Often, running a business means there’s so much more to think about than your own health and wellbeing. Cash flow, demands and deadlines are constant priorities. And then there are the multiple hats you’re required to wear: strategist, accountant, marketer, salesperson, HR – and more besides! But work can take its toll sometimes. Indeed, more than a third (36 per cent) of 500 business owners responding to a poll from AXA PPP healthcare in August say that running a business has, at some point, affected their health in a negative way. Of those adversely affected 81 per cent said work caused them stress, with 70 per cent saying they had sleepless nights. To help readdress work/life balance, AXA PPP healthcare senior psychologist Dr Mark Winwood has created a checklist below. Check in on yourself: Take time to sense-check how you’re feeling mentally and physically. Stress can build up over time, wearing you down slowly so you don’t initially notice those tell-tale signs. Diet and exercise can have an uplifting effect on mood and psychological wellbeing. Be kind to yourself by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Encouragingly over a quarter (27%) of those AXA PPP healthcare surveyed said getting more exercise is the one thing they could do to improve their mood or general health and wellbeing. And they’re right – exercise helps release endorphins and relieves stress. So why not exercise before the workday starts, take a walk at lunchtime or hit the gym at the end of the day. Take time out: Working all hours or taking unnecessary calls at unsociable hours might, ultimately, do you no favours. By having a clear boundary between work and ‘home’ life, you’ll most likely find you have more focus and more energy to tackle your tasks. Try to have set working times and places. Turn off your laptop at a set time and don’t return to it. Practicing mindfulness – taking a quiet moment to observe your breath and allowing your thoughts and feelings to pass without judgement – can bring profound benefits to those who regularly commit time to it. Take time off: Don’t work all weekend, every weekend – try booking excursions or holidays in advance so you’re committed to them and have something to look forward to! And plan your workload accordingly leading up to those well-deserved time-outs. Talk. And share. Develop your own network of people upon whom you can call through sites such as LinkedIn and take advantage of professional membership organisations too. Find other SME owners who will understand the pressures of business life. Talk, offload and ask for counsel. And sleep… don’t overlook the importance and simple beauty of a good night’s sleep in keeping you refreshed so that you can be at your best – for you and for your business. Visit small business advice from AXA PPP healthcare for more tips on how to stay healthy.
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