Females in Fintech: finding time for health and wellbeing in a busy world
In this age of information overload, it often seems impossible to pay attention to personal wellbeing. From the moment we wake up and pretty much until bedtime, someone or some device is clamouring for our attention.
Sadly for many of us, reducing our responsibilities is simply not an option. However, there are tactics and habits that we can adopt that make life that little bit easier.
To learn more, FS Partnership encouraged some of its team members to switch off their screens and attend a special event as part of modern payments platform Marqeta’s Females in Fintech initiative.
The Finding Balance workshop, in October in London, was led by Caroline Milne, founder of Coaching with Caroline. Here are our lightbulb moments on:
Getting a proper night’s sleep
It’s bizarre that parents seem to understand the importance and benefits of ensuring babies and children have consistent sleep routines (cognitive development for example), yet don’t apply such discipline in their own lives. For reasons as yet unexplained, we are the only species on the planet that deprives itself of sleep.
Tip: the best time for deep sleep is before 2am, so it’s important to get to bed at a sensible hour. Here are Caroline’s 6 non-negotiables for sleep:
- Regular bed and wake time
- Avoid eating at least 2 hours before sleep
- Remove all screens from the bedroom
- Avoid alcohol and other stimulants
- Exercise and fuel throughout the day
- Avoid snoozing
Reducing and managing stress
People commonly complain about having a ‘lack of time’, but scratch beneath the surface and it’s likely they’re not effectively prioritising their schedule. We often bumble through the day on ‘autopilot’, failing to audit where the time is going and how it might be best spent.
A typical case of poor time management is scanning rather than actioning emails at work, particularly those that pop up when we’re in the middle of another task.
During the day Caroline drew a helpful bucket of water analogy to illustrate how people often use their time. A full bucket of water represents the time you have each day. By the time you’ve poured out the water for all the things you are expected to do, it becomes clear that you’re not dedicating enough time to the one thing that matters the most: you. It’s important, therefore, to work out a hierarchy of time so you don’t neglect yourself.
Tip 1: at the end of the day, create an ‘end of day report card’, as this will help you to plan tomorrow’s tasks and offload any thoughts you’re having about the day. Additionally, instead of creating a to-do list, create a priority list to boost focus.
Tip 2: if you’re feeling stressed, stop. Breathe deeply at least three times for around five seconds. You’ll feel the benefits straight away.
Optimising nutrition and diet
This is one of the most challenging areas to get right. Temptation is everywhere and in a busy world, convenience is king. Food can be split into a handful of different groups. First is raw or natural, such as fruit and vegetables. Second is food with a degree of processing such as tinned tuna or bread. Third is ultra-processed food like pizza, doughnuts and chocolate. Caroline’s advice was to aim for eating more of the first group.
Tip 1: it’s hard to believe but chocolate cravings only last 40 seconds. Try to distract yourself with a favourite song to ride out the craving.
Tip 2: avoid caffeine after 2pm to aid sleep.
Getting the right type of exercise
Unsurprisingly, exercise was another essential area of self-care. During the session we learnt about the importance of having both cardiovascular and resistance training in your life.
Tip: complement those walks or swims with some weight-bearing exercises, such as press-ups, planks, lunges and squats to help build bone and muscle density that will help offset the effects of ageing.
The advantages of wearable technology
While not wishing to add another layer of information to people’s already busy days, there are now a range of effective apps and devices that do a fantastic job of helping us to keep tabs on health parameters.
Brands and products including Garmin, WHOOP, FitBit, Apple Watch and Zoe cover everything from sleep patterns and glucose levels to diet and exercise.
Tip: see what apps are available in your smartphone’s app store and start by downloading one that is most relevant to an area you feel is neglected in your life. For example a mindfulness app if you feel unable to find calm, or a diet app if you spend too much time staring at the fridge.
The key takeaway from Females in Fintech: Finding Balance
Success in improving your health and wellbeing lies in plans that feel achievable – try to be too ambitious and autopilot will kick back in. Alongside this, it’s vital to focus on what really matters to you personally. And if you get this right, you’ll begin to feel like a balance has been found between your own needs and those who depend on you.