Your Business Needs You to Be Healthy
Obviously, no one wants to fall out sick from stress and overwork. But sadly it happens all the time. In an early blog post 3 Shocking Facts about How Illness Blocks Success, I shared some pretty shocking facts about how chronic illnesses are making talented professionals step away from their companies and leadership positions.
This comes with significant costs to their business teams and personal lives. Now, I’d like to share some ideas on how to fit self-care into your business success plan and tight schedule.
Get Inspired to Make Self-Care a Priority
My greatest inspiration to do better for my future self while I was on my own personal routine of “work, sleep, maybe gym, repeat” was the book, Thrive by Ariana Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and Thrive Global.
Ms. Huffington’s book was eye-opening for me because it showed me that I wasn’t the only one failing to take care of myself. Additionally, it highlighted that I was on an unsustainable path. What changed my life (for the better) were two powerful themes – our modern business culture normalizes overwork and focusing on well-being is required for business success plans.
Too busy to read? Me too that’s why I listen to the audiobook during my travels. Ms. Huffington spells out how her lack of self-care – not sleeping enough and not taking time away from her growing media company – led to a scary health issue & eye-opening wake-up call.
She also gave some sobering but inspiring stories of real executives and entrepreneurs’ experiences. Said experiences led to stress-related illness in the successful jobs and businesses they sacrificed much of their lives to obtain.
The Secret to Self-Care is Simple – Keep It Simple
In the years since I’ve read the book, I’ve stuck with a few simple ways to keep fitting my self-care & wellness practices into a pretty busy schedule.
- Sleep – My average is 7 hours and my target is 8-9 tracked through my smartwatch
- Benefit: Calmer, great memory and ability to learn new concepts and ideas; I reward myself with a massage each month I average 8 or more hours.
- Build up Stress Resilience – I have a Mindfulness practice that includes Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) meditation and biofeedback sessions Heartmath HRV tools
- Benefit: This was pretty stressful to fit into my life initially, now it’s permanent. It helps me build up my “calm feeling reserves” to the inevitable stressful situations that come up in my life. I still react to them. But I feel able to pick my response, not on emotional autopilot set to quick anger.
- Regular exercise that’s fun and simple – I go to the gym and take fun classes like aqua strength and Zumba a few times a week. Each day I walk (sometimes run or skate) with Booker, my high energy rescue dog.
- Benefit: It’s impossible to be stressed out when in the middle of a fun workout, especially skating, dancing or swimming. Your brain & heart benefits every time.
- Schedule in Fun Times – I book appointments with the folks in my life that I care about in advance. There is something magical about seeing the dinners, movies, plays, events, conferences, travel plans on the calendar.
- Benefit: I get excited thinking about this future good time, and it gets my spirits up when I’m stuck in the weeds in my business projects.
***Talk with your healthcare provider about what self-care and wellness practices would work best for you. These activities are what works for me, and you are a completely different person with different needs and interests. Talk to your vet before exercising with your pet. Some dogs aren’t dancers, runners or swimmers and that’s okay they’re still cool. ****
What Do You Need to Do Better for Your Well-Being?
There are so many things that can get in your way and prevent you from reaching your business goals. The worst one, in my opinion, is poor health. When your health stops you, it’s a failure that feels very personal.
Whether you could have prevented it or not, it’s frustrating to be involuntarily sidelined from the action in your business and personal life.
If you’re working while sick, your performance changes and other people notice (even if they don’t say anything to you). When you don’t feel well, it can be tough to think clearly, be creative, supportive and patient with others.
As a leader, you cannot support your team the same way you would when healthy. As an individual contributor, your output can be the same volume of work. Yet it costs you far more time and energy to get it done which isn’t sustainable. Talk about a lose-lose situation.
Self-care may seem like another item on your to-do list, but it is so much more than that. It’s about honoring your whole self. You ‘re not just a brain that can use a smartphone & crush your competition. You’re a vibrant soul with a wonderful body and a beautiful mind.
Each facet of you deserves to be nurtured and strengthened. It only makes you more awesome and further aligns you with your goals.
Each day, we wake up with a new opportunity to start taking care of ourselves. How will you ensure you arrive at the next level of success healthy?