I know it does sound a bit crazy to schedule time for your food and fitness - in our busy lives, surely those things just 'happen'?
However, look at how much time we spend planning our work, get togethers with friends, our kids' social lives, birthday celebrations, training courses, holidays - all of these are happily given priority in our diaries. How much time does this leave for food and fitness? Possibly not a lot! They get left to the last minute and, if there's no time, they probably get forgotten about totally!
In this month's issue of People Management, in 'Stop sickness absence costing you dear' we are told that, of the 131 million days lost to sickness absence in the UK last year, 30% were caused by coughs and colds and many of the rest were lost to musculoskeletal problems. How do we ensure that we reduce this figure? According to Dr John Briffa, it's up to senior leaders to be role models for their employees.
Some employers have identified ways to improve the health of their staff and this is best done by HR adopting the health mission, to educate employees in and out of the office. Here are some steps to keep sickness absence at bay:
1. Have a healthy lunch - that 3 o'clock slump could be the result of carbohydrate laden lunch. Have a protein lunch instead, some protein like chicken, fish, beans or cheese in a salad or a frittata with vegetables
2. Snack on low sugar fruit and nuts throughout the day
3. Reduce caffeine and sugar - the energy drainers!
4. Take a frequent break from your desk and do some simple stretches, or go for a short walk, preferably outside so you can catch some daylight on your skin to energise you
5. Hydrate - make sure you have a jug of water at your desk or a water bottle to hand. Use the urine test to check hydration - your urine should be clear!
6. If you take lunch to work (which is ideal) schedule time for menu planning and food shopping. You'll be surprised how much time this saves you, not to mention cash!
7. And, finally, schedule your fitness, whether early morning, at lunch, or after work. This is the sure way to make it happen. Keep your kit in your car, or by the front door so you have no excuse.
Remember that your mind will give in sooner than your body, so don't give it time to change!
In an ideal world we would work in an environment where employees would be assisted with a wellbeing zone on the company intranet, including a sleep tracker, spotlight on fitness issues and a list of monthly health checks, a coordinator would manage such projects and the rewards for the company would be less absence not to mention a happier and fitter workforce!
On the same topic, Arianna Huffington has just published Thrive, which collates every recent tomb on detoxing, mindfulness, sleep, healthy snacks and she even has nap rooms, one with massage chairs that can be booked for 30 minute sessions at the Huffington Post! 'The idea is to restore energy and creativity'. In a previous life, she was surviving on 4 hours' sleep, answering emails at 3am and living at a crazy pace, which was making her ill.
So when you are looking at your diary for the week, have a think about your food choices, when you can shop for the right food and write in two occasions when you can exercise, it can be a class at the gym, or a walk in the park, or simple exercises with weights at home. Keep the sessions short and you'll be able to fit them in.
So what are the rewards?
No more mid-afternoon energy slumps
Better decision making
And more energy than you know what to do with it!
Ask yourself: 'how can I create enough free time this week? Any ideas, let me know! Good luck!