For any working person there’s no convenient time to get sick or be unable to work, but if you are a sole trader, there’s no time at all.
The whole business, livelihood, turnover and outcome depend on you being fit, well and ready for anything.
Having just been off my feet for four days and finding that eight days’ work has suddenly become outstanding in my enforced absence, it seems like a good moment to explore some ideas around taking care of the health of the number one employee – you.
Starting from within – mind
Stress is our companion on the sole business owner path, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
It is a natural companion of the risk taker, the brave entrepreneur who gives it a go.
But if it gets out of hand it can eat away at your sense of well being by creating sleepless nights or grinding teeth.
Achieving a balance of adrenalin and calm is easy to talk about and not so easy to achieve – like anything it takes practise.
Be it Tai Chi, mindfulness, meditation, coffee breaks, a walk (or run or ride) around the park … whatever gives you a mental break from your routine and helps you see the bigger picture and regain perspective – do that.
Loosen up – body
We all know what we are supposed to do to look after our physical health, water nutritional diet, moderation yadayadayada, but have you considered as that looking after yourself is actually part of your work?
I hadn’t until recently. I was too busy giving myself a hard time by pointing out that the walk on the beach, the time taken to attend a Pilates class, my laughable efforts to do Zumba were all evidence of me avoiding annoying parts of the current project.
While there may be an element of truth in that assessment, time spent preventing injury and illness by taking care of your body is not time wasted.
It may be next to impossible to quantify in dollar terms how much you save by staying as healthy as possible, because if it works, you won’t have sick days to measure, but being as awake, fit, energetic and aware as you can be is part of your job as the lynchpin of the business.
Some illness and (heaven forbid) injury may be unavoidable, but what you can do to prevent more stress in these situations is to make sure your insurance is adequate, complete and paid up. Inability to work and loss of income due to personal accident, illness or disability are not covered by WorkSafe or other insurance required by legislation, unless you are employed by a proprietary limited company (source).
Injuring my knee by a method too embarrassing to reveal here, is not covered by anything at all, so while I hobble off to the freezer to get another ice pack, I will join you in considering, and maybe even taking, my own wise words of advice, and wishing you all good health in the workplace.