Award-winning multicultural marketing expert, Teneshia Jackson Warner explains the importance of staying mentally and physically healthy during these uncertain times.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you and I are united with people all around the world trying to adapt to the new normal. A lot of us are stuck inside and feeling disconnected as well as vulnerable. But keep in mind that this lockdown offers an extraordinary opportunity to dust off passion projects and launch Dreams. Today I want to talk about fortifying the foundation of those Dreams—and that means nurturing optimal health.
Staying healthy is an essential part of making your Dream a reality.
Billionaire Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, does an hour of weights and band stretches every day because he knows that keeping his body healthy helps keep his mind healthy. And according to psychologist and business consultant Ron Friedman, Ph.D., regular exercise offers several benefits, including better concentration and productivity, sharper memory, faster learning speeds, enhanced creativity and diminished stress. I’d say that those are rewards well worth pursuing. So why do we often prioritize health and fitness below so many other aspects of our lives? For many of us, especially busy entrepreneurs and other go-getters, there’s a one-word answer: time.
In the hustle-and-bustle of a busy life, health and fitness are often treated as “electives.” “I’ll exercise and plan healthy meals if I have time after wrapping up these meetings, picking up the kids, making a few phone calls, and tidying the house.” It seems that there’s always another item to cross off a list. I’m urging you to place fitness and other healthy habits very high on that list.
It’s always important to prioritize health and fitness, but I would argue that it’s even more important during a pandemic because of the anxiety and stress brought on by all the negative knowns and unknowns. So let me offer a few action steps to keep you as healthy as possible and poised to keep your Dreams soaring.
Whether you’re taking outdoor walks or staying indoors, commit to moving your body every day, even if it’s for only 15 minutes at a time. If yours is to be an all-indoor workout, there are countless resources online to guide you through some very creative uses of your household space. Look for a good stretching routine, try to get your heart rate up by dancing, following a video aerobics class, or running in place. And find a way to incorporate weight resistance—which you can do using bands, dumbbells, and countless calisthenics that require nothing more than your own weight.
Power your body with the best fuel you can. It’s easy to choose frozen foods and non-perishables, but be sure to mix in lots of whole foods like lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And if you’re getting very little exercise, try to reduce your calorie intake accordingly.
Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for optimal wellness, but during times of stress, our sleep often suffers. Poor sleep is linked to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity; on the other hand, healthy amounts of sleep can increase your productivity, creativity, and your ability to make decisions. So if you sleep better after taking a bath, reading, or doing a light stretching routine before bed, or your magic trick is meditation, a glass of warm milk, or turning away from electronics in the early evening—do it. Discover the most effective go-to-sleep-and-stay-asleep routine for you, and stick to it.
And while you’re shaping up your physical routine, consider disconnecting a bit from the news while connecting more to the people you care about. After an extremely unscientific survey (study sample size of one, me), I found that those who spend no more than an hour a day watching news and more than an hour a day talking to loved ones are just plain happier.
This too shall pass, Dreamers. Let’s make sure that when it does, we’re in great shape to hit the ground running.