What do health and wellness have to do with running a business?
Businesses are run for a profit, and they’re run by individuals. So, we can’t afford not to take care of ourselves. We can’t afford not to be well because there’s a high cost that comes with that. The cost can be fatigue. It can be not performing at optimum and, eventually burnout, and even sickness.
As a business owner, there have definitely been times when I’m not running at my optimal. I get into this pattern of pushing just a little bit more and just a little bit farther. I tell myself if I just do this or eat this food, that I can keep going and finish what I’m trying to do. But this is not an effective solution.
There’s something called our automatic. So, we tend to live our lives based on the beliefs that we have. And those beliefs are usually created by our experiences. A belief that I have to get this done, this depends on me, or that it needs to be perfect, can really wear us down. And when we get to that level, we do the opposite of what we really want to achieve – especially if you want to sustain your business long term. It’s the same thing with sustaining health long term. It takes an awareness of bringing balance back into our lives.
The thing that I want to speak to primarily that most people overlook is digestion. Of course, we know that we should eat whole foods, things that are fresh and seasonal, stay hydrated, move our bodies – all these things are very important. But I want to speak a little bit about digestion – because most of us work through our lunch breaks.
What I’m going to say is sit, eat, and chew your food. Enhance the digestive process. Allow your body to really break down and absorb the nutrients that it needs to keep going.
You mentioned stress before. Stress is all about the sympathetic nervous system. As a little introduction, the nervous system has two legs. It has the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic is activated when we walk, when we work, when we’re awake, when we’re thinking, when we’re talking – and that’s our fight or flight response, as it’s commonly known.
And then we have the parasympathetic, and that’s the rest and digest. So, that’s when we sit down to eat, when we lay down at night and we want to sleep. Those two systems go on and off appropriately throughout the day, but we have to help them a little bit.
By sitting down and chewing our food, we’re helping the parasympathetic get stimulated. And that rejuvenates us, like taking a walk or breathing – all these things stimulate the parasympathetic system, which brings back balance. So, when we are sympathetically activated, we don’t get foggy heads, we don’t get sleepy during the day, and we’re actually able to perform our best.
As business owners, you know that whether things happen or not, it all falls back on the business owner and the leadership that they provide. And so, if you’re not working at your optimal, then it just has a trickle-down effect to everyone else.
What is intuitive eating?
This is something that I work with people because we grew up being served a plate of food and being expected to finish it. And there’s really nothing intuitive about that. It doesn’t allow us to see how the food is sitting with us. Is this okay for me right now? Am I full? Am I still hungry? Do I need to add something else, maybe more protein or more vegetables to my plate? So, we have a disconnect with that piece.
I feel like all of us eat because we’re hungry, it’s available, and it’s ready, and so on. Intuitive eating has to do with really understanding our bodies, like what vibes with my body. There are some people that thrive on protein; others thrive on vegetables.
And with this concept of finishing up my plate, we tend to overeat. The plates are huge. Usually, the portions are very big. And before we sit down, we should think: Am I hungry? As we eat, we should think: Do I savor this? Do I like it? Do I want more of it? Am I still hungry? If I am, I keep eating. If I’m full, I stop eating. I get to honor my body’s needs and what my body is telling me.
This also creates the platform to understand food sensitivities, things that after I eat, I may feel groggy, or I may want to lay down. Food is meant to fuel us. So, if I’m eating something, and I’m not energized after, there’s obviously something wrong there. Either I’m super stressed out, or I haven’t chewed well enough, or I overate, or whatever I am sensitive to, or the combination of the foods that I had wasn’t optimal. There’s a lot that goes into it, and we get to check in with ourselves. We get to check in with ourselves and see if what we’re eating is actually serving us in that moment.
We also need to pay attention to the way we’re eating it. If I’m eating and I’m rushing to work on a project, and I’m thinking about what I have to do next – that’s not really serving me in that moment.
Think about the parallels that might exist in other places in our lives – such as if we were to pay attention to how we were interacting with the activity at hand. Are we just doing it in this automatic way? Or are we paying attention to the feel while we’re doing it and how our body feels while it’s happening?
3 Action Steps
- Take care of your health and well-being because you can’t afford not to.
- During lunch, take the time to sit, eat, and chew your food to improve your digestion, so your body has the nutrients it needs to keep going.
- Use intuitive eating to honor your body’s needs and what it is telling you.
Connect with Dora Fiotodimitrakis at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dora-fioto-6086a776 or AstoriaHolisticHealth.com
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