As a savvy executive, you know the importance of a smart investment. Making the right investment now will save you an exorbitant amount of time, money, and frustration down the road. But are you making strategic investments in your health?
While many leaders prioritize investing in work, developing just a few smart, prevention-based habits can keep you working at peak performance, longer. If you’ve heard the phrase, “prevention is better than cure,” you know that preventing illnesses can save you both time and money down the line. Alternatively, if you need to seek a cure, you may need to devote ample time and money to tests, doctor’s visits, and more. Moreover, these health problems can halt your career growth significantly and require you to invest in extensive recovery time.
So, what are the habits of a healthy leader that you should cultivate sooner rather than later?
6 Prevention Habits Leaders Should Cultivate
Here are six preventative habits leaders can use to stay healthy and remain at the top of their game for as long as possible.
1. Strengthen Your Social Network
Relationships aren’t just beneficial for business; they’re also good for your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social connectedness leads to healthier overall choices and improves your ability to manage stress, anxiety, and depression.
When was the last time you spent quality time with your friends or family? If you’ve been spending a lot of time on your own lately, you may want to reconnect with friends, family members, and colleagues, for both the health and networking benefits.
Schedule time into your calendar to ensure you’re prioritizing these relationships, whether that means planning a family dinner or booking a spa day with a friend. To build new professional relationships, attend networking events in your industry where you can meet like-minded professionals.
2. Stay Adequately Hydrated
It’s a simple habit, but one that many people struggle to maintain. If you’re not drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day, your bodily and cognitive functions could be suffering. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, poor sleep, and memory issues. In fact, even a mere 2% decline in hydration can lead you to experience these problems.
Alternatively, when you’re adequately hydrated, you’ll quickly see the benefits. One study found that drinking water before cognitive tests could boost performance by as much as 14%. Beyond the mental impact, drinking enough water can improve your skin and help you prevent infections; notably, fewer infections mean fewer sick days.
If you, like so many, struggle with meeting your recommended daily water intake, invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it on your desk to remind yourself to drink up throughout the day. Additionally, set calendar reminders so you won’t forget to hydrate, even if the workday gets hectic.
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3. Prioritize Sleep
Prioritizing sleep is challenging for many people, especially those accustomed to working late or who may have a mountain of tasks to tackle. However, it’s crucial to recognize that sleep deprivation is a silent killer.
Experts recommend we aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to ensure we experience optimal cognitive function and well-being. Getting adequate sleep improves your immune system, optimizes your energy levels, and increases longevity.
To kickstart this habit, consider establishing a wind-down routine to relax both your mind and body, preparing them for a restful night’s sleep. Consistency is key; follow your nightly routine and ensure you go to bed at the same time each night.
4. Invest in Continuous Learning
Although not directly tied to preventive health, the practice of continuous learning can yield career benefits, subsequently reducing stress and contributing to a healthier, happier you. Consider exploring courses aligned with your profession and acquiring new skills to elevate your career. Stay informed about emerging leadership strategies and industry trends and allocate time in which to invest in personal growth. This investment will help you build mental agility, mitigating stress and enabling you to navigate new challenges with ease. Additionally, it will help you stay competitive in your field.
5. Develop Stress Management Techniques
Every leader facing a busy schedule encounters stress. However, it’s vital not to allow stress to wreak havoc on your well-being. Take the initiative to develop and practice stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, all of which have the potential to enhance your overall health and productivity.
If you find it challenging to carve out time for stress-relieving activities, consider starting your day with a brief meditation session or incorporating a deep breathing exercise into a portion of your lunch break. Seek opportunities to integrate small, health-promoting habits into your workday.
6. Exercise Regularly
One of the most effective strategies for preventing future health issues is establishing a regular exercise routine. Exercise helps you manage stress, improves your mood, enhances your work performance, leads to better decisions, plays a pivotal role in helping you maintain your physical health, prevents cardiovascular decline, and potentially extends your lifespan. Some of the world’s oldest individuals attribute their longevity to their daily exercise habits.
If fitting exercise into your busy schedule is a challenge, aim to work out first thing in the morning before you can come up with an excuse. If you can’t work out before you begin your day, there are numerous small yet effective ways to incorporate physical activity into your workday. For instance, if you work in an office building, opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator, take walking meetings instead of sitting, or bike to work instead of driving. You can also utilize your lunch break for quick exercises such as push-ups, weightlifting, or yoga.
For added accountability, consider hiring a personal trainer or health coach and schedule workout classes in advance, so you’re more inclined to go.
The Bottom Line
By investing in preventative measures now, you can protect your health, and continue to enhance your leadership skills and success for years to come.
If you struggle with building healthy habits into your life, book a free coaching call with one of Arootah’s health coaches to see how we can help you reach your goals.