A Guest Post by Michele Grow – CEO, Benestar
We live in an increasingly busy world – and that busyness can take a toll on our wellbeing.
Energy is not only a critical component of wellbeing, it is also a major contributor to our overall health and productivity.
Put simply, energy is the strength and vitality we need for sustained physical and mental activity. And energy breeds energy! Think about the most energetic person you know and what a positive impact they have on the people around them.
On the down side, without sufficient energy we can’t perform well, can’t manage our health well, and can’t enjoy life to its fullest.
In the workplace, insufficient energy means reduced productivity and reduced engagement. While energy is important it is not always compatible with the world we live in. The world of work today presents a few challenges:
– A significant volume of change
– The need to do more with less
– Increasing customer/stakeholder expectation
– Increasing workload
– Increasing levels of conflict and aggression
– Reduced opportunities to take breaks
– And a ‘blurring’ of work and life
The challenges of the world of work can rob us of much needed energy. Being aware of situations and events that drain our energy can help us to place more attention on avoiding them or managing them differently. Here are a few of the more common energy robbers:
1. Stress – is the number one modifiable health risk in virtually every geography globally – and one of the greatest consumers of our energy
2. Change – is the new normal and both positive and negative change create a degree of stress
3. Conflict – is on the increase in the community and in our workplaces and while some elements of conflict can be positive and constructive, other elements can be highly damaging. Conflict not only drains our energy, it also reduces morale and is one of the hidden causes of absenteeism
4. Technology – our significant and increasing use of technology is not only an energy robber, it drains a significant amount of our time and reduces our ‘real’ communication. Ask yourself this – is the first thing you touch in the morning your mobile device or your partner?
5. Inactivity – not moving doesn’t reserve your energy, it drains it! In our increasingly sedentary lives we need to make a conscious effort to move more, and more frequently to keep our energy levels high
6. Dehydration – decreases our alertness, our concentration and leads to fatigue. In the workplace dehydrated employees are likely to be less productive, so for yourself and your colleagues encourage water consumption!
7. Nutrition – what we eat, how we eat, and when we eat directly impacts our energy … and our weight. We have one of the fastest growing obesity rates in the world – and you guessed it, excess weight drains energy
8. Sleep – is not only critical to our energy, but also to our health. Almost 1 in 2 people have poor sleep patterns which lead to fatigue and irritability and put us at risk of low productivity, damage to our mental health, and likelihood of engaging in unsafe behaviours.
9. Substances – our reliance on alcohol and other substances is often a way of managing stress. Not only does alcohol drain our energy, it contributes to the death of 15 Australians every single day, and to the hospitalisation of a further 430.
10. Lack of balance – while there is no such thing as the perfect balance of work and life, putting in place some protocols around taking regular breaks, keeping track of work hours, and working in a way that works best for your individual circumstances can all make a positive difference
The world we live in and great energy are not always completely compatible, so we need to ensure were doing everything we can to stay on top. Here’s a few simple strategies to combat some of the things that drain our energy.
– Get enough sleep – good sleep hygiene will make a serious different to your energy … and almost everything else
– Keep hydrated – water not only increases your energy, it also improves your health, fitness, weight control and mood
– Maintain a healthy diet – your diet provides your body with the fuel it needs to perform. Good gut health and good nutrition make a major difference to your health and your energy
– Exercise regularly – it doesn’t need to be major, you just need to start and make it regular. Fifteen minutes of walking a day is an easy start – there is no cost, you can do it anywhere and anytime, and its hard to find an excuse!
– Regular rest and relaxation – give your mind and your body a break. Read a book, watch a movie, practice meditation or mindfulness, learn a breathing exercise, socialise with others – it doesn’t matter too much what you do as long as you give yourself some time to recover
– Don’t run on empty – if you start to feel tired, depleted, or lacking energy, it’s time to act!
We often talk about the importance (or the challenge) of managing our time. Adopting a different approach can help you to enhance your effectiveness significantly by managing your energy, rather than your time. Try it and see the impact it has for you!