Greater than 5 minutes, my friend!
Running a business, creative or not, is hard. And it is fun! And it has pitfalls. And then there are unicorns! And then you wonder why you are actually doing this. And then there is sunshine! And then you think about quitting. And then it is the best job in the world!
Can you relate? I bet you can, and in fact, I can hear your laughter all the way to my Canberra home.
Going through all those different emotions and phases of high and low motivation can go on your nerves and affect your mood, productivity and happiness.
Sure thing, that’s not new, you think, right?
But those moments, specifically, those moments of weakness, are highly important and need all your attention and awareness because in a situation of low mood and low productivity you may be doing things without noticing. Your unconsciousness does them for you, they have become a habit.
And what are you probably doing to compensate, to get into a better mood? If you are like me, you grab some kind of food. And what are we very likely to eat in order to get that mood and motivation back up and running?
Is it a bar of chocolate? A bag of wine gums? A doughnut? A coke?
I guess you can see what these things all have in common.
It’s SUGAR. We are craving sugar because we have exhausted yourself with work and our body calls for a quick fix to get back into the race.
The problem is, though, that this piece of candy may be the beginning of a vicious cycle as it causes our blood sugar to go sky-high within a few minutes and to crash again below sea level shortly after. And then we crave a new fix.
It is this one moment of low mood when we are distracted, or annoyed at something, and we automatically – without thinking – grab this piece of food and most likely gulp it down without even really enjoying it.
This is why I want to stress how important it is to have some healthy snacks at hand. Because we do need snacks and small foods throughout the day because we all work hard and it is only natural that we need to refuel.
But as tasty as the Snickers bar might be, our body (and for many of us, also our mood) will not be very grateful.
For me, sugar has a huge impact on my mood, my productivity, my focus, and my general wellbeing. And when I resist sugar for a couple of days, I don’t only look different, but I feel different, too. I feel a lot more balanced and stable. When I do eat candy, I notice very soon how I get noticeably more sensitive, I might get annoyed faster, or even get a headache and feel only little motivated in general.
I am not telling you to quit sugar entirely, but if you are curious about it, you should have a read on this topic. It will change your life. But to start small, I want to challenge you to resist candy for a few days/weeks. I know it sounds hard and maybe you want to do this little by little but I would recommend doing it cold turkey. Just do it. You can do it. You are strong enough. Think of eating sugar as an actual addiction because that is what it is.
To be more precise, here are 3 main reasons why you should consider stopping that cycle in order to help your business:
- To improve your brain function. Eating sugar decreases your focus and makes you tired. When I eat a sugary snack or even a meal that contains an above-average amount of sugar, I start feeling groggy and my brain slows down. Obviously, this is something that we want to avoid in our business. Cutting back your sugar intake can seriously improve your ability to focus and stay alert through the entire day without getting tired after lunch.
- To stabilise your mood and minimise your anxiety level. Sugar can actually influence your mood. When I eat a lot of sugar, I am constantly on the edge to frustration, impatience, or annoyance. I can even get angry without any specific reason. I have also experienced how consuming large quantities of sugar can actually trigger anxieties. Now, as a freelancer, it is so easy to eat whatever we like, nobody will judge us because we are by ourselves, right? But when we notice how everything that we put into our body has an influence on our mood and anxiety level and thus on our self-confidence which we need to run a business, it will be easier to avoid those products that don’t do us any good.
- To make a healthy and professional impression. You are the face of your business, the main asset of your brand and services. You want to be your best. Now, your sugar intake can have a very strong impact on your appearance, your skin, your face, and your overall body proportions. You may be a generally slim person but consuming a lot of sugar will show on your hips and in your face. Whenever I stop eating sugar for a few days, my face slims down and my hips become narrower. Not to mention that sugar can be related to an overall feeling of discomfort which, of course, impacts on our productivity and also the impression that we make on clients and colleagues.
I say, give it a try and become your best. Do it for yourself and your business. In fact, it is amazing how resisting candy can help us to get on a much healthier path in general!
Some snacks that you can eat to replace the usual candy are:
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark chocolate (around 85 %) – it contains close to no sugar
- Cucumber sticks or tomato slices with some olive oil and salt
- A simple egg sunny side up works as a beautiful and quick snack. It contains a lot of protein and very good nutrition that will keep you satisfied for a while.
- Berries (Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are among the fruits with the lowest sugar content.)
- Plain yoghurt with fresh or frozen berries (Flavoured yoghurt can contain a lot of sugar.)
Also, just in case you want to take this a step further, I combined a list of foods which contain a lot of hidden sugars.
Foods that contain hidden sugars:
- sauces (from Worcestershire to pasta sauce), dressings, chutneys, mayonnaise
- muesli/ granola/ granola bars (especially when they contain dried fruit, honey or other sweeteners)
- soy milk and other plant-based kinds of milk (Yes, they often contain added cane sugar or other sweeteners – you can check the labels. There is usually a kind/ brand without added sugar. Your body and mind will be very grateful!)
- fresh fruit (fruit contains a lot of sugar and even it is natural sugar, you should not eat too much of it)
- dried fruit (even more so)
- processed foods
- ready-made meals
- no need to mention jams, Nutella, and sodas, right? Jam contains around 50 % sugar!
Now, I think that I should stress that I am not a health expert. I am sharing my own experiences and knowledge with you to inspire you!
I think that we can all achieve great things. If we can dream great things, we are also able to achieve them! However, I see that many people forget one thing when they are occupied with their work – themselves. Taking care of yourself should be your main focus and it does not even have to take up a lot of time. It is about mindset, good habits and listening to yourself and your body.
Now, go get them!