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Editorial / Health & Wellbeing

The Health You Can Measure

I never liked the fluffy concept of work-life balance. 

Saying that everyone, at any time, needs the same “balance” of work and rest is like saying a pro-endurance athlete in their 20s needs to eat the same as a keyboard warrior in their 50s. 

Makes no sense whatsoever! Does it? 

The same nutrition approach will make one a superstar and the other one obese, health-struggling individual. 

Stay-at-home mom or dad? 

Executive managing a multinational holding? 

Do we really think their “balance” will look anything similar? 

What I learned in my earlier days while coaching athletes is that your performance goals, life demands, age and health state will define a different approach to balance, work and recovery. 

And it’ll change as you change, as your life changes. 

Sounds right? Think about it. 

So who am I writing THIS work-life balance prescription for? 

For you, the one committed to building things. 

Not satisfied with how things are, with the status quo but striving to grow, improve, and make a difference. 

At this stage of your life your calling, your purpose are your priorities. 

But also, you don’t want to sacrifice your whole life for it. You know better. There’s no sustainability in the all-or-nothing approach. 

Last long enough to succeed. 

Impact. Sustainability. Health. 

This is for you, dear builder. 

Following the numbers

“I just don’t have the time for all these saunas and cold plunges. I got work to do!” 

At the beginning, you might think, like most of my clients do, that it’ll take an enormous amount of time and effort to change your health and build sustainable habits. 

You’ll have to almost rebuild your whole life. 

In reality, everything is much more doable. 

When you take a structured, science-backed, data-driven approach. 

Keep it simple, as they say. 

There are numerous diets, exercise and recovery protocols. 

This is not an attempt to find the best of them all. 

This is about building a strong, data-driven health foundation. 

If we look at time-tested research, the data we have is very clear. Only a handful of numbers correlate with almost all health benefits you’ll need to sustain great health for decades of impact ahead. 

Sleep hours: 7-9, on a regular basis.  

Step count: 8000 steps a day. 

Water intake: 8 glasses. 

Fruit and vegetables: 800 grams. 

The right amount of protein: 1.5-2g X body weight in kg. 

BONUS: taking a multivitamin, magnesium and Omega 3s is a worthy addition to the advice above. 

I call this framework “Health in 5 Numbers.” 

Most people, when guided and equipped with the right strategies, find that it’s easy, sustainable, effective and flexible. 

And it’ll keep your health markers in the top percentile. 

Stop worrying about “balance” – know your numbers instead. 

Schedule your self-care

Speaking of numbers. 

In the life of an over-scheduled, purpose-driven executive or entrepreneur, a builder nothing happens unless it’s on the calendar. 

When we get together for our morning mountain hikes each Friday in Cape Town we often joke, about how we have to put in the calendar friends and family time, even sleep time often, so that it actually happens. 

Health is no different. 

You say exercise, getting steps in is a priority? 

Show it to me on your schedule! 

During our sessions with clients, we talk through their schedule every week – when/how they gonna do the actions they commit to. 

If it’s not on your schedule – it doesn’t exist. 

Open up your calendar app – schedule important health habits instead of making New Year’s resolutions. 

A PRO TIP for consistently in taking supplements, drinking water, eating the right things: 

Build Guardrails. 

Put your water on a stand by your bedside to drink it first thing in the morning, put your supplements by your coffee machine, prepare/order/plan all your meals on Sunday, schedule your workouts, make it convenient. 

Wake up on Monday and follow the path you built. 

Outsource your motivation

Technology can be a source of anxiety, of spread out and wasted attention, of lost time. 

But it can also be a never-failing guide by your side, nudging you towards your commitments, towards your best self. 

Counting your steps, your calories, your protein intake – any wearable device and countless apps will help you to stay on target. Often providing useful, personalized tips and insights to help you get there. 

I love using habit-tracking apps like Habitshare (where I also check in with my clients), desk calendars, streaks of Xs, or checkmarks on a DIY wall poster to visualize consistency of behavior. 

Seeing the progress, and effort you put in will boost your dopamine, your motivation molecule which will keep you on track, will keep you going when it gets hard. 

It will also help you see how your new habits improve health outcomes, making your behavior change meaningful and rewarding. 

Once you have the system in place, your health becomes simple, tangible, and manageable. 

And that’s when work-life balance turns from unreachable, undefinable aspiration into a set of numbers you’ll learn to achieve every day. 

Last long enough to succeed

Purpose-driven life and work – it’s a marathon with no finish line. 

Imagine running a marathon forever. 

You have to wake up each morning and just keep going. 

Day, after day, after day…. after day. 

I bet your approach would look a lot different from what you’d do for a 4-hour event once a year. 

“Do not do more today than you can completely recover from by tomorrow” 

~ Greg McKeown, Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most

I love this quote because it precisely describes my approach to lifelong entrepreneurship where you wake up every day inspired to make another step forward, motivated to put another piece in, even if your whole life will never be enough to assemble the whole puzzle. 

Instead of feeling burnt out, doubting yourself and your vision, dreaming of a much-needed escape. 

Pacing yourself, being patient, prioritizing your recovery as much as your work is the skill you have to master to last long enough to succeed, which on average will take a couple of decades of living. 

Our success isn’t limited by our abilities or opportunities. 

But by our inability to make our efforts last. 

About Author

Angela Shurina is a multidisciplinary Executive High-Performance Coach for tech founders, executives and leaders, tech teams and startups. In her work Angela uniquely blends neuroscience research and psychology of high performance with supporting integrative brain-body health, nutrition, stress resilience, productivity, mindset tools. Angela helps purpose-driven founders, entrepreneurs, leaders and teams build their vision faster, without burnout, creating more time, health and freedom, and personalized work-life balance, thriving in the midst of uncertainty, unpredictability and global/local challenges.