At the young age of 29 I was so overworked, stressed and overweight that I suffered a heart attack and almost lost my life. I was barely surviving in the haze of my high-pressured job. The few hours I was not chained to my desk were spent at lavish business lunches or indulging in late night takeaways. To make matters worse I was consuming a two bottles of wine a day and living a completely sedentary lifestyle.
Clearly I was a heart-attack waiting to happen but I see so many people falling into the same trap I did in their efforts to get ahead with their careers. It is a harsh world out there; people are having to work harder than ever for incredibly long hours and with the constant availability of ‘quick fix’ convenience food, it can seem an uphill struggle to find a balance.
My heart attack proved to be the turning point for my personal heath transformation and I realised I was playing a dangerous game. I realised how important it was to look after my personal health in order to ensure career longevity without burning out. Finally I made drastic changes to regain balance and here’s my top tips how to:
Take responsibility of your own life
When you begin considering your personal wellbeing with equal importance to your work commitments and look after yourself accordingly, you will begin respecting yourself, you will start to have increased energy levels, and with that you will reap the reward in your personal life, in relationships and in your career.
We know exercise is something we all need to achieve in our day. Particularly those who spend their work life chained to a desk. The first change to make is to commit to exercise like you would an important meeting. It is equally important, and sometimes exercise should come before an important meeting! Why not? This is your health.
Contrary to what many believe you do not have to spend two hours in the gym every day to get the benefits of exercise. Whether it be a gym class, walking the dog, or arranging tennis or football with friends, the important thing is that you are using your body and taking this time for yourself in your day. Make sure, whatever it is, you enjoy it. Whilst health is a commitment, it should not be a chore.
Staying healthy when abroad
When you are travelling from time zone to time zone, in and out of aeroplanes and are living in hotel rooms, even the most committed can struggle to look after themselves. My advice for making it through this situation unscathed is, firstly, to ensure that you book in to hotels that have fitness facilities where possible. However limited they may be, you can always do something and something is far better than nothing. Failing that, why not to a YouTube workout in your hotel room? They’re quick, easy and provide no excuses.
When trying to make healthy choices from hotel menus, keep things simple. Choose fresh grilled foods and avoid eating rich heavy foods that may keep you up and affect your productivity the next day. Make sure you drink plenty of water, dehydration is one of the biggest killers of a productive day and a healthy lifestyle.
Navigating social occasions
All too often socialising and weekend activities revolve around eating and drinking. From the pints in the pub on a Friday night, the Saturday morning fry up that full Sunday Roast- the excess is a lot for your body.
I do not advocate avoiding social occasions and life’s indulgences but what I would say is that too much weekend excess can make it difficult to get back in to a healthy routine during the week and the ups and downs of excess and restraint can play havoc on both your mind and body.
Try instead allowing yourself one night off from your healthy routine, make a meal you’ve been craving, put your feet up and relax. For the remainder of your weekend stay
conscious of your health.
Believe me I understand the difficultly in staying balanced. The important thing to remember is why you started, how much better you feel when you treat your body well, when you give your mind the space it needs and how effective you can be when fit and well.