Please take care of your health. I say this with responsibility, as one plagued by issues brought on by decades on a desk job.
When my health broke down, it did so in spectacular fashion. Three unrelated ailments converged at once. It was as if my body was screaming, “You need to take better care of me, Ms. CEO. I’m going on strike!”
Little Things Create Big Problems
How did I get here? It boils down to a lack of movement and a bad diet.
My back protested first, then my cholesterol numbers started spiking. I was also inexplicably anemic. Finally, my mental health took a downturn turning me into a master procrastinator. I just didn’t have the “bandwidth” for administrative details anymore. So I kept pushing things forward and became late for everything.
My Journey to Good Health
The journey back to health was non-negotiable. I wanted to live. My cholesterol was an easy fix. Apparently, it was Nigerian food that was killing me. So I switched to a more Mediterranean diet. Olive oil exclusively. Veggies with everything and only white meat. In 5 months, my numbers were perfect. Then came exercise. I dislike the gym but love movies, so my motivation for using the treadmill was watching an episode of my favorite series.
My back was not an easy fix. It’s still work-in-progress, but I must remember to stand up regularly. And, I now use a gaming chair and I purchased a standing desk.
My mental health was even harder to resolve. I’ve been working in different countries for a while, and so I miss my family and friends. I forget to call as I prefer physical brunches and sleepovers instead. And the difference in time zones has been a trial.
My 3-Bucket Approach to Life
To maintain internal energy, I adopted a 3-bucket strategy.
Many executives juggle at least 6 things concurrently – work, love, faith, chores, volunteering and self. But, they can only do 2 or 3 things well. As a CEO, you’re used to excellence and rarely accept half-measures. Therefore, trying to do everything at peak level will exhaust you. Choose the most important items.
Find the combination of things that allow you to sleep at least 7 hours a day or if less, to take quality naps. Ask yourself, “How many things can I do and still find time for meditation, exercise and the things/people I love?”
In my case, I needed to prioritize self-care first. So, I blocked off two three-hour slots every week when I am unreachable. I use that time to sleep, meditate, pray and write. Only the living can be CEO. You must be alive first before you can be a good parent, friend or lover.
I chose my 3 buckets carefully – Faith, work and love. Everything else can be outsourced or rescheduled.
What are your top three buckets? Have you defined them yet?
Thank you for reading and may you remain healthy.
For more, please read Young CEO
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