Lifestyle 31 March 2017
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.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.