The Better Version of Vacation: 90-day-retreats!

We read it in every second article, are bombarded with it on social media and emails from the talent / HR-department are emphasizing on the same things: It is crucial to prioritize your mental health. Go build your resilience muscle. Take care of your well-being. Improve your selfleadership. That’s quite a full plate, don’t you think so? What if there was one effective strategy to achieve this balance, applied by true healthy high performers? The answer is YES! I call it “90-day-retreats”. With the next vacation season approaching, I want to introduce you in this article to the benefits and why it is even a better version of vacation!

The concept of 90-day retreats means you intentionally take time for rejuvenation. You recharge your mind, foster self-awareness, and cultivate a resilient mindset. All this leading to a positive impact on your mental health and well-being.

Unplugging to Reconnect

Taking a 90-day-retreat involves temporarily disconnecting from the demands of everyday life, both personally and professionally. If you unplug from work, your digital devices and daily routines, you create space to reconnect with yourself on a deeper level. This uninterrupted time allows us to reflect, introspect, and gain clarity about our goals, values, and priorities. Through this process, we can cultivate self-awareness and enhance our ability to improve selfleadership.

Nurturing Mental Health

The endless demands of everyday life at work and at home can take a toll on our mental health. Chronic stress, anxiety, imposter syndrome and burnout seem to be omnipresent. Engaging in a 90-day-retreat means removing yourself from the constant hustle and bustle. You can reduce stress, relax, and truly engage in activities that feed your mindfulness muscle. Doing a short meditation, script a few lines in your journal, go for a long walk outside, spend an hour sitting at the pond in the park watching the birds. Any of these practices help to alleviate stress, improve mood, and foster a sense of inner calm and balance.

Developing Self-Leadership

Self-leadership is the ability to take charge of your own life, make conscious choices, and take responsibility for your actions. During your 90-day-retreat, you have the opportunity to cultivate self-leadership skills: set clear intentions. Define personal and professional goals. Reflect on your values and purpose. All this will enable you to make informed decisions, align your actions with your values, and lead yourself with clarity and purpose.

Building Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenges, adapt to change, and maintain a positive outlook. Taking regular 90-day-retreats contributes to building resilience by allowing you to recharge and build your emotional reserves. By engaging in activities that you enjoy – whether this is beach volleyball with friends, cooking with your partner or having a fence-chat with your (hopefully) lovely neighbour – you can literally strengthen your resilience. This empowers you to navigate setbacks, overcome obstacles, and embrace change with a much better, more positive mindset.

It would be a bit exaggerated to say that 90-day-retreats are better than vacation ;-), but done in the true 90 days interval they can be at least as effective as a two week vacation. If you intentionally carve out time for rejuvenation, for yourself, for your mental health, you empower yourself to navigate life’s challenges with a clear mind and a strong sense of purpose. So, take out your calendar NOW and mark the days when you are going off for your next 90-day-retreat. And once you are enjoying this next retreat, make it a habit and schedule the next 90-day-retreat to follow. By doing this, you will avoid to run out of rejuvenation-time and you prioritise YOUR mental health and well-being.


The Ultimate Energizer: How Sleep Fuels Your Performance

Regardless of which roles you have in your life right now – from board member to family member – there is one super valuable resource that many overlook, especially in these fast-paced times with endless to do-lists and too much weight on your shoulders: sleep! Sleep is actually the ultimate energizer for individuals striving to stay productive, maintain their well-being and master healthy high performance. It acts as a vital reset button for the body and mind, allowing especially busy people to recharge, restore their cognitive functions, and replenish their energy reserves. With constant stimulation and non-stop activity, understanding the significance of sleep as the ultimate energizer is paramount for those seeking to thrive amidst the chaos and achieve healthy high performance in their daily lives.

Experts say that you spend roughly one-third of your life sleeping. Certainly, you want to make every moment count toward the physical and mental rejuvenation that a good sleep provides! Here are 8 tips you can put into action now to experience some of the best sleep of your life:

  1. Investigate your evening routine. Think about the activities you’re involved in from the time you walk in the door to the moment your head hits the pillow. The goal is to increase your awareness about what you’re doing and see if it could be interrupting your sleep. Are you playing catch-up by bringing work home from the office? If so, your mind may be on overdrive and unable to turn off. Do you find yourself consumed with doing household chores like laundry and house-cleaning? In that case, you’re probably lacking time for relaxation.

2. Plan to be in bed with the lights out for at least eight hours. Do you stay up until after midnight? Try to schedule evening activities early, so you can still get eight hours of sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, you might want to make it eight and a half hours.

3. Allow time to unwind. If you’re super busy, you’ll probably be rushing around until you finally collapse on the bed in hopes of getting a few winks. Instead, give yourself at least an hour to shift gears and relax before bed. Everyone needs some downtime.

4. Clear your mind from the day’s chaos. Maybe it’s reading a few pages in a book or taking 20 minutes to meditate. Focus on shifting your thoughts from the intense to the trivial. A tranquil mind invites more sleep than a chaotic one.

5. Create an uncluttered, relaxing bedroom environment. Although you may think that a cluttered bedroom is ok, it may be preventing relaxation and interfering with your sleep. Besides, clutter draws dust, which can cause breathing difficulties during the night. Put everything away: Clothes can go into drawers or the closet, junk mail and magazines into the recycling bin. Organize what you have left: Place a lamp, reading materials, and your alarm clock on your night stand and set the scene for a comfortable night’s slumber.

6. Turn off electronics at least one hour before bed. The light emanating from backlit screens like cell phones, tablets, and e-readers can trick your body into thinking it’s daylight and time to be awake. Plus, it’s best to rest your eyes from such gadgets before trying to sleep.

7. Take a warm bath rather than a shower. If you tend to struggle with sleep quality, it may be that your shower routine is invigorating you rather than relaxing you. Sitting for a few minutes in warm water can help your muscles relax and prepare for sleep.

8. From box-spring bed to box-breathing in bed: Take deep breaths through your nose and count till 5, hold them for 5 seconds, exhale slowly through your nouse counting till 5 again, hold for 5 seconds, repeat. Imagine a quadrant of 4 equal sides and start at the bottom left when doing your breathings.

Many members of our society glorify the hustle and celebrate burnout, thus it’s crucial to recognize the undeniable importance of sleep for your overall health, well-being and continued healthy high performance. Sleep is not merely a luxury but a fundamental pillar of a healthy lifestyle. It is during those precious hours of slumber that your body repairs, regenerates, and optimizes various biological functions: From bolstering your immune system and enhancing cognitive abilities to promoting emotional resilience and fostering creativity, sleep plays an irreplaceable role in our physical, mental, and emotional vitality.

Embracing the value of sleep and prioritizing it as an integral part of your daily routine is a profound act of self-care that enables us to face each day with clarity and a sense of inner balance. So, let us cherish the beauty of rest and honor the ultimate energizer sleep and invest in your own health!

The Counterproductive Myth: Why Sacrificing Sleep for Productivity Backfires

It is a real pitty to say, but it is not uncommon at all for people to sacrifice sleep in pursuit of productivity.

Does this make sense? No.

Can you believe it? Yes.

Do you feel a little guilty now? Maybe?

It’s one thing to talk about the importance of sleep and still go to bed too late every evening, neglecting the long-term implications. To make it a bit more tangible, I took the effort to research some scientific findings that consistently shown that neglecting sleep is counterproductive and undermines your ability to be a healthy high performer. This article should – hopefully – be a friendly reminder for all of you reading these lines and take sleep as serious as it is supposed to be. I will explore the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on productivity and delve into the scientific evidence that supports the importance of prioritizing sleep for success. I will also examine how well-rested leaders possess qualities such as empathy, creativity, innovation, and sound decision-making, which are crucial for all of us achieving long-term success.

The Adverse Impact of Sleep Deprivation

Numerous scientific studies highlight the negative consequences of sleep deprivation on cognitive function and productivity. One study conducted at Harvard Medical School found that sleep-deprived individuals exhibit impairments in attention, working memory, and cognitive processing speed, leading to decreased productivity and increased errors (Banks et al., 2007). Sleep deprivation also compromises decision-making abilities, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think creatively (Killgore, 2010). These findings underscore the notion that sacrificing sleep compromises our cognitive capabilities and diminishes productivity rather than enhancing it.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Sleep deprivation not only affects cognitive function but also impairs our emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships. Research conducted at the University of California, Berkeley revealed that lack of sleep reduces the brain’s capacity to accurately interpret and respond to emotional cues, leading to a decline in empathy and emotional intelligence (Walker, 2017). Well-rested leaders, on the other hand, are better equipped to understand and connect with their team members, fostering a positive work environment that promotes collaboration and trust – both the baseline for any organization or team try to master current times of uncertainty!

Unleashing Creativity and Innovation

Sleep plays a vital role in facilitating creative thinking and fostering innovative ideas. A study published in the journal “Thinking & Reasoning” demonstrated that sleep enhances insight problem-solving and facilitates the integration of unrelated concepts, resulting in innovative solutions (Wagner et al., 2004). Adequate sleep allows the brain to consolidate information, make novel connections, and engage in creative problem-solving, enabling well-rested leaders to approach challenges with fresh perspectives and breakthrough thinking.

Sound Decision-Making

Effective decision-making is a cornerstone of success in leadership and entrepreneurship. Sleep deprivation, however, impairs judgment and compromises our ability to make sound decisions. A study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, revealed that sleep-deprived individuals tend to make riskier decisions and exhibit a reduced ability to evaluate potential outcomes accurately. In contrast, leaders who prioritize sleep can make better-informed decisions, weighing the pros and cons with clarity and rationality.

Why It Matters for Success

Well-rested leaders who prioritize sleep possess a competitive edge in the long run. By nurturing qualities such as empathy, creativity, innovation, and sound decision-making, they create a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent. Moreover, they are better equipped to handle complex challenges, adapt to changing circumstances, and lead their teams with clarity and inspiration. All of these qualities are urgently needed for any organization and industry these days. We know, success is not solely measured by immediate outcomes but by sustained growth, innovation, and long-term achievements – all of which are enhanced by prioritizing quality sleep.

The belief that sacrificing sleep leads to enhanced productivity is a counterproductive myth. Scientific research consistently shows that neglecting sleep undermines cognitive function, impairs emotional intelligence, stifles creativity, and compromises decision-making abilities. Well-rested leaders, on the other hand, possess qualities that are essential for long-term success, including heightened empathy, enhanced creativity, innovative thinking, and sound decision-making skills. Hopefully now, having read some scientific research findings, you truly recognize the importance of quality sleep as a catalyst for success and go for a good rest tonight!

The Habit of Saying “No”: Why It’s So Important to Learn and 5 Easy Tricks to Do It

Saying “no” can be one of the most difficult things to do, especially for those who are people-pleasers or have a fear of disappointing others. But it’s not only those considered „weak“ – also many leaders and decision makers have their own way of fighting with this little word “no”. However, learning to say “no” is an essential habit for maintaining healthy boundaries, reducing stress, mastering productivity, managing one’s own needs and last but not least: achieving your goals and not just working off the tasks on other people’s agendas! In this article, we will explore why it is so important to learn to say “no,” why people fail in saying “no,” and five easy tricks on how to say “no” more often.

Why Saying “No” is Important

Learning to say “no” is crucial for several reasons. First, it allows individuals to prioritize their own needs and goals. Without the ability to say “no,” individuals can become overwhelmed with responsibilities and commitments that do not align with their values or priorities. Saying “no” enables individuals to focus on what is truly important to them, whether it be personal goals, self-care, or spending time with loved ones. Think of a small child, 2-3 years old, trying to get what she wants and throwing this insisting, unmistakable “no” at Mum or Dad – this is a living example of saying “no” because of prioritizing one’s own, current needs!

Second, saying “no” helps to establish healthy boundaries. Boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships, both personal and professional. Without boundaries, individuals can become overworked, stressed, and even resentful of others. Saying “no” when necessary can help individuals establish and maintain boundaries, communicate their needs, and promote mutual respect in their relationships.

Finally, saying “no” can reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Constantly saying “yes” to every request or opportunity can lead to burnout, fatigue, and decreased mental and physical health. By saying “no” when necessary, individuals can reduce stress, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and prioritize their own well-being.

Why People Fail in Saying “No”

Despite the importance of saying “no” from a productivity point, many individuals struggle to do so. There are several reasons why people fail in saying “no,” including:

  • Fear of disappointing others: Many people-pleasers fear that saying “no” will disappoint or upset others, leading them to say “yes” to everything.
  • Guilt: Individuals may feel guilty for saying “no,” especially if they have a strong desire to please others.
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Individuals may worry that saying “no” will cause them to miss out on opportunities or experiences.
  • Lack of assertiveness: Some individuals may struggle with assertiveness, making it difficult for them to say “no” without feeling guilty or uncomfortable.
  • Need for approval: Some individuals may feel a strong need for approval from others, leading them to say “yes” to everything to gain validation or acceptance.

5 Easy Tricks and Advice to Say “No” More Often

Learning to say “no” takes practice and to make it a habit is part of any core productivity routine. There are several easy tricks and advice to help individuals become more comfortable with this habit:

  • Prioritize your values and goals: Before committing to anything, take time to reflect on your values and goals. Does this opportunity align with what is important to you? Will it help you achieve your goals? If not, consider saying “no.”
  • Use “I” statements: When saying “no,” use “I” statements to communicate your needs and boundaries. For example, “I cannot commit to this right now” or “I need to prioritize my own well-being at the moment.”
  • Offer alternatives: If you cannot say “yes” to a request or opportunity, offer an alternative that aligns with your values and goals. For example, “I cannot attend this event, but I would be happy to help you plan the next one.”
  • Practice assertiveness: Assertiveness takes practice, but it is a skill that can be learned. Use assertive language,

While it may be difficult at first, there are several easy tricks and advice that individuals can use to become more comfortable with saying “no.” By prioritizing values and goals, using “I” statements, offering alternatives, practicing assertiveness, and recognizing that it is okay to say “no,” individuals can establish and maintain healthy boundaries, improve their overall well-being, and build stronger, more respectful relationships. Despite „no“ being such a short, simple word it does take practice for many people – young and old, experienced and juniors alike – to become more and more comfortable to say “no”. So, don’t be afraid to say “no” when necessary and prioritize your own needs and goals. Your mental and physical health will thank you and „no“ will be your key to many “yes-es” to follow!

5 Mistakes That Cause New Habits to Fail

Habits are the key. Your habits determine how much money is in your bank account and the size of your waistline. Your habits determine the quality of your life. It can seem impossible to break bad habits or to create new, positive habits. Most people have an ineffective approach. They try to go cold turkey and rely on willpower to force the necessary changes. You already know this doesn’t work unless you’re incredibly motivated, and motivation isn’t reliable. It’s here one day and gone the next. To create new habits more effectively, you should avoid these most common mistakes:

1. Changing too much, too soon.

A new habit is best installed in baby steps. If you want to spend two hours each day writing your novel, start with a single sentence each day. One sentence accomplishes something exciting: it gets you in the habit of sitting down and writing when it’s time to write. That’s the most important first step.

  • Start with small changes. Then increase the amount of time and effort when the habit of beginning is in place.
  • Seek behavioral changes that are so easy, you can’t possibly fail.

2. Relying on self-discipline.

If your habit requires self-discipline, it won’t last. At most, self-discipline should only be required to make a habit of getting started. Habits are automatic. Self-discipline isn’t required to eat a candy bar or watch TV for most of us. If you have a habit of going to the gym, self-discipline isn’t required for that either.

  • Self-discipline is a short-term solution.
  • Seek behavioral changes that are so easy, you don’t need self-discipline.

3. Expecting a new habit to be easy to install.

Change isn’t easy. You’ll become complacent and lazy if you expect a new habit to be easy to implement. We’d all be rich, in shape, and speak five languages if creating new habits were a simple matter.

4. Expecting a new habit to be difficult to install.

The opposite is also true. If you expect the process to be exceptionally difficult, you’ll also struggle. The thought of doing anything that’s hard can be sufficient reason to never get started in the first place.

  • New behaviors are easy to implement if you start slowly and have patience. It’s moving ahead slowly and having patience that are difficult.

5. Relying too much on information.

Our society is blessed, or cursed, with access to an excessive amount of information. This can create several challenges:

  • It’s very easy to believe that you don’t know enough to take the first step. There’s always something out there that you don’t know. The need to know everything before getting started can leave you stuck. There’s no prize for knowing the most. There is great success in doing the most, though.
  • The belief that knowledge alone is sufficient is just as harmful. You might know how to do pushups, but that doesn’t provide the same results as doing 100 of them each day.
  • The special forces have a motto that 60% is enough to take action. If you know 60% of the relevant information, you know enough to move forward. You can figure out the other 40% along the way. Spend 90% of your time doing and 10% learning.

Dropping your negative habits and adding new, supportive habits is the key to changing your circumstances. Unfortunately, our instincts about change are incorrect. Tiny changes are easy to implement and build upon. But this approach requires patience and the belief that it can work. Remember: small changes add up to big results. Avoid the most common mistakes when attempting to add a new habit to your life and you’ll find greater success in adding habits that make a positive impact on your life.