Why Leaders Should Prioritize Health and Wellness
Today, business leaders juggle more priorities than ever before. You're dealing with historically astronomical inflation rates, which increase product manufacturing prices and discourage consumers from spending. You have to navigate existing employees' shifting needs and expectations while configuring plans to recruit new talent, all in the wake of the Great Resignation. Amidst this, neglecting your own health and wellness can be all too easy. You can reason away sleep deprivation, weight gain, and fast-food eating with the justification that you're focusing on your company rather than self-care. This, however, is a common mistake. Health and wellness are more than just crucial to your own well-being—prioritizing them can also be the key to success as a leader. Here's why.
You'll set a positive tone for the company
As a leader, you provide inspiration as well as direction. Many employees look to your actions and behavior to see what to aspire to. You illustrate what success means within the company—and to make that image compelling, you need to break the stereotype of a sedentary, workaholic boss. This means aiming to maintain peak fitness by shedding the extra pounds that come from sitting at your desk all day, modeling healthy exercise and eating habits, and talking openly about the importance of balancing weight management and professional productivity. By doing this, it will give employees motivation for weight loss and regular exercise. It can even encourage them to share similar health and wellness goals. What that creates is a like-minded community that grants each other social support to get over obstacles and stay on course in their weight loss journeys. With time and consistency, you can rework your company's environment to one that enables and cheers on physical well-being. This can only spell good news—according to research from MantraCare, employees participating in weight loss programs can increase productivity by almost 35%. It also nicely closes the positive feedback loop by granting you more social support for your fitness goals.
You'll be more confident
Your outward image isn't the only one that matters. How you view yourself also affects how you lead the company. It falls to you to see yourself as capable of doing all your position requires, including representing the company as a collective, challenging previously set standards, proposing potentially risky and rewarding moves, and accepting responsibility for it all. Of course, you can work on that in many ways, like reflecting on your past achievements and practicing self-affirmations. In addition, however, a concrete way to gain a burst of assurance is working on your fitness. A 2020 review on the impact of behavioral weight management interventions confirms this: according to the findings, there's evidence that weight management results in greater improvements in body image, self-efficacy, and mental health quality of life. Health initiatives like exercise also literally make you stronger and more energetic, contributing to the belief you can face any challenge your business throws at you.
You'll sharpen your skills
The benefits of health and wellness extend to your ability to act as a leader. As the head of your business, you need to have a sharp mind—one that can see the big picture as well as the intricate details, solve complex problems, and communicate your vision clearly. Prioritizing your health helps with that. For example, it can prevent debilitating illnesses like obesity, which is known to reduce cognitive function and brain volume. The self-care practice of regular exercise also boosts brain cell growth and activates your neurons, while eating a rich diet, including fatty fish, leafy vegetables, and nuts, can grant you nutrients that improve your memory. In short, health and wellness grants you the mental clarity you require to practice leadership competence.
You'll prevent burnout
While business leadership requires you to stay active and on top of things, it also asks you to undertake measures to prevent burning out. Part of your job, after all, is spurring the company's morale. You can't do that if you don't have that spirited energy yourself, and it can be more than a little disheartening for teams to see their leader seem tired and drained. To avoid this and prevent burnout, one of the top tips from wellness pros is to rest when needed. That means incorporating reposeful practices into your routine, like sleeping at least seven hours daily and unplugging from work during your days off. This kind of rest is productive and can help you return passionate about your work and ready to uplift your employees to be the same. As a business leader, you need to prioritize health and wellness. There are many reasons why—but in summary, doing so helps you become the best leader you can be.
Article written by Romina Jameson, Romina is passionate about effective leadership and what it can do for the world. When she's not researching or writing about the best organizational practices, she's going on wine tours with her partner and their dog.