Eat, Sleep, Drink, Repeat

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I’ve been working overseas recently, which means a lot of travelling. Travelling for work always makes me feel important, and I love hanging around airports and catching planes to far-off destinations. I feel like a somebody, and I imagine that this is what it must be like to be a jet-setting, internationally go-getting businessman. So I pretend to be one, at least until I climb aboard that EasyJet flight and my cover’s blown.

But despite the fun of pretending to be a man of global significance, I always forget how much travelling takes it out of you.

I’m my own worst enemy in this regard. Rather than seeing a flight as an opportunity to rest, I usually see it as an opportunity to work. As soon as I get through security into departures, I find somewhere to sit, get the laptop out, and start typing away. And when the landing gear goes up and the flight attendants give us the all-clear, out comes the laptop again, often until either the battery runs out or we’re preparing for landing.

And it’s the same in the hotel at my destination. I’ll do a full day of work in a different time zone, and when I get back to my room I’m on the laptop – emailing, multitasking, spinning as many plates as possible.

But what I’m not doing is drinking enough water – travel dehydrates you. What I’m not doing is being mindful of my body clock – travelling to different time zones interferes with your regular sleep patterns. What I’m not doing is eating properly – I’m generally consuming lots of sugar, caffeine and carbohydrates.

The effect of all this might not be immediately obvious, but on the second day of a recent work trip I started to notice the impact of it all. My eyes were starting to get red and itchy  – for me that’s always one of the first signs that I’m really tired. And then I started to notice my negative self-talk increasing. The insecure chatter in my head was louder than usual. And I was tired. More tired than I should have been.

I’m always harping on at myself and others about the importance of sleep, hydration and proper nourishment for a positive and productive mental state. It never fails to amaze me how the way we treat ourselves physically can impact us psychologically. My recent trip overseas reminded me of this, and I became acutely aware that my mental state was suffering as a result.

It’s always important to look after yourself. It’s good for us physically, and it’s good for us mentally. It makes us more productive, and more effective. Being mindful of what our bodies need is a foundation for being better in everything that we do. And it’s easy to be caught off-guard, just like I was.

If we want to be better, we need to build a practice of self-preservation in the three areas of mind, body and spirit. Drop the ball on one of these and the others suffer. Get them all in balance and we’re ready for anything.

So drink your water, get some sleep, and eat well, and you’re winning.