Iain Bell: Holiday strategy for stressed executives

Iain Bell of Executive Fitness Foundation recommends gym sessions to 'boost energy and lift the immune system'. Picture: Thinkstock
Iain Bell of Executive Fitness Foundation recommends gym sessions to 'boost energy and lift the immune system'. Picture: Thinkstock
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The holiday season is truly upon us. A clean break from executive work-related stress is more essential than ever. All can only be well when the desk is cleared and the promise of a digital detox can truly begin.

The stress of work and the chemical cortisol it produces is the devil and the angel. The sense of purpose to meet business objectives creates a dangerous sensitivity within immune defence systems. Ensuring that well-being is shored-up and fit to cope with the changes travel places upon us is a must.

Returning to work, slimmer, fitter and faster is easier than you would imagine

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The exercise you have been putting off since January’s “burst” needs to get back on track. Even three to four quality gym sessions will boost energy and lift the immune system. Mix this with a booze-free two weeks (most studies recommend two weeks’ total abstinence twice in 12 months).

Arrive at the car hire with a clear head. Fuel the body with quality nutrition such as fresh fruits, salads and dark carbohydrate such as brown pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa. Lots of water – up to two to three litres a day – and a maximum of two to three coffees will also improve body mechanisms.

Business executives should never neglect ground work for your holiday. Your immune system may have to cope with a sharp change in temperature and humidity. If the holiday is two weeks then it’s two weeks’ preparation for the body and mind to ensure quality energy. Mild frequent gym sessions or evening walks after dinner all provide a valuable boost and resolve.

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Again, two weeks before departure, protect the constitution of the gut with a good acidophilus supplement in tablet form. Pack electrolytes or anti-diarrhoea powder. This guarantees hydration. An effective vitamin C supplement such as Berocca will lift energy.

If flying long haul there are usually around 22 meals choices to book up to 24 hours before flying. Avoid heavy carbohydrates and eat fruit and salads or Asian vegetarian.

Pack a small vial of pure tea tree oil – great as an antiseptic but also one drop as a mouth wash or gargle for a bacterial throat infection. Good for insect bites too.

Subscribe to one of many free meditation apps. Not learning is one of the most valuable skills you could ever have. From your local herbalist order “super Echinacea” for the immune system. Holidays are time to switch off. Be courageous and stick to offline mode.

Maintaining personal effectiveness and returning to work, slimmer, fitter and faster is easier than you would imagine. Integrating positive health behaviours always pays dividends. Continue with wellness upon your return and you will feel a lift in performance.

Giving yourself a body holiday and much-needed rejuvenation should be one of life’s destinations and ultimately is true asset management.

• Iain Bell is founder of the Executive Fitness Foundation

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