Christmas is a time for giving. It is also a helpful time to put on the oxygen mask. That is, look after yourself so you can be at your best. Which, as it turns out, helps you give your best to others. However, it’s quite likely your 2018 schedule has been overloaded with work and ‘life admin’. You either feel like you need a break, or feel like that is an understatement! Too often we see people return to work feeling lethargic, bloated, tense, and/or constipated! Yup. We went there… Now you’ll know that this is not the most effective way to return to the office in 2019. You want to return to work ready, (re)energised and in great shape to give your best performance. We want you to hit the ground running next year and make progress towards your true potential, rather than limping back and perpetuating a similar cycle to the previous year. Perhaps this sounds a little dramatic and negative for what you felt was going to be a positive and uplifting piece. Or this might sound so familiar that you are hungry for our tips on how you can put the oxygen mask on and attack 2019 with energy and vitality. Without further ado, here are Benny Button’s top 8 tips to Live Well and Have Impact during the festive season.
TIP 1 - NOURISH - Eat more vegetables and fruit, eat less meat and stay hydrated
“Hara hachi bun me” - As the Japanese principle goes “Eat until you are 80% full”. Try and up the intake of vegetables (at least 5 serves of veg per day) and minimise your intake of meat. Stay hydrated and drink 2 to 3 litres of water per day. Consume alcohol mindfully and in moderation, if you decide you want a drink at all.
TIP 2 - MOVE - Put your runners at the end of your bed
Our data shows us that approximately 50% of people tell us that time is a barrier to exercising at a level that positively contributes to our health, wellbeing and performance potential. Use your festive time wisely! Putting your runners at the end of the bed is a little habit stacking hack to help make it easier to get out there and move.
TIP 3 - STRESS MASTERY - Breathe more consciously
On average we take 23,060 breaths a day. We take most of them unconsciously. Breathing into our diaphragm (think just under your ribs) both fuels us with energy and clears and calms mind and body. Breathing this way for a couple of minutes per day as a regular part of your routine is like a pre-season training exercise for coming back to work fresh and focused. And if you’ve ever heard someone tell you to take a few deep breaths when you expressed stress or frustration, it was wise advice. Breathing consciously, slowly, and into your diaphragm will help you to navigate stress more effectively when you return to work. (In fact, research shows us it’s breathing in this way that has a hugely beneficial impact on balancing the activation and relaxation of our central nervous system.)
TIP 4 - MINDFUL ACTION - Intention. Presence. Receptiveness.
Go to the events by choice and truly be there when you arrive - be present. Be receptive and open to what’s happening around you, and curiously engaged in the moments of your day rather than being preoccupied wondering whether there is something better you could/should be doing.
TIP 5 - CONNECT - Keep it real
Tell the people you love that you love them. Do it often. And give them a meaningful, attentive hug while you’re at it. For bonus points, hold on for around 7 seconds and you’ll receive an oxytocin boost which is a powerful bonding chemical that elevates our happiness and wellbeing. We could all ‘hug it out’ more, right? If you feel courageous enough, attend to and improve or mend even just one relationship where you see an opportunity for strengthening your connections with others (or finally letting go of some baggage that might otherwise be weighing you down). Don’t be afraid to let toxic relationships end.
TIP 6 - GROW - Strengthen your capability and explore your potential
Identify your strengths - things that you love doing, that energise you, and that you do really well. Extend on those strengths by deliberately investing time and effort with them. Learn something new. Maybe it’s learning how to say the equivalent of “cheers” in as many different languages as you can. It could be literally anything that takes you into new territory and stimulates your mind.
TIP 7 - REST - Put your feet up
Write down a list of 3 things you find relaxing that you can make time to invest in during your break. Make time - a calendar event with yourself if you must. Tick each one of them off your list before you go back to work.
TIP 8 - WORK - Switch off and recharge
If you can, write your out of office email and fill it with kindness and gratitude to your network PLUS your intention to give yourself the gift of a ‘recharge’. Then, and most importantly if you can, please switch off your email notifications and resist the temptation to check them during YOUR break time.
It’s worth noting that to complete all of the above tips that fall within BennyButton's eight wellbeing and performance factors might be too much of a stretch. We certainly don’t want to perpetuate any stress into your break setting up an expectation that you would only benefit if you complete them all. Instead, reflect on what resonated for you most in the above list. Then, if you can, just pick one thing that you can practice over the festive season that will be a benefit to your wellbeing and performance, and go from there.
Tis the season to Live Well and Have Impact!
Troy Mansell is director and co-founder of Benny Button.
Benny Button delivers data-driven intelligence to help organisations measure and enhance cultural wellbeing and performance.