For five years I worked in outside sales and spent half the month on the road. A typical month included 1,500 miles behind the wheel and 5,000 miles in the air. Even though I was excelling in my field, I was constantly tired, sometimes moody and always craving sugar (I became wildly addicted to homemade yogurt covered pretzels and "energy" bars). I fell out of balance and I knew that something had to change.
It is easy to neglect our own health and well being with life's many distractions: work, family, friends, balancing schedules and numerous commitments. Staying healthy can be challenging. Through real experience, I learned that small steps really do make a difference. I committed to one of the suggestions below and within a day or two noticed a change: I felt a bit more energized and "balanced." To strive for improved health and balance, I encourage small life changes using the guidelines below.
Top 12 quick health tips to find and maintain balance for busy on-the-go real estate professionals:
- focus on yourself - take time for yourself: take a bath, walk your dog, read a book, take a yoga class, listen to music, take a drive, go for a run, sing in the shower, get a massage, walk through the park. Take the thing that you enjoy and indulge! You deserve it!
- exercise - it gets our blood flowing and re-energizes us. Even if you only have five minutes per day, use it! Take a brisk walk around the block, run up and down the stairs, do sit ups, push ups or jumping jacks, dance, jump rope...just move!
- drink water - hydration is so important for our cells and our skin and is critical for proper body and brain functioning. We need to stay hydrated - if you need to take baby steps, try increasing your water intake slowly. Drink one glass before each meal. You'll feel amazing in no time!
- eat good food - we all know that whole foods are best for us. Try to avoid processed foods (anything packaged), sodas, refined sugar and pastries. Avoid hydrogenated oils and trans fats like the plague.
- sleep - if you're short on time and the choices are sleeping, eating or exercising, sleep! Sleep helps restore your cells and even boosts your metabolism. Sleep helps increase your focus and response time and can help prevent aging. It also lowers the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions. Get your zzzs!
- breathe - deep breathing is a great way to regulate your stress levels and reset your body and mind connection. One of my favorite techniques is Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise. I use this often - on planes (taking off isn't my favorite) or when I'm feeling overwhelmed. It works!
- manage your time - find tools that help you save time and be more efficient: real estate technology tools like CRMs, electronic document management and virtual assistants. Delegate your tasks and save time!
- take naps - studies show that an afternoon power nap of 10-20 minutes can help boost energy, mood and mental performance and is great for stress management. Find a bed or couch and embrace your own personal siesta.
- get a massage - massage is great for blood flow and circulation, promoting energy movement, and reseting your alignment. There are fancy spas which can be pricey or you can choose a more affordable option like Massage Envy or a local massage school. Try to schedule one massage per month. It is well worth it!
- smile - smiling really is the best medicine. The next time you aren't feeling great, smile. It is hard to feel bad when you are smiling. Smiles are a great way to connect with others and brighten a stranger's day.
- BYOF - Bring your own food - when traveling, plan ahead and bring your own food. If you're in the car all day, pack a lunch and healthy snacks like raw nuts, carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, apples, bananas, etc. When hunger strikes, you'll be prepared with healthy options.
- cook - a home cooked meal tastes better and is healthier for your body and soul! The time, pride and care you put into cooking comes out in the food. Cook with others or for others and make it a special event.
I challenge you to choose one tip and try it today. Try it on your own or better yet, find a buddy and do it together. Stick to it, share it, even blog about it. Then add one more tip when you're ready. To be healthy and stay healthy we must exert a little effort, but it is well worth it. The benefits are priceless.