Insights

Key Strategies To Boost Your Wellbeing (And Why Sleep Is Not For Wimps)

Tuesday 19 October 2021

If you are committed to business growth and personal success, it’s time to put wellbeing at the top of your list and recognise that you are your number one asset.

In this article, I’ll share the simple wellbeing strategies that I use – the bonus is that my decision-making and actions are up to 40% more effective as a result!

You can listen to me and Gary Fletcher, co-founder of EHE Capital, talk in more depth about reducing stress and enhancing wellbeing by tuning in to episode 20 of our podcast, “Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Together”. 

Finding motivation

In my younger days, I would burn the candle at both ends. I felt like I got away with it and still pulled off great results, but I’d be fascinated to know what would have been possible if I’d taken more time to recharge my own battery.

You are the entrepreneur, the visionary, so everyone else looks to you for answers. You need 

to have high energy levels in order to do your best.

There are five key elements to enhancing your wellbeing and maximising output:

  1. Aim for 7–8 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Cut back or cut out alcohol.
  3. Make exercise part of your work regime.
  4. Eat a balanced diet. 
  5. Talk to people.

 

Sleep

Both Gary and I wear an Oura Ring which provides sleep, activity and lifestyle insights. It gives you a score on your readiness for the day by tracking key signals from your body.  I love seeing my score increase because I’ve made better choices! It motivates me and it’s rewarding to see how simple changes make big improvements.

I used to believe that sleep was for wimps, and that you’d sleep when you’re dead. I thought that there were certain things I could sacrifice for the sake of moving towards my goals and business vision, but I took it to the extreme.

Working 16-hour days, I was the first to arrive at the office and the last person out at night. I was going to bed late, drinking too much, then getting up early feeling groggy.  It was unsustainable then and unacceptable now.

There’s so much science and evidence showing the importance of sleep. There’s no excuse for not looking after yourself; you are a critical part of your business. Have a power nap if you need one.

Less sleep makes you less efficient and less effective. If you haven’t rested or taken time away from work to process the day’s events, your decision-making and personnel skills suffer.

Simple changes like not drinking coffee after midday also make a big difference to your quality of sleep. Research shows that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours.

 

Alcohol

Alcohol negatively impacts sleep. Gary summed it up perfectly in the podcast when he shared that his heart rate would increase as his body worked harder to metabolise the toxins. On a good night his resting heart rate might be 50 beats per minute, but it was registering 60 or 70 on the nights he drank alcohol!

The data collected by the Oura Ring gives you a “readiness for the day” score. If I’ve been drinking alcohol it might rate me at 55% ready for the day, versus 80% ready on alcohol-free days. I always want to boost the score, so it incentivises me to do better.

Seeing the evidence inspired both Gary and me to reduce our alcohol intake. Although I still enjoy a pint here and there in moderation, reducing alcohol is key, especially when you need to perform the next day.

 

Exercise

Exercise needs to be prioritised as part of every ambitious entrepreneur’s working day. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day. If you employ staff, consider how you can help create a healthier workforce. Gary and I offered gym membership to our staff (there was no excuse because it was right behind our office!).  

Moving your body helps you destress and floods your system with feel-good hormones. Have a brisk walk, cycle, run, use the cross trainer; you are the heart of your business, so if you want to achieve the extraordinary you need to look after yourself. 

 

Eating

Gary has significantly changed his eating habits over the past few years. He’s become vegetarian which has been a huge boost to his energy levels and sleep scores. He read a book called Fit for Life and it’s radically changed how he views food.

It’s all about finding the right balance.

 

The domino effect

When Gary started to eat better, he wanted to move more and now he exercises every day. He summed it up perfectly: 

Gary: “Start with an apple, and then you feel better so you go for another walk, then you get into running or swimming, and before you know it you are exercising more and more. It might feel hard to begin with but you will feel so much better, it motivates you to do more. Going to the gym at the end of the day is really cathartic. Sometimes I just want to fall asleep there because it relaxes me so much!”

 

Talk to people

Sleep, food, exercise and watching your alcohol intake are all critical, but mental balance is also really important. Being an entrepreneur can feel quite lonely so it’s important to have people you can talk to. Those people might be within the business (for example a non-exec) or friends and family, and we have the EHE community, where we connect like minded entrepreneurs to share experiences and advice. 

A lot of the time you’ll find that you already know the answer that you’re looking for, but being able to verbalise what’s in your head and unload for 20 minutes or so helps you find that clarity, even if the other person doesn’t fully understand the topic or has barely said a word! Having that space to talk helps.

 

In a nutshell

When you start a business you might put a lot of hours in, limit your time off and pay yourself less, but it’s not sustainable beyond the first year. There are no rewards for not looking after yourself. You need time off, you need space to rest – you must prioritise YOU.

For a more in-depth discussion on how EHE Capital can help you, email any questions

to guy@ehe.capital or come and join the EHE community

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