How To Stay Healthy As An Executive
You've worked hard and paid your dues to finally earn an executive position. Hard work does pay off!
Just one minor drawback: Your new position may be bad for your health.
According to Mayo Clinic data, the executive lifestyle leads to less sleep, more work hours, struggles with work/life balance, frequent travel, and sedentary lifestyle. These factors put executives at a greater risk for sleep deprivation, heart disease, depression, stroke, and diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Fortunately, being aware of the health risks associated with these leadership positions means that you still have a chance to take control of your health.
Here are some ways to live a healthier lifestyle while being the boss.
A Good Leader Knows How To Delegate
Just because you're the boss doesn't mean you have to do everything.
One of the benefits of being a leader is that it usually gives you the opportunity to build your leadership team. Surround yourself with people that you trust and admire. People that you believe are so qualified, they could take over immediately if you were to suddenly quit.
Delegate responsibilities to the leadership team, so that everyone is doing their part to move the company forward.
According to the Mayo Clinic, executives average 11.6 work hours a day, 23% more than the average worker. While job responsibilities may make working an 8-hour day on a regular basis difficult, the average should at least be closer to the eight than 11 with proper delegation of responsibilities.
Delegating responsibilities is not a sign of weakness. As the boss, you're aware of what everyone is doing and still get the final say. But, everyone needs helps sometimes and admitting that is a sign of a good leader.
Leaders Need A Sold Work/Life Balance To Remain Effective
If all goes well with the delegation of responsibilities, it will free up some of your valuable time. Use this time to spend with family and friends
Whether you're an executive or not, you've probably sacrificed personal time to put in extra hours at work. Sometimes it's unavoidable, especially if you're an executive. However, you can't overdo it.
It's important to identify certain family/life events that you will never compromise on, no matter how tough things are at work. Need to schedule a late meeting but also have your daughter's dance recital? Save the meeting for the morning or send out an email.
Even better, try to schedule a family (or friends) night during the work week where you have a planned activity each week. It gives you something to look forward during the chaotic week and will help to improve your overall mood.
It can't be about work all the time. A stressed out and irritable executive is not only difficult to be around but will not lead effectively. Too much stress could also lead to loss of job enjoyment.
CEO's Must Work Extra Hard To Stay Physically Fit
With a majority of American's working desk jobs, sedentary lifestyles are a nationwide problem. However, it can be even worse if you're the boss.
According to Mayo Clinic Data, 73% of CEOs live a sedentary lifestyle. In one Mayo Clinic study, 40% of CEOs were obese, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.
It's easy to see how this could happen. The combination of long hours and sporadic schedule changes lends itself to eating on the run and when people are in a hurry they tend to make poor nutritional choices. The best way to combat this is by meal planning and just a better overall awareness of what you're eating.
When you're able to plan your meals for the week and bring food from home, it's a lot easier to prepare a meal that addresses all nutritional needs.You're able to choose your main meal, vegetables, and fruits for the day. You rarely get an opportunity to address these nutritional needs when you're ordering from a fast food menu.
Carving out time to exercise should also be a major priority if you're in a leadership position. Try to set aside an hour a day to exercise but if you can't do that any type of physical activity will work, even if it's a 20-minute walk outside the office.
Executives Should Be Proactive About Their Health
Many medical facilities offer executive physical exams that are more extensive than traditional routine physicals and can last over multiple days. The benefit of such a physical is that it gives someone a larger overall view of their health and a chance to have multiple consultations with the doctor to tailor an individual health plan.
The downside of such an exam is that it's not always covered in health insurance plans, but some companies include it in a separate CEO benefit package. If you have access to this benefit, there's no reason not to take advantage of it. Having that extra awareness about your health makes it easier to take steps to reduce certain health risks.
If you don't have access to these exams, you should still get an annual routine physical because these exams still provide valuable health information.
Don't ignore the health statistics!
Just because you're an executive doesn't mean you're going to be an unhealthy person. But the lifestyle does lend itself to certain habits that can lead to unhealthy lifestyles.
The important thing is to be aware of the risks and adjust your habits accordingly. Be proactive and make good health decisions part of your regular routine.
Like most things in life, awareness leads to better preparation.
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- Why CEOs Neglect Their Health - D Magazine ›
- Why being a CEO 'should come with a health warning' - CNN.com ›