A considerable amount of effort goes into forging a career, from intensive studying and training to countless applications and interviews. Indeed, this level of commitment doesn’t stop at securing a job; a career is a lifelong endeavour, the success of which depends on continuous personal investment. Whilst ambition, hard work and dedication are widely recognised as the keys to progression within the workplace, the importance of personal wellbeing is far too often overlooked. However, our mental, physical and emotional health has a significant impact on our professional performance, and is a crucial component of both day-to-day and long-term success. Here are some tips to keep you at the top of your professional game and to avoid burnout.
The physical benefits of regular exercise are somewhat obvious, particularly for those of us who spend most of the day – if not all – sitting at the computer. However, the positive effects of sport and fitness extend far beyond simply counteracting a sedentary lifestyle. Working out on a regular basis increases your overall energy levels, making it easier to remain focused and keep fatigue at bay. What’s more, exercise is a well-known stressbuster, alleviating anxiety and depression whilst promoting a more positive outlook. Whether you go to the gym before work or play a team sport in the evening, incorporating exercise into your weekly schedule will not only help to maintain overall health, but will also translate into a more productive, energetic professional demeanour.
Nourish your brain
The link between food and workplace performance may seem precarious, but what you eat – and drink – can have a significant impact on how sharp your mind is throughout the day. Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids help to rebuild brain cells and fortify the synapses that affect memory, so incorporating fish, such as salmon, into your diet may boost long-term brainpower. Bananas also make for great brain-food, whilst green tea can help to improve alertness and focus. In addition to drinking plenty of water, following a balanced diet that gives you plenty of energy whilst feeding your brain will enable you to concentrate fully and effectively deal with whatever tasks your job throws at you.
The fact that certain studies have identified a strong link between lack of sleep and lower productivity at work is somewhat unsurprising. A more unexpected relationship, perhaps, is that between sleep and the prefrontal cortex of the brain, meaning that sleep deprivation not only leaves us tired and unable to concentrate, but also inhibits our capacity to think innovatively and creatively. Indeed, a good night’s sleep is the most effective way to prepare for a day at the office, whilst a regular sleeping pattern in general is key to combating stress and boosting mental wellbeing. If you struggle to get the recommended seven hours a night, your performance at work may not be as strong as it could be. Ensure quality sleep with a supportive, high-quality mattress such as this one, and get into the habit of switching off your phone at a reasonable hour. Creating optimal sleeping conditions is one of the most worthwhile investments for overall health and, subsequently, maximum productivity at work.
Lastly, the key to giving it your all at work lies in taking time out. Sufficient downtime is crucial to switching off and resting your brain, and will ultimately enable you to approach work tasks and situations with a fresh perspective. Whether you choose to meditate before bedtime, go for long walks or read a book, what’s important is that you take time out to fully disconnect from work on a regular, if not daily, basis. A crucial aspect of downtime is to stay away from your smartphone; engage with friends and family face to face whilst removing the temptation to check work-related emails. Allocating some technology-free time each day will enable you to fully exit your professional mindset, leaving you refreshed and ready to give the next working day your best shot.