In the first section we talked about some of the benefits from being a healthy leader and several reasons why leader forsake their health. We also talked about the first habit which was the food, drink, and drugs we consume. I’d recommend reading the first part if you have not already. Let’s continue talking about how leaders can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sleep plays a huge role in your overall health. It’s important to obtain enough quality sleep each night. When you practice the habit of sleeping long enough your body will feel better and more energized. Failing to sleep enough on the other hand has the potential to harm your immune system, energy level, mental capacity, work productivity, and brings on a variety of other issues.
It’s a fact that leaders are not always able to obtain the proper amount of sleep each night. There are seasons when the workload demands long hours and the leader has to function on only a few hours of sleep at night. This should be the exception and not the norm though.
If you are noticing you are not able to obtain the sleep you need, you should reconsider your priorities and tasks so you are able to sleep enough. To obtain enough sleep you should create bedtime habits that promote quality sleep and consider taking naps.
Bedtime habits- There are several things you can do to prepare yourself for a goodnight sleep. You should consider: doing activities that rest your body and mind at least 30 minutes before you try going to sleep (like reading a book), writing out a to-do list for the next day or anything you are thinking about to clear your mind, and refrain from eating large food portions. When you are going to sleep you should turn of your phone, consider listening to soft music, having the room dark, and turning the TV off. These things can help you to get a good night rest.
Naps- You may want to get into the habit of taking short naps during the day. The key is to limit the amount of time you sleep to 15-20 minutes at a time. The short nap can increase your focus and energy level. It can be more beneficial than consuming a drink with a lot of sugar or caffeine. Taking naps during seasons where you are not able to sleep a lot during the night can really recharge your energy and get you through the day.
Regular exercise is a vital aspect to living a healthy lifestyle. Edward Stanley insightfully said, “Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Exercising and working out brings both physical and psychological benefits including:
- Lowers stress levels
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence
- Provides energy and strength
- Increases mental capacity and awareness
- Protects against health issues or diseases
There are ways you can make exercising a regular habit. You can implement exercise into your daily routine or schedule a regular time to work out.
Daily routine- Thinking you need a formal time and place to work out is often an excuse not to exercise. No matter how busy you might be there are ways for you to implement this habit into your everyday life. Three practical ways are to: Park at the end of the parking lot so you walk farther, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do cardio during a break or during down times. You can also stretch while you are at your desk or on a phone call. These little amounts of exercise here and there can really add up and allow you to be healthy.
Scheduled time- This is about intentionally setting aside time on a regular basis to work out. I recommend exercising 2-3 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Depending on the workout, like taking a walk, you still might be able to make business calls or listen to personal growth content. Remember anything is better than nothing so if you can only set aside time once a week to work out, it’s better than nothing.
Questions: How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle? How has sleep and exercise impacted your leadership?
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