Self-care is the foundation for peak performance.
If you think you have to wait to take care of yourself and your needs until you are home from work, you are not alone. I had a boss one time, who told me that he did not need to eat lunch, so neither did I.
Now thankfully I am a Danish girl, who is used to eating lunch, so I told him that he would not want me around, if I did not have lunch. He sort of snorted and huffed at me, but I got to eat my lunch, though admittedly at my desk, while working to avoid being yelled at.
There is something seriously wrong with our work-culture, when we get yelled at for taking a lunch-break. When I was working at ESPRIT in Europe, lunch-breaks were mandatory.
Everyone had to come to the canteen to eat together. It would not only build better team-work, because people who eat together chat and bond, it would also assure that everyone had the energy to work at their best for the rest of the day. Mind you everyone worked hard there, or maybe I should say focused. See work seems hard when we struggle to focus or have the energy. Or of course if an assignment or project is difficult, but when people say they work hard, it often means they feel drained and they are not having fun.
Not perks, essentials.
Lunch-breaks and health benefits are equally essential, but the difference is that one is preventative and the other we often don’t use until we burn out or get sick. Same thing with being able to pause and go get some fresh air to boost mental energy or take a walk to get rid of feeling stuck, starring at the same sentence in the presentation you are trying to write. These are all essentials for a good work culture. Not something we wait to do until we have time or we simply cannot keep going any longer and need to take a break. Pushing ourselves to the point of burn-out is a culture of struggle at work, a fight and flight mentality, that pushes us into survival-mode.
Survival-mode is not performance.
Being on survival-mode is not the same as performance-mode or the kind of stress that we thrive on to go beyond our comfort-zone for growth. On survival-mode we are hyper focused on getting out of trouble, we are in a fear-based work environment and we are trying to get to the finish-line of a project, because we are scared of what might happen if we don’t. It can be anything from; my client is going to fire me, my boss is going to yell at me, or even just missing a dead-line that is affecting other people if missed. If you add lack of water, food, pauses and rest to the mental state of stress, you are working on the edge of burn-out rather than the edge of creativity, performance and innovation.
Self-care is the foundation for work-performance.
When I consult with companies and leaders about how to shift from a personal and organizational mindset of survival to a mindset of performance, we start with self-care and how the daily work habits support each individual in doing their best work. Nourishment of a healthy work-force happens from the top down. When the leader eats, everyone eats. When the leader is healthy and practicing good self-care habits at work, everyone gets to take good care of themselves at work too. Now this is not just because we want everyone to be healthy, the point here is why we want everyone to be healthy. Hint: Working nourished.
Health is not the goal.
Health is the foundation for doing our best work and peak-performance, because a healthy business comes from the inside out. A healthy business is about healthy people, happy people.
People who work healthy and go home happy with energy to spare. That is healthy work/life integration. Does your work-style support you to work at your best and live a good life?
Join the 27 Days to New Habits program – it is free.