Your Health Is Your Business

For Women’s History Month, I am focusing on our health as women who work for a living, whether as an corporate executive, a small business owner, or an employee.  We tend to have stress factors that are uncommon for men.  These factors easily allow us to ignore our health and personal care:  menopause, being caretakers of both our children and elderly parents, and running our own businesses whether from home or from an office – simply being a superwoman!

For those of us who are business owners or executives, we usually don’t stop to think about our health until something drastic happens.  At that point, we get a wake-up call because all along, we worked on the health of our businesses or family and not making our health our business.  In times of stress, we go in one of two directions which are just as extreme – we either overeat or we don’t take the time to eat.  Neither is good as it results in weight gain that causes additional stress.

Here are simple tips that I received from spending a week in a fitness bootcamp:

  • Set specific health goals: When you decide to make your health a priority, you will set reachable goals for yourself and your family.  My top three goals that I set were:
    • Hydration – I do not drink enough water. I just don’t like the taste of water.  Juice and sodas do not replace water and I’ve set a goal of drinking at least approximately 48 ounces of water per day.  It’s nowhere near what I should drink, but that’s a great start for me and I should be able to do that.
    • Sleep – Sleep is critical for our bodies as we burn calories when we get more than five hours of sleep. I would like to increase my hours of sleep from three hours per day to five hours per day a few times per week.  Again, eight hours daily is an ideal but baby steps work well for me.
    • Exercise – I discovered that I like classes because they push me and I don’t have to think about what to do. I will sign up for cardio exercises such as water aerobics and Zumba.
  • Get an accountability partner: I have no one to ask how I’m doing – someone to get me back on track when I get off track.  This partner does not have to actually do exercises or follow my program, but just to check in on me and give me positive feedback when needed so I can get back to doing the right thing.
  • Set an alarm: Setting an alarm to eat on time.  I unintentionally forget to eat when I’m busy and my body holds on to everything I eat as it goes into starvation mode.  My difficulty is breakfast so I ensure that I eat at a specific time of day.
  • Fix Your Meals In Advance: Prepare your lunch the night before if you take lunch to the office.  If you work from home or get the kids off to school, when you fix lunch for them, fix some for yourself.  Better yet, if you have leftovers from the previous day, eat that for lunch since it only needs reheating.

The airline attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask before you help others.  Well, taking care of ourselves allows us to take care of our businesses and families.  Being fit is our oxygen mask.