You’re probably aware of how self care makes a different to how you feel. Getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water can all help to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
But what you may not realise is exactly how much sleep deprivation for example can influence everything you do. Here’s a few reasons why self care impacts performance in the workplace or home.
How Sleep Impacts Performance
How much sleep should you get? The answer to this question differs from person to person. However, there are ways to improve your optimum level of sleep. Did you know that in most studies into self care, getting enough sleep comes before even food and physical activity. It’s the MOST important thing.
Sleep is a key element to improving your health and wellbeing. There are so many benefits, including;
- Sleep gives your body time to restore itself
- It allows your brain to process the activities of the day
- Improves your concentration, mood and general health
- Dreaming can offer you solutions and new ideas
- It even links with keeping a healthy weight
Whereas sleep deprivation produces the opposite. It can damage our physical and mental health, as well as lower immunity. Hence you become less able to fight off illness. It can increase the risk of obesity and illnesses such as diabetes.
When it comes to your brain, depriving yourself of even just 90 minutes sleep can cause a drop in cognition of 30%. Sleep deprivation can also cause cognitive symptoms similar to drinking 5 pints of beer! You are too exhausted to work, concentrate or even spend quality time at home with your family.
How Hydration Impacts Performance
Your body is made of up to 60% water. Hence it makes perfect sense that you need to hydrate to retain optimum performance. As well as this, there are many other benefits, including;
- Drinking water helps our vital organs to work
- It helps digestion through the saliva and stomach mix
- Allows the brain to manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters
- It regulates the body temperature through sweating
- Water allows the body’s cells to grow
- It flushes body waste through using.
Additionally, drinking enough water is another way to maintain a healthy weight balance. If you don’t drink enough, this can be confused with hunger pangs, so you eat instead.
However, you may just need to drink more water. Don’t replace food with water, but if you have snack hunger pangs, try drinking a glass of water first. This simple habit can help to reduce your snacking.
A top tip here is to stick with still water and avoid sparkling or fizzy drinks.
Drinks with sugar in them will make you thirstier. Another tip is to keep the water at room temperature. This is because icy drinks can send you to the toilet quickly!
If you find drinking 6-8 glasses of water tricky per day, then don’t forget, there’s plenty of water in plant foods and vegetables as well. For example, lettuce, celery, radishes, cucumber, courgettes and tomatoes are made of 95% water.
Meanwhile, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and broccoli are made of 90% water. So keep adding these vegetables and more to your meals and snacks every day.
This is a big part of self care and health of course. Because everyone is different, what suits you to eat may not be the same as the person sitting next to you. For example, perhaps you love a roast dinner with all the trimmings and enjoy eating meat and carbs regularly.
If this works for you in terms of health, weight and enjoyment then that’s perfectly acceptable.
However, someone else may find these foods simply too heavy and bloating and prefer to eat lighter plant based meals more often.
Others have allergies or reactions to dairy, egg or nuts for example, while some can thrive from following a special diet.
So what are the key elements when talking about food and self care?
- Energy in, energy out. What you put in to your body reflects on your behaviour, performance or self esteem. For more energy, you need a balanced diet covering the main food types.
- The sugar problem. Sugar is found in almost all pre packed or processed food. There’s even additional sugar in organic products. The hormone insulin kicks in when we eat something sweet and drops after digestion. Hence the ‘sugar high and low’. Although it may give you a boost, this is only in the short term. And then you will experience a crash or withdrawal effect.
- WHO recommendations. The World Health Organisation recommends just 40g of sugar a day. 40 g of sugar is the equivalent of 2 bananas, 1 bowl of rice of 1 glass of wine. In the western world, the majority of people are way above theses levels. Perhaps it’s something worth thinking about.
Doing more physical activity won’t impact your body mass as much as nutrition. So if you want to lose weight, you’ll have to work on your diet first, then exercise.
However, there are so many other benefits to physical activity, that you must include it when improving your health and self care.
For example increasing your physical activity can;
- Increase your metabolism
- Release endorphins and brain chemicals that you make you feel good as you do it.
- High impact exercise can release adrenalin which makes you feel more alert
- Exercising outdoors gives you an extra shot of Vitamin D
- Cardiovascular exercise can increase your oxygen capacity.
- If you want to do exercise to increase muscle mass then this can give you more body confidence.
In relation to the workplace and your performance, being more physically active can help to increase your stamina and energy.
Additionally, it can help you to fight off illnesses by strengthening your immune system. As well as this, it helps your body to thrive and regenerate.
With this in mind, you can start with small changes. You don’t have to introduce a high intensity daily routine with some weight training thrown in.
Try doing some gentle exercise such as walking to start with. Even standing up regularly is better than sitting down all day. Move your body as often as you can. This will keep your muscles moving, your joints supple and give you a different viewpoint and energy.
Conclusion: How Self Care Impacts Performance
To sum up, this article covers 4 aspects of self care and health which can impact performance. But there are many more. Strengthwise offers a series of life coaching courses which can help to build up your sustainable performance.
Learn how to make changes that can improve your wellbeing, lead to a happier life and align with your values. Choose one of 5 courses, or learn from all of them for a special online membership price. Visit Strengthwise.co for more information.