A Healthy Lifestyle Increases Career Success
By Nancy J. Miller
We know how important it is to exercise and eat healthy, yet there isn’t always the perceived time or motivation for healthful practices. It is very easy to commute to work in your car, spend time working at a desk, and find quick processed snacks and meals in between. It can feel like a slippery slope trying to stay on top of healthy meals and exercise. Comfort food, work, watching games, anxiety, tiredness, homework, watching TV––any number of things can sabotage the best intentions.
It is easy to get too comfortable in our lifestyles and feel secure in our work, but we are all potential job seekers, entrepreneurs, or freelancers. Successful career development is an ongoing process of preparation for the next transition. Whether you are a career professional, an employee, or a job seeker, you not only need to develop skills for the next transition, but you need to practice and model healthy habits. Career success starts with you.
Career professionals have the opportunity to model and use healthy activities in their life and practice. It is more effective to SHOW than to TELL students and clients how important healthful practices are for career development.
Career professionals can sometimes walk and talk with students and clients to encourage healthy habits.
Before a mock interview practice a power pose, deep breathing, or brief visualization.
Smile and have fun to relax and de-stress.
Lifestyle habits show in posture, stress level, attitude, and energy. One of the most important, often neglected, strategies career professionals can teach is the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Employees need to practice a healthy lifestyle because employers know that healthy habits result in a more productive worker. Employers care about healthy employees, therefore they will want to hire healthy people to add to their team. Some of the benefits from practicing healthy habits are:
There are growing incentives from government and corporations to have wellness programs at work.
A New York Times article, Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits, says “Growing numbers of employers have adopted wellness programs after finding that they can lower health costs and increase the productivity of workers”.
A healthy lifestyle improves work habits, decreases absenteeism, and increases productivity that will result in the employee having improved job evaluations, better retention, and opportunities for advancement and future employment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Individual employees and employers can derive economic benefits from improved health. For employees, improved health can reduce out-of-pocket expenses for physician office visits, medications, procedures or hospitalizations related to acute or chronic illness. Improved health may also enhance job security because the employee is more productive, absent less often, and more likely to avoid short- or long-term disability."
It pays to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle begins at home, shows at work, and can be enhanced by participating in employment sponsored health and incentive programs. For those who are self-employed, a healthy lifestyle is even more important with the demands of getting and keeping jobs. Managing the challenges of a portfolio career with healthy habits while focusing on the positive will help reduce stress for a successful portfolio career.
"A healthy lifestyle gives you the energy and robust glow that attracts people to you and makes an employer want to hire you. You command trust and confidence when your posture and expression show your health and happiness”(Miller, 2012). You know that first impressions make a difference in your networking and interviews, but do you know what it takes to make a good first impression?
When you exercise and develop strong core muscles you will have a confident posture and de-stress exercises give you a relaxed smile. Healthful eating habits, walking outdoors, and practicing gratitude will give you positive energy and a healthy glow.
Social Media Sharing
Share your healthy lifestyle on social media. There is a great opportunity to show employers, students, and clients what a healthy lifestyle looks like through the activities you share.
Healthy leisure activities or active hobbies.
Socializing around walking, biking, running, kayaking, etc.
Share recipes or restaurants with healthy meals.
“Find an accountability partner, socialize and network around healthy habits, and work with a professional if needed”(Miller, n.d.). Your healthy lifestyle will show in what you do. A healthy lifestyle requires discipline, skills, and good habits. It is more fun to establish and maintain healthy habits if you are not alone.
What Can You Do?
Many healthy practices take a little time, planning, and motivation but very little expense. It’s easy to incorporate healthy practices into your daily routine.
Eat fresh––it’s fast food. Plant a few vegetables in a backyard or window garden where they are available to quickly pick and eat, check out local farmer’s markets for fresh, seasonal produce, or shop fresh at your local grocery store.
Stretch, lift weight you can tolerate, and walk or run––it’s free!
Students and clients can participate in counseling and career development activities outside of the office.
Have a fun family dinner making veggie pizza together and going for a bike ride.
Healthful habits begin at home with family and friends, and then become a natural part of your way of working and doing. You will have more energy, confidence, and productivity when you practice and model healthy lifestyle.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Benefits of Health Promotion Programs. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/businesscase/benefits/.
Miller, N. J. (n.d.). 10 Ways to Model a Healthy Lifestyle For More Effective Career Services. Retrieved from http://ceuonestop.com/wp/home/webinars/recordings/.
Pear, R. (n.d.). Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/health/policy/10health.html?_r=0.
Miller, N. J. (2012). Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success. Elk Grove, CA: Teal Publishing.
Nancy J. Miller, M.S. is a Career Counselor and Coach at Creative LifeWork Design. Her book, “Vegetable Kids in the Garden” will be coming this year. She is a field editor for Career Convergence web magazine, has written numerous professional articles, and gives presentations for career development conferences. Nancy uses a holistic practical approach to coaching entrepreneurs, professionals, and writers to create business and career success in harmony with their values. Connect with Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.njmiller.weebly.com, and connect with her on Linkedin.