manageable chunks. Give yourself set amounts of time for focus, collaboration, and rest.
There are plenty of methods for breaking up your workday to capitalize on your most productive moments. Let’s be honest, we’re not all switched on 100% of the time.
Whether it’s organizing your calendar into blocks or using time management apps, find a format to suit your needs.
6. Take regular breaks
You might not realize right away that skipping breaks is harmful for your health. A missed lunch break here, a day of not moving there – it all adds up.
As part of your time management routine, prioritize regular breaks from business matters. It might sound counterproductive, but it’s the opposite.
Taking 5 minutes to feel fresh air on your face, meditate, or even stare into space can reboot your mind for the next block of work.
Find what works for you. If you can’t switch off, pick an activity that uses your brain but in a different way – how about a sudoku puzzle?
7. Practice mindfulness
When it comes to managing your health in a fast-paced work environment, you’ll often find that advice circles back to your mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness is about being present in the moment: noticing what you think and feel and focusing on that rather than anxieties about the future.
This can help you to be more productive in dealing with tasks as well as identify when you’re starting to feel stressed or overloaded with work.
It’s worth researching the practice of mindfulness so that you can embrace it as part of your business routine.
8. Prepare meals ahead of time
It’s easier than ever to have fast food delivered to your workplace, especially if that workplace is your home. But regular takeouts can take a toll on your health.
Sure, after a long morning of working on your website or completing a task, nothing is more tempting and convenient than scrolling through food delivery apps for lunch.
Everything is great in moderation, but you might want to kick the takeout habit if you value both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Nutritious food that you’ve prepared ahead of time is great for the days when you’re busy with business. Here’s why meal prep can pay off:
- You can prepare tasty food that’ll feed your brain, too.
- Throughout a busy week, you’ll save hours of time deciding what to order.
- It’ll also save you money – if you’re scaling a business, that’s got to be appealing.
9. Keep healthy snacks at hand
Some people aren’t into snacking at all – kudos if that’s you. For the rest of us, though, snacks feature heavily throughout the working week.
In moments of stress, anxiety, and even boredom, the easiest and tastiest snacks tend to be the least healthy or fulfilling.
For chocolate fiends, or workers with a hidden stash of chips in their desk drawer, that mid-afternoon crash we get is often because of these sugar-filled, albeit delicious snacks.
Keep things like nuts, fruits, and dark chocolate within reach for the times when you need to perk yourself up. Your energy levels will thank you.
10. Celebrate every success
Don’t forget to stop and soak in the joy that comes from doing a good job. If you work in a fast-paced environment, it’s likely that you work hard.
So whether you work in a team, manage a team, or have embraced solopreneur life, make time to celebrate every success, big or small.
We get it – your job is fast-paced, so there’s not always time to decorate your workspace and pop the champagne.
That said, acknowledging your wins is vital. It’s great for your mental wellbeing, and it’ll push you to achieve that next objective, too.