If you’re looking to improve your life quality, there are a few actions you can take that come to mind.
Understand that life quality isn’t just the things we have control over. Some of what impacts us can also be an external force or motivator, and they each have different impacts on us.
For example, stress from a job, especially when you have to take on some leadership roles and tackle tricky situations and make difficult decisions, can lead to external pressures.
Perhaps you have to downsize or fire a team member and are afraid to take that action, or maybe you fret over the decisions you make, knowing that an error in judgment can impact the lives of all the members of your organization.
Look, we’re all human. It’s impossible to be in a position of having to make a difficult decision and not have some level of stress.
The key is to understand its damage and what we can do about it.
Whatever it is that you stress about, the reality is that stress can have significant impacts on our wellbeing.
So what can be done to minimize the stress in our lives and make us more effective in our roles and responsibilities?
Three words. Diet, exercise, and sleep.
The Benefits Of Diet, Exercise, And Sleep
Understand first that there are different types of stress, and they each do other things to our bodies and minds.
The first type of stress is the most obvious, which is harmful and is called distress. Over time, negative stress can weaken the immune system, impair brain function, and contribute to significant health issues making this form of stress a primary need for us to focus on changing.
This type of effect can manifest itself in insecurity, anxiety, fear of the unknown, job loss or performance, the tragic loss of a loved one, and many other ways.
Eustress, or positive stress, is the lesser-known and felt stress type. Positive stress can be an action that inspires, motivates, challenges, and strengthens us. Examples of positive stress are marriages, pregnancy, job promotions, recognition of achievements, and many others.
The most damaging of these two stressors is the negative form, and that is what we need to focus on eliminating as much as possible from our lives.
The saying, “we are what we eat” is as true today as it was when it was first coined.
Our bodies need high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins to survive.
Protein is the building block of all life, and high-quality proteins strengthen bones and muscles and provide large sources of energy.
Carbohydrates provide fuel in both short bursts and sustained energy and offer a large amount of fiber in the diet, which aids with digestion and weight control.
Fats, especially good fats that are found in fish, lean proteins, olive oils, and avocados, are the way your body sustains energy over a long period, aids in brain function, as well as nerve conduction.
The best time of the day to eat and eat well is breakfast. Studies show that people who have a balanced breakfast show improved mental function, have improved energy, and are typically healthier than those that skip this meal.
A good strategy is to start your day with a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fruit. Eggs with bacon and avocado, a cereal made from whole grains like oatmeal, and fruit are great suggestions.
Not everyone is a workout wonk. I get it.
But exercise does have some significant benefits for the body.
In fact, daily exercise for 30-minutes a day is thought to increase life expectancy and longevity. Additional benefits are improved cardiovascular health, muscle development and bone density, weight control, improved immune system, increased stamina, better energy levels, more profound and more prolonged sleep, and elevated moods.
Of the three areas we need to focus on for a better quality of life, sleep is often the one we sacrifice first and the easiest. Why is it that we can be exhausted and skip an hour of sleep and think we’ll be better off for it?
Sleep serves as the way for the body and mind to heal and recuperate, aids in digestion, and reduces stress.
That’s right. We need rest to reduce our stress. If you’re in any leadership position, you probably are already under a lot of stress, so finding mechanisms to sleep better longer is critical for your well-being.