Sep 18, 2015

Go take a hike!!!

Keeping mind and body alive at work

It's something I've thought about often – and I finally got around to pulling my thoughts together. I now realize that our grandparents knew what they were talking about (yet again!). Those familiar adages, like: All Work and No Play Makes Jack- or Raju, or Mohan - a Dull Boy. Or: A Sound Mind in a Sound Body. There was a reason they came up with those. I believe we need to balance out our lives, or we run the risk of burning ourselves out. Today, we are working longer and longer hours, in closed, air-conditioned spaces, often in extremely stressful situations - and we're not taking enough time out to play. Our minds are getting 'dull', our bodies are not 'sound', we are getting tired more easily and yet we are pushing ourselves harder and harder.

The truth is – there's no great work without a great workout. It's no coincidence that so many corporate leaders and business mavericks across the world are taking part in marathons and triathlons and, literally, 'upping their game'. They've understood that we need to keep fit, to exercise, to stay strong and well, in order to perform at an optimum level. Merely slogging it out at an office desk is not going to get great results. In fact, after a certain amount of hours at a stretch, we become unproductive.

 I was talking to our company doctor, Dr. Shukla, the other day and he was telling me how we have to start taking a holistic view of ourselves, because everything about us is connected. If we don't sleep a good 8 hours a day, we can't perform to the best of our capabilities. If we don't eat at regular times, and as healthily as possible, we can't function properly. If we don't exercise regularly, we don't feel good in mind and body. In time, the build-up can lead to fatigue, depression, health issues, sluggishness and a general lack of performance. 'Tunnel vision' sets in, and we become rigid and blinkered in our approach to new ideas or problems, and incapable of coming up with fresh, innovative solutions.

 Am I therefore saying that we shouldn't work hard? No, please work hard, work very hard – but play too. I'm not necessarily talking about taking up a sport competitively or investing hours in it. I'm not even talking about sport per se. I'm just talking about going out there and playing a little. Play comes in all forms, it's anything that gives us joy, lightens our hearts and lifts our spirits. It's something that raises our 'Happiness Quotient', and makes us look forward to another day. Go and kick a football around with the building kids every weekend; learn how to play the guitar; hit a few tennis balls with a friend after work; take your dog for a walk; go on a picnic with your family; do 20 minutes of yoga every day; paint; run; dance; walk; take the stairs; move. You'll feel better, happier, healthier. You'll work better.

So if you're ever feeling low, or sad, or out of your depth, here's what I want to say to you – Go take a hike!

Or, just go for a walk.

About the author

Piyush Mehta

Piyush Mehta

Chief Human Resources Officer

Piyush Mehta leads Genpact’s global Human Resources (HR) function and in this capacity has played an integral role in the organization's journey to becoming an Employer of Choice.

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