We are connected, whole human beings and our physical well-being is connected to our spiritual, mental and emotional well-being – as well as giving us the energy needed to keep our business running. Finding good habits to keep you physically healthy will be a great investment into your long-term BAM endurance.
We are all different but we can all find out what gives and what takes energy. Then we make systematic decisions to have more of the situations that give energy in our everyday lives. – HS, Europe/Middle East
Many of the helps to physical well-being that are identified below are nothing more than common sense. We are certainly not going to win any prizes for breakthrough health advice! Yet taking care of ourselves, our spirit, intellect, emotions and body, can be the first thing to be neglected when life is stressful. It’s important to revisit the basics.
The Good Habits
Here are 10 good habits for physical health that BAM practitioners have found helpful:
1. Find an exercise routine you can do anywhere
I do some exercise before going to bed. push ups and pull ups. I do a little bit of exercise in our yard as well. All of this helps. – Daniel, Haiti
A free app called the 7-minute workout has allowed me to find ways to exercise quickly and in confined spaces. With no equipment needed, it even works when I’m traveling and short on time or space. – M., Middle East
2. Exercise with others or play a team sport
I play the local game of futsal at least once a week which helps to build friends quickly but also keeps me in shape. At work I do cross fit twice a week with some of my colleagues before work starts. Having a social activity to do together helps to break down barriers that may be there in a regular work environment. – Jacob, Nepal
3. Keep your weight healthy with a diet you can stick to
I needed to lose around 10kg, so we have followed a low carb diet for the last 18 months and I am glad to say that my weight is now acceptable, I would recommend this to anyone. – Duncan, India
4. Prioritise sleep
Not surprisingly, the link between spiritual well being and physical well being is strong (3 John 2). I know what sleep refreshes me (7 hours). I go to sleep by 9:30pm, rise by 4:30am and start the day with silence, solitude and prayer, then head to the gym for a 35 min workout. – Liam, Australia
Physical and spiritual well-being are quite connected. One of my favorite pastors used to say that sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to take a nap! – NH, Asia/USA
5. Take a Sabbath or day off each week
In order to release stress we made an effort to rest on the weekends, going only to church on Sunday mornings and sometimes walking on the beach on the afternoons. – Hans, Angola/Brazil
I try to have one full day off per week without work, if possible, or blocks of time, which are down-time. – MH, Asia
6. Be pragmatic about travel
Sometimes when traveling I’m put in people’s homes instead of hotels. While its lovely to get to know people, it is wearing and I’m most often put in the children’s rooms where the beds are not very good. I’ve had to be more clear on how I will travel and what no longer works for me without feeling guilty. Some of my trips are more than a month long. In the midst of those trips I look for something relaxing to put into the schedule — a few days at a beach, time for a museum, etc. – NH, Asia/USA
7. Live in a less stressful environment if possible
For me, I have enough work challenges, and this is where I need to invest my best energy, so we have chosen to live in a place which is not too expensive, but has a view of trees, natural light, and is relatively quiet and spacious, in the middle of a mad city. Before that we lived for two years in a poor area where the roads and power supply were bad and the noise levels were high. – MH, Asia
8. Reduce your commute
My office is very close to home, so I don’t waste time commuting unnecessarily. I avoid traffic jams at all costs, and minimise the amount of unnecessary travel. We have been able to hire a driver, and so if I know I will be in a jam I take a laptop with spare batteries, and I can work. – MH, Asia
We had to live on a compound for security reasons, so we had a 12 km from our house to the main bookstore. It took me 1.5 hours to get there every morning and 2 hours to get back in the evening. We arrived home around 9pm and just fell into the bed. – Hans, Angola/Brazil
9. Filter it out
I buy a good mask to wear when it’s really polluted outside and make sure to have a good water filtration system. It’s ok to splurge on this because we always need water and I’d rather drink clean water than get sick from it. – Jacob, Nepal
10. Be as consistent as possible
Personally for us, when at home, with a more set schedule, eating habits and exercise is much easier and more consistent. – James, Indonesia
Poor planning results in inadequate time, energy and effort to maintaining health, so I try to prioritise, plan and then be consistent about putting it into practice. For example, I associate prayer for certain groups with certain exercises (treadmill = praying for board; cross trainer = praying for staff; walking = praying for extended family; etc). I walk with my wife almost daily and play team sport once per week. – Liam, Australia
With special thanks to all the BAMers who took time to give us input for this series.
Jo Plummer is the Co-Chair of the BAM Global Think Tank and co-editor the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission. She has been developing resources for BAM since 2001 and currently serves as Editor of the Business as Mission website.
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