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E.S.G. your life to sanity

Many of us in C-suite know about E.S.G., as in Environmental, Social, and Governance factors in gauging the holistic health and stance of a business entity. ESG is a trending topic in the media, as much as for consumers and employees to discern what businesses they would like to be associated with.

However, we are talking about a different E.S.G., which stands for:

  • Eat (right)

  • Sleep (well)

  • Gym (regularly)

Eating right, sleeping well, and exercising regularly, are the cornerstone and bedrock of keeping the body well, mentally and physically.

More than 40 years of health and fitness

Back in June 2002, 2 decades ago, my younger brother and I co-authored the “This Body This Life” book (, ISBN 9781411614628), which chronicled the personal journeys we both took to keep fit and healthy through our growing and adult years.

And we never stopped. He and I continued our personal journeys to stay healthy despite a busy and grilling work schedule, and we fought through the tough pandemic years as well.

E.S.G. basics

What do I do these days, having gone through 3 years of the pandemic?

Eating right is not easy for city folks. We rush through the work day, whether working from home, at the office, at a cafe, or the airport. Cooking is a luxury for most of us because we are time-strapped. Remember the basics of getting sufficient proteins daily, which, depending on contemporary or classical literature, means for every kilogram of our body weight, we have to consume 1 to 1.5 grams of proteins. Proteins are not all the same, whether they come from eggs, vegetables, dairy, or meats, due to the bioavailability of amino acids. To be vegan, you would have to consume far more, in a broader spectrum of vegetable sources, and over a longer period of time to match up to eggs and meats. This is especially so if you intend to retain a decent amount of muscle mass. Most consumer food outlets have far too much carbohydrates, fats, and sodium (salt), so you have to temper your intake and counterbalance these high-calorie foods with more vegetable fiber (rather than fruits since fruits contain the sugar fructose).

Sleeping well is also a luxury for communicators and C-suite executives. We are blessed if we can squeeze in a daily 5 to 6 hours of sleep. Bad and insufficient sleep can cause neurological problems and more, and especially so as we age. Our bodies modulate hormone production in our sleep, so general health and good sleep do go together. I would usually slow down as the night deepens, with reading, prayer, light music, and some stretching. Sometimes I would take a caffeine-free drink such as chamomile. And during the work day, especially after lunch, I make no apology taking a short nap. I become much more productive thereafter.

Exercising is another regulating regime that helps us stay mentally and physically well. There are 2 kinds of exercises for our metabolism, anabolic (building, or anaerobic), and catabolic (depleting, or aerobic). Anabolic exercises build up and grow our bodies, include repairs. Catabolic exercises deplete energy we stored. Anabolic activities involve hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, insulin, and growth hormone. Catabolic activities involve hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol (the “stress” hormone), cytokines, and glucagon. The result for anabolic activities is that you tend to lose fat and gain muscle, while catabolic activities tend to lose both fat and muscle, which may not a good thing especially as we age, since we already lose muscle mass as we age. So anabolic exercises are weight lifting, whether assisted machines at the gym, free weights, or your own body weight. Catabolic exercises are aerobic exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming. There is also an element of stretching, which can help warm up the muscles for both anabolic and catabolic exercises.

What is your way to detox and detach?

Every successful person who can sustain an exhausting work schedule and continue to thrive, cannot be working and working only to the detriment of their own health or having a life. Find ways to detox and detach from the work to keep healthy and sane.

Some people turn to dance. Some to reading. Some to prayer and meditation. And some to music. I keep up the ESG of eating right, sleeping well, and exercising regularly. And on top of that, I keep up my Chinese painting and calligraphy, using brush pens and notepads I can bring anywhere I work or travel.

As communication practitioners, we are tuned in to global affairs and trends every minute, and have to preempt and respond accordingly and expediently without fail. We are at our peak performance communicating with C-suite and leadership colleagues every day, and all these, plus a 24/7 pulse on work, means that in order to stay at our peak, we need to take regular breaks, and these mean detaching from work completely, and to detox from the harsh routines and even people we have to interact with.