“Really? I’ve never thought about it like that.” I didn’t think I’d be uttering these words when I started at Hintsa Performance last fall. Admittedly, Hintsa is the world leader in human performance and coaching, with a method perfected over 20 years – in sports and in business. But then again, I had worked as an entrepreneur and researcher in health and wellbeing for over six years. And like many, I had been an avid wellbeing enthusiast myself. I thought I knew everything there was to know. Still, since starting at Hintsa, not a week goes by that I don’t learn something new from our experts. Here is a selection of facts and tips – one from each element of the Hintsa model which we describe throughout 2020 in the Technopolis Wellness Talks webinars – that have given me pause. I hope you’ll find something that speaks to you, too.
GENERAL HEALTH: A top preventative action
This was mindboggling for me: in Finland, where our healthcare system is world-class, about one in five of our coaching customers with a medical check-up find something that needs to be fixed. One in five. I don’t favour excessive medical check-ups in general but it did make me think: What preventative action could I do, today, for my general health? One of our coaches answered: “Book a time at the dentist. We really should get our teeth checked once a year. Our mouths contain many risks and getting a problem or an infection so close to your brain can be dangerous.” Done. I now have a standing reminder every January to book my yearly dental check.
NUTRITION: The magic of alcohol-free
I’ve always enjoyed moderate social drinking. A glass of wine after work, some sparkling for celebrations, a cold beer in the sauna. We all know alcohol isn’t exactly beneficial, but after repeatedly hearing the real, physical effects of alcohol on my body and mind, I went alcohol-free in January. The result: my nightly resting heart rate dropped by 5 bpm on average, and I slept 0,5 hours a night more. I won’t become 100% alcohol-free, but I challenge you: Is there an alcoholic drink you could switch out? I now enjoy my post-sauna beer alcohol-free, and my afterwork kombucha – and I’m as social and happy as before.
SLEEP & RECOVERY: Day-time drinking for better sleep
I thought I had perfected my sleep: I have morning and evening routines, a peaceful bedroom, and little nigh-time digital activity. But this was new for me: the link between day-time hydration and night-time wakefulness. Apparently, if your body is dehydrated, you risk waking up more in the night. Yikes.
Drinking right before sleep is not advisable (then you’ll just wake up for a bathroom brake) – you should drink enough water during the day. Here’s what I did: every time I grab a cup of coffee (that’s my recurring habit) I also drink a large glass of water. What habit could you link to drinking water?
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Work it in to work out
We know we should move enough during the day – the challenge for an office worker is making it happen. Try this: book 5 minutes in your calendar every day at a time that’s convenient for you. I just mark it “Walk” or “Move”. Why it works for me: I get an Outlook pop-up on my desktop, but I also see this little visual reminder – or ‘nudge’ – every time I glance at my calendar. Without actively thinking about it, it’s made me stretch between meetings, get up during conf calls, and micro-correct my posture throughout the day.
BIOMECHANICS: A fix for back pain
Too many of us office workers suffer from back pain. Here’s a small nugget of information I learned the other day: Backpain is associated with tightness in your back thighs. In short, if the back of your legs are tight, your lower back compensates for it in your daily activity – for example when you are sitting and your back creates a little curve. And if you sit a lot, it adds up, resulting in back pain. Outch. The simplest way to stretch your back thighs is leaning forward while standing – with a straight back! – and down towards the floor. Loose legs, better back.
CORE: Do you know who you are?
One of the things that differentiates Hintsa’s method from many others is the focus on what we call “core”: who you are and what you value. This is a big topic to unbundle in a short text, but here’s a simple way to approach it: Think about one thing that’s important to you – be it family, honesty, a hobby, reliability – and then think of one thing you do daily or weekly that lets you live that value, concretely. It’s easy to have values, but only living them creates value.
MENTAL ENERGY: The power of ‘No’
Our world is full of demands on our time: work, family, friends, hobbies. There are always more things we can or should do. Even this blog post is filled with tips you “ought to do”. So I’ll reshare a tip I got on mental energy: Learn to say no – that means you can say yes to what really matters. Try it now: say no to 5 out of 6 tips on this list, and yes to just one. Then be razor-focused on trying to fit that one into your life. The one step you take is much more impactful than the ten steps you only dream of taking.
Nora Rosendahl, Hintsa Performance
Nora Rosendahl is Chief Operating Officer at wellbeing & coaching company Hintsa Performance, a doctoral researcher in the Aalto University’s Future of Work research group, and a mother of two.
These and a range of other topics will be discussed in the Technopolis Wellness Talks webinars powered by Hintsa Performance throughout 2020. Hintsa Performance coaches and experts will share their experience and tips on work, wellbeing, performance, and life in general. Join us online, and invite your colleague too.
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The above text is from the Technopolis Wellness Talks "Better Life, Better Performance" webinar which was organized on Feb. 13, 2020. Webinars are organized in cooperation with Hintsa Performance.
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