Get fit, or get out

Beating the recession starts with you. You can make a difference for your company or agency. We probably all feel the pressure to excel now, not just for our own careers and job security, but for those of our friends and colleagues.

Let’s assume that the recession will place tighter disciplines and more demands on you. Tolerances will be reduced, there will be fewer resources and you’ll probably work harder than you ever have before. Under those circumstances, the first place to start is with your physical health. You simply won’t be at your peak performance if your body cannot cope with the fresh demands you will place on it.

This means a healthy diet and a rigorous exercise regime. Exercise decreases stress and unlocks more energy to tackle the demands of the day. I have personally found this means at least 45 minutes of exercise four times per week in order to make a substantial difference on your well being. The challenge is to build this into your daily routine. It will take 10-12 repetitions of that behavior for you to make it part of your routine so it needs to be at a fixed regular time eg cycling to work, running home from work, or first thing in the morning.

For instance, I used to run the 4 miles to work every day. Now with other demands and while it’s dark first thing, I’ve found it easier to get up and row for 30 minutes on weekdays before my son wakes up. Whatever works for you, but try to integrate it into your daily routine rather than grabbing ad hoc opportunities since that is hard to sustain.

On a blog about PR, it may be odd to talk about physical health (and I am no expert nor a shining example I’ll admit), but fighting a recession is a marathon. In order to cope and do your best work, you need to make sure you are physically able to do it. There’s no point missing days here and there, working at 80% in the afternoons, or suffering chronic stress. You need to feel good, strong and on top of your game. Ask yourself, are you fitter now than you were five years ago? If not, then you have work to do. Don’t let your physical condition dictate your future – it’s one thing you can control.