Why every PA should prioritise health

Guest article written by Chris Pinner, founder of Innerfit

As a PA, you multi-task and deal with uncertainty every day. In spite of impressive organisational skills, your day is often punctuated with stressors.

“Putting yourself first can be hard”, explains Juliane Schreiber, EA at American Express Global Business Travel. “As EAs and PAs we often think of others first because it’s in our nature and our roles”.

Prioritising in order of importance comes second nature to you. How important is your health? Where does it come on your list of priorities?

Here are three reasons to put your health at the top of your to-do list:

Performance

96% of employers see a direct correlation between health, wellbeing, and performance (Aon Benefits & Trends Survey, 2018). Vitality’s Healthiest Workplace report discovered that each employee loses 36 days of productive time because of poor health every year.

Research by Mindful Chef shows 73% of UK adults have skipped the gym or missed a meal because of work.

Those mid-afternoon dips in energy, meals skipped and replaced by unhealthy snacks, gym sessions missed due to tiredness or late working, all negatively impact your health. Isn’t it time to take control of work so work cannot control you?

Prioritising your health will have a positive impact on your performance.

Stress

According to Research by Perkbox, 91% of British workers have experienced work-related stress.

In The Upside of Stress, a Standford Pyschologist reports that stress can in fact make us stronger, smarter, and happier, in moderation.

Experiencing too much stress for long periods is detrimental to our health: hypertension / high blood pressure, hormone imbalances, low energy and poor brain function as blood flow is diverted to muscles are just a few effects. It can also cause burn-out.

When we exercise, our body releases hormones that make us feel great: endorphins, serotonin & dopamine, help to reduce anxiety and stress. We also feel better physically and psychologically.

Healthy eating and avoiding caffeine also help us manage stress levels. Around 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the digestive tract, so show your gut some love! When we are stressed our digestive tract works too fast, there is less time to absorb valuable nutrients as they race through.

Relationships

As a PA, we know you have strong interpersonal skills. You regularly deal with challenging situations and demanding people. You need to be top of your game. So how does health affect our problem-solving skills, communication and patience? Coulson et al, (2008) found that exercise in the working day boosted self- reported ‘mental-interpersonal’ performance by 79%. Exercise equips us to manage challenges easier.

According to Perkbox, losing sleep impacts 65% of British workers, this is the single biggest effect of stress. Tiredness and sleep deprivation increase argumentativeness and irritability, and wreak havoc on functionality.

Next time the daily grind leaves you tired, schedule an extra hour of sleep rather than catching up on emails. You’ll face the next day with a clearer head and far more energy. As a PA, top of your list of priorities should be your health, combined with your skill-set you’ll be fit to face anything.

I hope this has left you feeling inspired to put your personal well-being first. As Juliane suggests, “little by little and step by step” is the best way to start building up gradually. If you want support thinking of that first step, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

BIO

Chris is the founder of Innerfit. Before becoming a Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach, Chris worked at a top US investment bank, Strategy Consultancy and Sports Marketing agency. Innerfit supports companies to have a positive impact on wellbeing & performance.

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