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Top 5 health tips for small business owners who don’t have time to go to the gym

You know that feeling when your friends boast about their fitness achievements on Facebook and you’re just wondering how anyone has the time to hit the gym when all the exercise you’re getting is racing against deadlines?

Well, as a small business owner, you can’t help the deadlines. But that doesn’t mean your body needs to bear the brunt. In fact, when you’re leading such a fast paced lifestyle, it becomes more essential to take care of your health.

Here are 5 tips to ensure your personal well being becomes a part of your daily routine:

Health Tip #1. Start your day with a healthy breakfast

Many small business owners we’ve met over the past year have said they just don’t have the time to prepare and eat breakfast every morning. They grab something (mostly coffee) on the go and sometimes there’s no time even for that. Well, that’s nothing to be proud of.

Breakfast is the most important meal of your day because it kick starts your metabolism and refuels your energy levels. Besides, it also improves memory and concentration.

If you don’t have 10 minutes in the morning to slot for breakfast at home, prepare something that you can have on the way to work. Or at your desk when you’re checking your mails.

Here are some quick breakfast options that won’t take more than 5 minutes to prepare:

  • Wholegrain toast with some avocado spread and spinach
  • Porridge or oats with fresh fruit
  • Yoghurt with fresh fruit, muesli and nuts
  • Fresh fruit or vegetable smoothies
  • Boiled eggs with wholegrain toast

And if you don’t even have 5 minutes to pack this for yourself every morning, make a batch of healthy brekky options like zucchini slices or spinach muffins over the weekend. For more inspiration, take a look at these 39 healthy breakfasts for busy mornings.

Healthy Tip #2. Eat small regular meals through the day

While we’re still talking about food, you know what will keep you energised through the day? Small, regular balanced meals. This will prevent you from binging on one big meal in the middle or the end of the day.

Go shopping over the weekend and by things like fruit and nuts that are easy to carry and will keep you from cheating on your healthy diet plan.

And if you’re feeling a little enthusiastic, look at this collection of healthy snacks by Jamie Oliver. Our favourites are the energy balls made with date, cocoa and pumpkin seeds and the super easy flatbreads.

Healthy Tip #3. Switch coffee with a smoothie or green tea

When you’re working 10-12 hours a day, running from one meeting to another, coffee is often a lifesaver. It keeps you alert during important client discussions and helps you focus when you’re trying to make key business decisions.

While how coffee affects you specifically depends on your body type, too much caffeine can hamper regular sleep patterns. That’s why if you’re craving a hot drink on a winter evening, it’s a good idea to swap it with green tea instead. And in summers, just go for a healthier smoothie. For more ideas, read how to make the most of seasonal fruit by creating quick and delicious smoothies from these cool recipes.

It’s going to be hard to begin with, but as they say, it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

Healthy Tip #4. Pick one form of exercise. And stick to it

If you don’t have the time to head to the gym, pick something that you enjoy and that won’t require juggling too many logistics. Just make sure it’s you can commit to for a fixed number of days in a week.

Here are a few options of activities you can pursue:

  • early morning jogs
  • biking to work
  • a game of netball/ basketball/ anything else twice a week
  • following a yoga class on Youtube
  • walking your dog

There’s enough research to show that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind which then leads to a healthy business. And as a fit leader, you’ll also set the right example for your staff - remember that absenteeism comes at a great cost for businesses across Australia.

Healthy Tip #5. Sleep for at least 7 hours every night

Just a few weeks ago, we spoke with one of our small business community members who had won a holiday to Tasmania with her husband and business partner. And she said one of the best business decisions she made was to not fix a broken bulb in her office. Any guesses why? Because like most small business owners, she too had the habit of working till late or waking up in the wee hours to catch up on emails before it was time to wake up the kids. But not fixing the bulb helped ensure she got the much needed sleep.

It’s very important to remember that your mind needs a break every night to be able to prepare for what’s coming the next day. It helps refresh your brain so you can stay alert and make better decisions.

Healthy Tip #6. Spend time with your loved ones

It’s important to remember that your personal well being is as much about your mental health as it is about your physical fitness. Work stress can quickly pile up and have a toll on your health if you don’t take time off for yourself and your loved ones. Talking to your friends and family and sharing what’s happening with you can really help clear your mind and make you better prepared to take on new challenges.

And if you think you’re struggling with anxiety or depression and need professional guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to organisations like BeyondBlue, RUOK? and Lifeline Australia.

Here’s a flyer on 10 things you can do to make your workplace mentally healthy from Heads Up that you can print and paste on your office wall.

If you have any more tips for fellow small business owners, leave your comments in the section below or write to us at enquiries@smallbusinessfirst.com.au.

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