Italian Summer Salad via Proud Italian Cook
Now it's February, we're allowed to talk about our health without being a massive 'new year, new me' cliche right? Hipster "I'm far too cool to set resolutions" sensibilities aside, when it comes to your improving your health there's no time like the present to make positive changes and if that means it's at the beginning of a new year, then so be it.
We all know that with owning a small business, one can expect to make sacrifices. Be it saying goodbye to weekends in front of the TV, or random nights out down the pub with your friends, the security of a regular wage and being able to leave your job at your desk of an evening; but does your health have to be another sacrifice as a self-employed type? All too often I hear friends and peers making excuses that they're 'too busy' to attend that netball session they keep banging on about, or 'too snowed under' to even consider cooking themselves a meal from scratch, or have far too many things to do to get the pre-requiste eight hours shut-eye a night. And I'm here, dear readers, to call bullshit on all of the above.
You see, I don't feel too preachy to be able to say that, because boy I've been there. Locking myself in the office for days on end and not seeing sunlight, to get my accounts up to date (months before the filling date, I might add) Surviving on caffeine drinks and bags of sweets to stop the 3pm slump turning into a coma. Taking my laptop to bed to find I'm trying to teach myself, quite frankly pointless, anchor tags at 2am (true story) But just under 2 years ago, I woke up one morning and thought 'Holy existential nightmares, Batman, I'm not getting any younger here. And working myself to the bone without a shred of regard for my health sure ain't gonna keep me productive for much longer.'
Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce by Lily (recipe)
So how do you achieve a balance, between being driven and hard-working, conscientious and motivated individuals and being so health-conscious you're spending days on end in Whole Foods, counting the calories of beetroot juice while spinning a weighted hula-hoop on each arm? I promise you, that a balance can be achieved, and over the next 4 weeks I’m going to be sharing my favourite ways for keeping my health in check; with diet, rest, mental-health and exercise.
Grabbing bags of biscuits and litres of sugar laden drinks to fuel ourselves can feel like the quickest way to pick your energy levels up, but boy is that doing you some damage, and we all know it, no matter how many times we say 'but I'm so busy this week I need it' When you're tired and overworked it's even more important to make sure you're keeping yourself topped up with nutrients to keep your energy and positivity levels high. When we're snowed under I;
- Batch-prep meals like homemade bolognaise, soups and stews and freeze them so we've always got a quick and healthy 'ready meal' to come out of the office to.
- Have a total love-affair with our slow cooker; bung a bunch of meat, veg, stock and herbs/spices in in the morning and you come home to a delicious, nutritious stew, soup or curry at the end of the day.
- Ban eating meals at our desks - breakfast, lunch and dinner are always eaten at the table so we're forced to take a break, even for 15 minutes.
- Keep a bowl of fruit in the office for snacking so we're not tempted to head out to the local shop for chocolate on our post office run.
- Drink plenty of water - keeping a big jug in the fridge with sliced lemon and lime in to make it more palatable.
'But Sophie', I hear you pondering, 'you're not exactly thin, are you?' Well observed, babe - I may not be thin but I am, for the most part, healthy. My weight is good for my height and I'm comfortable in my own skin. This isn't about being on a 'diet' per-se, because diets take up too much time and mental space and they almost always fail, anyway! This is about giving your body the nutrients and fuel that it needs to be the best damn butcher/baker/candle-stick maker you can be. We need to get it out of our system as women that we have to be absolutely perfect in all areas. I'm not saying that you can't run a super successful business and have a bangin' bod, of course you can! Just give yourself a break on having abs like Gisele, ok? As an aside, though, this attitude to food is the first time I've actually lost weight and kept it off - when I stopped obsessing over it. Fancy that.
Check back next week to read why I think getting enough rest and relaxation actually means you’ll be at your A-Game more often than not.