It is 1pm and you have been sitting at your desk for the past four hours trying to find ways to be productive. Emails are sent, social media is checked, and you’ve logged in some numbers on your spreadsheet. Feeling satisfied, you push your chair away for a small break, and then it hits you…hard. That slow rumble in your gut, the thirst in your mouth, and you realize you are hungry. You make your way down to the kitchen and open the refrigerator, only to stand there….staring for several minutes. You close the fridge, open it, close it again, and open it again, hoping that magically, something edible will appear.
Believe it or not, maintaining a healthy diet is one of entrepreneur’s biggest struggles. When working in an office, it is customary to follow the crowd out for an easy, grab and go lunch.
However, now you are at home and you have to prep, cook and clean up. Just that thought is exhausting. After all, you want your energy devoted to your new business, not the dishes.
Self-care is one of the most important components of having a successful business. You are the face and the voice of your business. If you do not feel or look well, then you cannot accurately represent your company. While we are taught to not judge a book by its cover; when it comes to first impressions in business, we most certainly do that. So your health must come first, and what you eat is a major contributor to your health.
You have approximately 80,000 meals per lifetime. Each of these meals is an opportunity to nourish your amazing body. However, between client calls, emails, and all the intricate details that a successful entrepreneur must do, planning meals and healthy eating quickly fall to the wayside. It is easy to let yourself come last; when in fact, you should be first. After all, if you don’t put yourself first, who will?
Approach self-care like you would any new job: Outline your goals, do some research, make an implementation plan, then carry things out step by step to ensure victory. For instance, if your goal is to have enough energy to accomplish your business plan, then make a plan to cook three wholesome recipes at home each week. Look up some recipes, plan out your list, and head to the store (or order online) to ensure your kitchen is stocked with the right ingredients. In doing so, you will empower yourself to be as successful in the kitchen as you are in your business. You don’t need to be a skilled cook, and you don’t need to post every meal on Instagram. With the meal planning methods outlined below, you can make your week days easier, give your body the fuel it needs for you go out and conquer the world, and keep you from blankly staring at the refrigerator shelves or ordering take-out for the third day in a row.
It’s all in the prep
Once a week, after the supermarket, take one hour to wash the vegetables and fruits, chop up celery, carrots, pineapples, melons or whatever is easy for daily snacks and/or kids’ lunches. This is also a good time to throw some vegetables and herbs into a large stock pot with some water to make vegetable stock. You can use this stock throughout the week in soups, sauces or as a warm snack. Freeze whatever is left over for a later date.
Photo: Mommy Hates Cooking
Cook once, eat thrice
If you do get around to cooking for yourself or your family, then make sure to think just one step ahead. Cook once, eat thrice is a time-saving, multi-tasking method that helps you plan several meals at one time. For example, if you are boiling rice, make one cup extra. You can make a dish with that rice the next day, freeze some for soup later on, or create a rice pudding later in the week for dessert. All whole grains like rice, quinoa, millet or barley are versatile. Another example is chicken. Cooking eight chicken breasts takes just a few more minutes than making one, and you can use the leftover meat in so many ways such as soup, curry, casseroles or salads. Store them in individual baggies, so you can quickly defrost one the night before.
Don’t be afraid of short cuts in the kitchen
We live in a culture that emphasizes glamourous, high quality, chef-styled meals. But let’s face it; you are a successful entrepreneur, not a chef. In fact, even chefs and accomplished home cooks take short cuts. So, take the pressure off and get out your slow-cooker, serve omelets for dinner or make a quick salad. It’s okay. The important part is to focus on fresh, vegetable-centered meals that are nourishing and provide the energy you need to succeed.
Many people are dismayed by the thought of actually going to the supermarket or even planning meals. However, in most cities, you can easily order your groceries online. Take it one step further, and explore services that deliver prepped meals with recipes to your door. All you have to do is cook. If this fits your budget, it can be a great time-saver.
Organize your pantry
Having a well-stocked pantry with healthy items is a time-saver. Stock your pantry with whole grains, beans, canned tomatoes, coconut milk and store-bought broths, which will help create a quick and nutritious meal and complement fresh components well.
Remember that each day you have the opportunity to eat in a way that either heals or harms your body. As an entrepreneurial woman, it is important to keep your body fueled, nourished and at the top of your game, so that you can live out your passion and purpose. Creating health should be your number one business strategy.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.