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Staying up all night is not a ‘badge of honour’

It helps being in your mid 40’s.  That mid-life crisis kind of gives you permission to sit up, reassess your life and if you’re lucky, be able to self-correct and catapult into the next leg of your life’s journey.

After stepping back from the corporate world a few months ago and after running and running, it’s wonderful to find time to gather myself and regain the control I lost over the years. Slowly things like my health, a clear mind, good sleep with dreams and exercise, alongside silly things such as remembering people’s names, have starting to resume their order of importance in my life.  I have to say I am thrilled.

So as I was looking at Twitter this week, lazing on the couch of course, I came across a very welcome McKinsey 25 minute podcast on “The art and science of wellbeing at work”   I listened with great intent and I think there are a few pointers we can all take from the discussion held with Lucia Rahilly, Manish Chopra, Els van der Helm and Caroline Webb.

This somewhat controversial topic I believe is slowly but surely starting to get the attention it deserves.  We know it is important but somehow we seem to shove the significance of wellbeing under the carpet. What we are seeing according to the many Human Capital reports we read is that engagement and getting the best out of our staff is no longer a nice to have, but a definite business imperative.  And in order to achieve this, our people need to be healthy in every way, and that’s living optimally so that they can function optimally.

I loved listening to the podcast and this is what I took from the discussion:

  • It’s interesting to see how executive leadership programmes are embracing the concept of wellbeing;
  • The effects of not enough sleep and the impact it has on our cognitive and emotional functioning is now better understood;
  • The importance of meditation and understanding that it stems from the concept of ‘liberating oneself out of suffering’ really resonated with me;
  • The time is right for the ‘highly effective professional’ however one’s mind really needs to be RIGHT in order to do this;
  • There is a mind shift that takes place when embracing wellbeing today: health is no longer seen as a cost but rather an investment;
  • Generally there are two ways one gets into exploring their wellbeing and that is we either ‘dip our toe into the water’, like it, and start to experiment further in this space, or ultimately it’s a crisis that leads to dramatic changes in a life;
  • We can no longer treat the body as a separate entity to that of the brain;
  • If we miss a night’s sleep, we can successfully compare it to ‘being legally drunk’ at work and;
  • It is a good idea to become better at noticing what our bodies need and how they function.

So in closing, I urge you to ‘dip your toe’ into this very important aspect of not only your life but of those employees around you, and remember that staying up all night is no longer seen as a ‘badge of honour’.

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